I watched the video and read some reviews. This app is cutting edge but not without some glitches. All you need is your iPhone and this app. You don’t need connectivity (a very helpful selling point!). Point the phone/camera at the words and the phone will display the words in English. I vote “Cool!” What’s your opinion?
Throughout history, people have been intrigued by legends of societies where residents thrived well past 100 years old.
Today, there is skepticism whether any such place exists, but health scientists do scour the globe in search of medicinal remedies and other lifespan enhancements.
In fact, many “pockets” around the world have been identified as “Blue Zones,” where locals enjoy high quality of life and health in old age.
While failing to offer one “secret,” these regions share community factors such as diet, social integration, activity level, and outlook on life. While genetics plays a role in how long we live, researchers believe lifestyle factors account for 75% of our longevity.
1. Okinawa, Japan
Japanese rank high in lifespan studies, but Okinawans boast exceptional health. Inhabiting a tiny island in the East China Sea, locals have low rates of alzheimers, heart disease, and breast cancer, with 80% fewer cases of heart attacks and cancer than Americans.
Okinawan cuisine, Photo: pelican
The Okinawa diet has been studied intensely. Staples include fresh island fruits like pineapple and shikuwasa, bitter melon, sweet potato, seaweed, tofu, tea, green leafy vegetables, pork, and fish. Locals also follow the cultural tradition of hara hachi bu, or eating only until 80% full. The elderly are active, working on farms and exercising for leisure. Many live independent of nursing homes and daily connect with community.
Situated between Spain and France, this small principality of 84,000 people has one of the longest life expectancies in world. Residents enjoy good water, a top-notch health care system, and Mediterranean diet. It is believed that stress levels are low due to Andorra’s remarkable social stability. There has been no standing army there for 700 years, and the region currently boasts full employment. Seniors take full advantage of public leisure centers, enrolling in art lessons and recreation classes.
3. Ikaria, Greece
Today people living on Ikaria, a mountainous Greek isle in the Aegean, reach the age of 90 at 4 times the rate of the average American. Their fitness is attributed to their activity level and unhurried lifestyle. Naps are taken regularly as locals have a laid back concept of time. The diet is low in meat, fish, and sugar and high in whole grains, potatoes, and green vegetables. People also regularly consume goat milk and herbal teas over their lifetime.
4. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
For the 75,000 people who live in the Nicoya Peninsula, modern life closely resembles that of a century ago. Residents maintain solid relationships, eat a plant-based diet, and recognize active work as essential to quality of life. Many residents are sabaneros (cowboys who work on ranches) and small farmers. It’s not uncommon for food to be cooked on wood-burning stoves.
Locals eat a “Mesoamerican Trifecta” diet, consisting of corn tortillas, beans, and squash. The water supply is high in minerals that increase bone health. Because of the dry sunny climate, locals suffer from few respiratory diseases and get plenty of Vitamin D.
Hunza woman, Photo: Shawn D Metcalfe
5. Hunza Valley, Pakistan
Surrounded by the Himalayas in Northeast Pakistan, the Hunza Valley was historically thought to be the mythical Shangri La. There is no evidence that residents live to 150 years old as claimed in the 1970s, but modern research supports that Hunza elderly boast enviable fitness levels. The diet is plant based, consisting mainly of wheat and barley and antioxidant fruits like cherries and plums. The rough terrain encourages high activity level among residents, leading to increased agility in old age. Residents are also known to have very positive outlooks on life and strong family ties.
6. Vilcambamba, Ecuador
Vilcambamba is often referred to as the “Valley of Longevity” for its remote location and lifespan of residents. Beginning in the 1950s, locals have been studied for their low rates of chronic illness and claims of living to 120. Although researchers debunked some claims as exaggerations, they concede that the activity level and diet of residents does offer them extraordinary health.
