Super-Agers Around the World

old woman smiling - super agers around the world

There are a lot of super-agers around the world. You may know someone yourself. That awe-inspiring elderly person you see running around like they are middle-aged may seem like an anomaly, but they aren’t. 

More and more people are living into their 90s and 100s nowadays. Super-aging isn’t limited to one place. As a matter of fact, the US has the largest number of super-agers. However, Japan has the highest concentration of super-agers per capita.

When it comes to super-aging, think blue. The non-scientific term “Blue Zones” describes areas where there are higher concentrations of centenarians throughout the world. 

The blue zones are:

  1. Ikaria, Greece

  2. Okinawa, Japan

  3. Ogliastra Region, Sardinia

  4. Loma Linda, California

  5. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

5 Places "Blue Zones" Where the World's Super-Agers Lives

Ikaria, Greece

Ikaria, Greece is a small island in the Aegean Sea. As of 2006, its population was about 8,500. It has been acknowledged by many medical professionals that Ikaria is home to the world's longest-living people, dubbed "Super-Agers" because they live 10 - 20 years longer than average for their age group. 

The island has also been crowned as one of the best places to retire to in the world by many publications.

If you live in this blue zone, the Mediterranean diet contributes to lower chances of developing chronic illnesses which contributes to a longer and healthier life.

The Mediterranean diet features fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and nuts. The diet received its name from the fact that it resembles the eating habits of people living along the Mediterranean coast between Spain and Italy (French Mediterranean).

Okinawa, Japan

This blue zone has the largest concentration of women living into their hundreds. Their longevity is attributed to eating soy-based foods and keeping physically fit with tai chi.

Okinawa, Japan is one of the most long-lived regions in the world. The average life expectancy is 82 years old and the residents are known as 'super agers'.

The people of Okinawa eat a diet rich in soy proteins which help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. This way their bodies create less free radicals that can damage cells and DNA. These antioxidants also help to improve heart health, lower cholesterol, and prevent cancer.

This article is about the healthy lifestyle of Okinawans who live for an average of 82 years old by eating healthy foods like soy proteins with antioxidants that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Ogliastra Region, Sardinia

This blue zone has the largest number of men living into their hundreds. These men live in the mountains and do plenty of physical labor on farms. Their claim to super-ager fame is consumption of red wine.

This small village in the Ogliastra region of Sardinia is home to many super-agers, people who are over 100 years old yet still active and living on their own. The village's natural environment with its mild climate, clean water, beautiful views, tasty food, and calm lifestyle has attracted many people who want to live out their final years without having to worry about what might happen.

Red wine is known to be beneficial for the heart because it contains polyphenols which act as antioxidants. These polyphenols have been proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. 

Red wine also contains resveratrol, a chemical that may help improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This chemical has been shown to benefit people with diabetes by enhancing insulin sensitivity and modulating glucose.

Loma Linda, California

This blue zone is unique in that the main attribute for longevity is religious affiliation. The Seventh-day Adventists in the area are strict vegetarians and live in tight-knit communities which helps them stay socially active and healthy.

The reason a vegetarian diet might promote health and anti-aging benefits comes from the foods that are typically excluded from their diet. There is a significant body of research that supports the idea that meat intake can lead to chronic disease, as well as cancer. The saturated fats found in these products have been linked to heart disease and other serious conditions.

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

This blue zone has a unique diet of beans and corn tortillas. The community lives by a sense of purpose called “plan de vida” meaning “life plan” and most people work physical jobs well into their elderly years. 

The importance of physical activity is not up for debate. It has been shown to reduce mortality rates, alleviate symptoms of depression, and improve quality of life. What’s more, it is one of the most cost-effective forms of preventive medicine.

A 2010 study found that people who exercised for 75 minutes, 3 times per week experienced a 10% reduction in all-cause mortality rates. This “dose” was equivalent to the effects on health seen with following a healthy diet or stopping smoking.

Exercise is also known to delay aging. A 150 pound person will burn around 400 calories during an hour-long run at 5 mph - which can provide about 2 hours worth of anti-aging benefits.

There’s No Exact Way to be a Super-Ager

As you can see, each of the blue zones have unique characteristics that result in people living longer and healthier lives. Their results show us that there isn’t a cookie-cutter way to be a super-ager, rather all you need is to focus on diet, physical activity, community and mindset. 

Clearly, drinking red wine, doing tai chi, and being religious aren’t required to live a long life, but if you look deeper at the overarching themes in the blue zones you can start to see how lifestyle makes the biggest impact no matter where you live.

Super-agers around the world are an excellent example that it’s not impossible to be healthy and happy no matter where you live. Adopting similar lifestyle traits to the regions you resonate with can help you make choices that increase your chances of becoming a super-ager too.

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