6 habits the longest living people have in common:
People who live past 100 usually don’t usually try to live that long; it just sort of happens to them.
For the last decade, Dan Buettner, an author and National Geographic fellow, has been looking into what he calls Blue Zones: pockets of longevity around that world that have unusually high concentrations of centenarians. (The most famous is the Greek island of Ikaria.)
Buettner spoke at a plenary talk on longevity at the Clinton Health Matters Initiative’s fifth annual Health Matters Summit on Jan. 25. Former President Bill Clinton hosted the panel.
During the talk, Buettner mentioned things that he and his scientist partners have found Blue Zones tend to have in common.
Of course, not everyone in any given place lives a long life, and no set of behaviors can guarantee someone will make it past 100. But healthier communities tend to have healthier people, and — based on what Buettner has observed during his extensive travels — Blue Zones are some of the healthiest communities in the world.
Here are six habits Buettner has found are shared among the long-living people in Blue Zones.
They have cheap, easily accessible produce, and they actually eat their fruits and vegetables.
A woman buys cherries on a street in Tirana, Albania.
They walk more places, often because their communities are pedestrian-friendly.
An elderly couple walks through the park on an autumn day in Berlin.
They don’t lead sedentary lives. They’re “nudged into movement about every 20 minutes,” burning 500 to 1,000 calories per day.
A couple play table tennis in Gorky Park, Moscow.
Their kitchens are set up so it’s easier to make healthy food.
Ismial Ishama, 73, prepares food in the kitchen of her apartment at the Sahasapura Housing scheme in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
They have plant-based diets, often high in complex carbohydrates and beans.
This black-eyed peas, tomato and parsley salad is packed with fiber, protein and other plant-based nutrients.
They do tasks that could be done with a machine by hand, like chopping wood, gardening, and cleaning.
A man chops firewood in the village of Kaplichi, some 100 miles southeast of Minsk, Belarus.
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