Increase Longevity Naturally
Live Like You are in the Blue Zone
On episode #76 of THE TONIC, Dr. Emily Lipinski ND and Tonic Publisher, Jamie Bussin, discussed the “Blue Zones” – areas of the world with the highest concentration of centenarians. This is a digest of their interview (which can be accessed as a podcast at thetonic.ca).
Q. What are Blue Zones?
A. A researcher named Dan Beuttner wanted to find out why there were areas where more people lived to over 100. He noted that there were 5 areas in the world, located in Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California, and others in parts of Costa Rica, Sardinia and Greece.
Q. What are these people doing that attributes longer life?
A. The first similarity among the 5 groups is food. They are primarily eating vegetables – very plant-based diets. Not everyone is vegetarian. They eat meat and dairy products but in smaller amounts and more rarely. When they do eat meat, it isn’t just muscle, it’s also cartilage etc. It’s “nose to tail”. They also eat local foods and they eat wild foods. They incorporate more herbs and spices that are grown in their gardens or found locally into their diets. These wild plants and herbs have beneficial properties that may help cellular health and prevent aging. And all the groups incorporate beans into their diet.
Q. Are any of these groups going so far as fasting?
A. It’s not clear to the extent that they do. We do know that fasting leads to longevity. The “16/8” where you fast for 16 hours usually overnight and you consume all your calories during 8 hours in the day seems to help cellular longevity. The best bang for your buck is a few times a year to fast for a long time – 3 to 5 days, which is not realistic for some people. For someone who’s new to fasting, it’s not recommended. But if you practice 16/8 and are under the supervision of a medical professional, the long fasts are really where you see benefits to longevity.
Q. It’s not just what they’re eating. It’s lifestyle too, right?
A. These people really have a strong sense of community. Some have religion. Others have planned social activities. Loneliness isn’t as much of a factor. They’re also doing exercise regularly, but it’s not very intense. It’s more like moderate exercise over the course of their life: Walking, working in the garden, lifting, building things around the house.
Q. How are they managing their stress other than sociability?
A. In Japan (Okinawa) they have something called ikigai – which means “the reason you get up”; a sense of purpose. All of them have something for them to get up to do. The Okinawans work well into their 70’s. Even when they don’t work, they have a plan for something to do every single day. The Sardinians are very sexually active well into the later parts of their life. All report that they engage in the outdoors more than the average North American.
Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND addresses the root cause of a medical issue using natural therapies such as diet, lifestyle and herbs either alone or in conjunction with western medicine. Find her at www.emilylipinski.com