Seniors commonly work on ranches, performing manual tasks and riding horses. They eat almost no animal products and rely on fresh organic vegetables with medicinal properties. Their fresh water from nearby mountains has high concentration of healthy minerals.
7. Sardinia, Italy
Unlike much of the world, where average gender lifespan is different, men and women in Sardinia share equal longevity estimates. In addition, they reach 100 years old at twice the average than the rest of the world. A common saying on this Italian island is a kent’ annos, or “May you live to 100.”
The cuisine consists of raw milk and cheese, fresh vegetables, and small amounts of lamb, pork, and oily fish. Residents are family oriented and very active well into old age. Some research on Sardinian longevity links it to genetics. Few Sardinians marry outsiders and there appears to be a genetic basis for men suffering fewer cases of heart disease and stroke.
Sardinia, Photo: bitter like a coffee
8. Abkhasia, Russia
Almost 100,000 people live in the mountainous region of Abkhasia, bordered by Georgia. Locals have been studied with interest for their fantastic claims of lifespans reaching 150 years old. Although researchers cast doubt on those figures, they concede that elderly suffer low rates of disease and enjoy high quality of life.
The Abkhasian diet consists of locally grown vegetables, beans, and grains, moderate vodka intake, and low meat, fish, and sugar consumption. They have extensive family networks believed to reduce stress, and status is conferred by age, rather than wealth or achievement. In addition, culturally, locals believe events derive from their own actions, rather than outside forces. In this way, they feel greater control over the lives.
9. Macau, China
Although not identified as Blue Zones per se, Macau and San Marino, Italy also rank high on longevity estimates around the world. Macanese live on average to 84.38 years, one of the longest expectancies in the world. Although not studied extensively, features of this unique former Portuguese colony stand out to researchers. The diet is plant and seafood based, drawing on cuisine traditions of China and Portugal. The city is relatively wealthy, given its status as the newest gambling capitol of the world. Social welfare programs are well funded, giving residents many recreation opportunities. Health care is a priority with dozens of western and Chinese medical centers and a doctor density of 1.5 doctors per thousand people.
10. San Marino
San Marino is a rugged tiny republic situated in the Apennine Mountains within the boundaries of Italy. Studies report that the average male in this region lives to age 81. Employment rates are high and the standard of living averages $32,000 US per year. It is believed that stress levels are low here because of little economic social division, low divorce rates, and high integration of elders into society. Seniors often live with younger family members rather than nursing homes or hospitals.
This list of regions with high average lifespan is certainly not exhaustive. Depending on the study, others areas (and countries as a whole rank) high in longevity rates. Other notable places in CIA 2010 assessments include Monaco, the UK’s Guernsey Channel Islands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada.
While it may not be realistic to live the rest of your days in a Blue Zone, it is certainly possible to adapt the healthy habits of their residents into your lifestyle in whatever country you’re living in.
Have you ever lived in or visited a region in the world with high longevity ranking? What did you notice about the diet and lifestyle? Which of these 10 places would you like to live?
Barbara and Michael King honeymooned on Sardinia, one of the 10 places that promote long life. So far, it’s translated into a long and happy marriage!
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I enjoy reading about Da Vinci’s famous painting, Mona Lisa, and have seen her, albeit from a distance, smiling at me in the Louvre, Paris. Is she really Leonardo in drag? The wife of a friend? Now a new theory finds clues in her left eye.
Have you seen this famous portrait? Which theory do you believe? What???? You’ve not been to the Louvre–or worse yet, never been to Paris????
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Dr. Bernard Levi, one of Judi's clients, is a well-known cardiologist, avid photographer, scuba diver and he easily fits the description of being passionate about life. Recently, he and his wife visited Grand Cayman, focused on their passions and sent us the results. Enjoy their photos!
Ready to leave the bone-chilling cold and enjoy some natural beauty, warm sun, and relaxation? Contact Ken@greatgetaway.com or call 800 546 TRIP (8747) today and he'll make it happen!
