The Blue Zones

9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest

by Dan Buettner

Number of pages: 336

Publisher: National Geographic

BBB Library: Personal Success

ISBN: 978-1426209482

About the Author

Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author. He is an explorer, educator, author, producer, storyteller and public speaker.


Editorial Review

The way to learn longevity secrets is to find a culture, a Blue Zone, where the proportion of healthy 90- or 100-year-olds to the overall population is unusually high. The world’s healthiest, longest-lived people have many things to teach us about living longer, richer lives.To identify the secrets of longevity, our team of demographers, medical scientists, and journalists traveled to the Blue Zones–five of the healthiest corners of the globe–where a remarkably high rate of the longest-living people manage to avoid many of the killing diseases. In each of the Blue Zones, we used a survey developed in collaboration with the National Institute on Aging to identify the lifestyle components that help explain the area’s longevity–what the inhabitants choose to eat, how much physical activity they get, how they socialize, what traditional medicine they use, and so forth. We looked for the common ingredients and came up with a cross-cultural distillation of the best practices of health: the nine lessons of living longer. Our quest was for a true fountain of youth, though this fountain doesn’t spring from the ground but comes to us through centuries of trial and error.

Book Reviews

“The basic premise of this book is that there is no one ingredient to longevity. Aging is inevitable, as there is no ‘brake’ for slowing it down. The name of the game is to keep from pushing the accelerator pedal so hard that we speed up the aging process. The average American, however, by living a fast and furious lifestyle, pushes that accelerator too hard and too much” — Tico

“Buettner is a very enjoyable writer, I see why he's had work from National Geographic for so long, and it's great to see important life lessons being shared in the most accessible way possible, which is what he does perfectly in this book.”— Vomad Life

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Wisdom to Share

Longevity all-stars don’t run marathons or compete in triathlons; instead, they engage in regular, low-intensity physical activity as part of a daily work routine.

Make your lifestyle active; walk to the store, take a walking break at work instead of coffee break, or ride a bicycle.

The amount of food we eat is less a function of feeling full and more a matter of what’s around us.

Eat more slowly and focus on food. Slowing down allows time to sense and react to cues telling us we’re no longer hungry.

Only about 25 percent of how long we live is dictated by genes. The other 75 percent is determined by our lifestyles and the everyday choices we make.

Beans, whole grains, and garden vegetables are the cornerstones of all the longevity diets.

Extra protein gets converted to calories, and if not needed for activity, it eventually becomes fat.

Make beans, or tofu, the centerpiece of lunches and dinners. Tofu has been compared to bread in France or potatoes in Eastern Europe.

A recent study showed that those who eat nuts at least five times a week, two ounces per serving, had a rate of heart disease that was half that of those who rarely ate nuts.

Clinical nutritionists usually tell people to stay away from fatty foods including nuts. However, it turned out that most of the fat in nuts is unsaturated fat.

Adventists also follow a vegetarian diet. Consuming fruits and vegetables is protective against a wide variety of cancers.