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The fountain of youth

I think I found the fountain of youth

Since the beginning of 2018, I’ve been into listening to podcasts. Do you like them? Which ones are your favorite? Let me know, I am always on the lookout for new podcasts to listen to.

Last week I listened to one called “The Fountain of Youth”, from the Ted Radio Hour.

Aging is inevitable, they say, but there are several ways to live longer and better lives. Guest speaker, Dan Buettner, is a writer and an explorer. He talks about his quest to find the fountain of youth. In the beginning, I was a little skeptical and I thought this episode might bring me more anxiety than I already have about aging. But then, when I was about to change to another podcast, Dan mentions the “blue zones”.

What are blue zones?

Blue zones are places (towns or cities) where people live up to a 100 years and stay healthy without medication or disabilities. Wait, what? So, for them, aging is not a dreaded process but more like a privilege, and they get to do so in such a healthy manner that by the time they are 90, they are still able to work and do regular activities like the rest of the population. I am very impressed and relieved to know that there might actually be a way to grow old, without the painful process of aging. Maybe I am still young to think about this subject, but the reality is that I’ve been thinking about it for a long time now. Ever since I turned 18 I have been feeling like I have so little time and there is so much I want to do. So, what I really want is to move to one of these places and learn to age with pride and dignity! But how do we find the blue zones? What are some examples of them?

The Italian island of Sardinia

Photo credit: Livio Sinibaldi, Getty Images

Okinawa, Japan

Photo credit: Michael Gebicki

Loma Linda, California

Photo credit: Foodmap News.

Costa Rica’s isolated Peninsula of Nicoya

Photo credit: expertvagabond.com

Ikaria, an isolated Greek island

Photo credit: superfoodly.com

On average people in all these places live longer than anyone else on the planet. But how? Why? Dan B.  states that it’s all in the way they organize their society and how they treat older people. In blue zones, the older you get, the more equity you have, the more wisdom you are celebrated for. And let’s be honest, in the Americanized society after the 40th birthday, people start losing respect for you. Being old is not seen as a good thing, we forget about the experience that relies on all those years, and instead, we praise for the beautiful, the new, and the young.

What’s their secret?

I know what you must be thinking: “Lucia, tell us already what is their secret!” Nope, you are going to have to listen to the podcasts yourselves. Here is the link

Just kidding. According to 5 years of research on these communities, the secret to longevity and health has nothing to do with modern technology or massive amounts of exercise and strict diets, but instead “a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, daily exercise and low-stress life that includes family, purpose, religion, and meaning.” (Singularity Hub Staff, 2009) And it is not like people from these communities wake up each morning and put great amounts of effort to achieve all the above, it is simply how their lives roll. For example, in the Italian island of Sardinia, people have to walk long distances and go up and down the stairs to go visit friends and family every day. They also like to drink organic red wine and lots of fruits and vegetables.

It is up to each of us to choose which kind of lifestyle we want. We can change our mindset and incorporate more vegetables and beans to our diets, more walking and not use the electric stairs to go up two floors, and spending more time with family and friends, invest in our relationships and spirituality. Maybe right now I cannot pack my bags and move to one of these places, but I can definitely apply some positive changes in my lifestyle: fewer chemicals, less processed foods, more physical activities, and more love to all those who surround me. What do you think?

´till next time,

Lucía.

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