By Marilyn Terrell, November 3, 2010 9:30 AM
Craving carbs? Filled with yakisoba, thin noodles fried with Worcestershire-like sauce, the Japanese version of the spaghetti sandwich does double duty in the starch department. Be sure you're hungry before giving this one a shot. 2. Swedish smorgastarta
A giant cake sandwich? You'd better believe it. Thus named because of its generous amounts of buttery layers and creamy fillings, the smorgastarta is often loaded with pate, smoked salmon, caviar, and cold cuts. It's presented beautifully too.
Still hungry? Read about 13 additional sandwiches from around the world after the jump.
For those who have always been torn between hot dogs and burgers, the porilainen gives you the best of both worlds. Like a burger, it has onions and ketchup sandwiched between two pieces of bread, but with a thick slice of sausage as the filling. 4. English chip butty
Why bother with a side of fries when you can enjoy those crispy, golden strips right in your sandwich? The chip butty isn't much else besides fries and bread with a few condiments–so it's naturally rumored to cure the most atrocious of hangovers. To take it up a notch, try the bacon butty. Photo: PhotoBank.com
5. Vietnamese banh mi
A baguette stuffed to the brim with meat and pickled veggies, the banh mi is fusion food at its best. But be warned: it's usually sprinkled with cilantro, so don't be surprised by an herby kick when you take a bite.
This Mexican street food might look like any other burger at first glance, but don't be fooled: the crusty, fluffy sesame roll packs a surprisingly flavorful punch. Hearty fried beef is sweetened by slices of avocado and marinated onion, then spiced up with cheese and papalo (which is like a citrus-y cilantro). Photo: Matt Armendariz 7. Taiwanese breakfast sandwich
Love ham-and-egg pairings? This triple-layered breakfast sandwich from Taiwan is just for you. Filled with ham or five-spice pork patties and shredded cucumber with mayo, this savory-sweet medley is a local early-morning favorite. 8. Portuguese francesinha
The cheesy tomato and beer sauce-drenched sandwich speaks for itself. FYI, it's usually made with ham, sausage, steak, or some sort of roasted meat. 9. French croque monsieur
For the sophisticated eater, manwiches and carb-on-carb concoctions can give way to the daintier croque monsieur, essentially a grilled cheese with a bit of European flair. Add some egg to the winning ham-and-cheese combination and you've got yourself a croque madame. 10. Maine lobster roll
Though it's not as exotic as some others on this list, the Maine lobster roll is simply too delicious to leave out. Generally overstuffed and underpriced, the buttery bun and sweet shredded meat is a winner whenever lobster is in season.
11. Turkish shawarma
Kind of like a gyro, the shawarma is a meat-lover's must-have. Its thin slices of tender roasted meat, usually in pita or flatbread, taste all the juicier with toppings like creamy hummus or tahini sesame paste. 12. Spanish bocadillo de tortilla de patata
If you're a fan of breakfast food, you'll love the bocadillo de tortilla de patata. Popular in a variety of establishments as well as on the streets of Spain, this sandwich is like a hash brown omelet in baguette-style bread. 13. Chinese Peking duck buns
Peking duck was once an imperial dish but is now enjoyed by many. the crispy skin and fatty, tender meat dipped in sweet hoisin sauce, all housed in a fluffy, steamed bun, make for indulgently juicy bites. 14. Pakistani bun kabob
Who says you need meat for a tasty sandwich? The bun kabob is reminiscent of a falafel, but usually served in a hamburger bun. With onions, chutney, lentils, and cumin seeds mixed right into the patty, the sandwich is as flavorful as it gets. 15. Australian Vegemite sandwich
No, this isn't made from termites like a friend once tried to trick me into believing… not that yeast extract sounds much more appealing. Admittedly, Vegemite's savory and slightly bitter taste is an acquired one, butI had the chance to try some in third grade and liked it. With buttered toast, it reminds me of a seaweed paste.