The longest-living people on the planet swear by the 'power 9' tips to slow the ageing process | The Sun

HAVE you heard of the Blue Zones?

They're five spots dotted across the world – in Greece, Italy, Costa Rica, California and Japan – where many residents happen to live to the ripe old age of 100.

It might seem like pure coincidence, but there are remarkable similarities between the lifestyles, habits and diets of these famed centenarians.

Not only do they live a long life – many Blue Zoners are also largely free of chronic disease, according to National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner.

The buzz around these longevity regions stems from a study Dan and his team published in 2016, which studied the lifestyles of people in Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California;and Okinawa, Japan.

The researchers identified nine common practices residents of these regions followed, which might explain why they live longer lives.

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Dubbed the 'Power Nine', they fall into varying categories, such diet, exercise and even social life.

Dan told Medical News Today: "These people’s lifestyles and environments offer us instructions and clues for how we can set up our lives to live longer.”

1. Move naturally

Blue Zoners incorporate exercise into their lives but, as Dan put it, they "don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms".

"Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it," he explained.

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This can include doing yard work, pottering around the garden and walking lots.

2. Have a purpose in life

Dan stated: "Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy."

He said Okinawans call this Ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida", which roughly translates to "why I wake up in the morning".

3. Reduce stress

Everyone can experience stress, even Blue Zoners.

But Dan warned it can lead to chronic inflammation, which is linked to age-related diseases.

He said centenarians in these famed regions have daily routines to shed the stress, like taking a nap or indulging in (restrained) happy hour.

4. Stop before you're full

Though many of us keep eating till there's no room left in oour belly, residents of Okinawa practice what's called the 80 per cent diet rule, or “hara hachi bu”.

It involves pushing away your plate of food when you're 80 per cent full.

According to Dan, "the 20 per cent gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it".

5. Eat mostly plants

Blue Zoners eat a plant based diet for the most part – indulging in fish and eggs a couple times a week and having meat for only special occasions.

Beans feature heavily in their diets.

And when it comes to dairy, they favour small amounts of cheese or yoghurt over milk.

6. Drink moderate amounts of wine

Most Blue Zoners will drink regularly – but moderately.

The trick is to have no more than one or two glasses a day, with friends and food.

Don't save up your units for the weekend and binge.

7. Belong to a community

Most centenarians belong to a community of some sort, thought it doesn't have to be faith based.

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8. Put your loved ones first

The longest living people live close to their ageing parents and grandparents, commit to a life partner and invest time and love in their children, Dan said.

9. Keep a social circle that supports healthy behaviours

Dan said: "The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviours."

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