In our final installment on Blue Zones, we're headed off to the community of Loma Linda in the state of California, USA.
So far, there's been some pretty common links between the other Blue Zones, most notably they've been located by the sea. Loma Linda is somewhat different in that aspect as it is inland from the sea, however the residents here live on average 10 years longer than everyone else in the United States. Let's have a look why.
Loma Linda is a town founded in the 1800's by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Now home to aproximately 9,000 people, it's thought that there are a few simple reasons why residents here live longer on average than other communities in the US.
Plant Based Diet
Residents of Loma Linda largely eat a vegetarian diet - relying mostly on plant products for their nutrition. Additionally, nuts are prevelant in their diet. Studies have shown that by snacking on nuts four to five times a week, your risk of heart related conditions is reduced by about half.
No Drinking, No Smoking
Strict adherents to the Seventh Day Adventist faith do not smoke or drink alcohol. Whilst the verdict is still out when it comes to moderate alcohol consumption and the effects on your health, we know the effects of smoking.
Finding Time to Relax
Probably not considered relaxing, but Adventists take time, especially the Sabbath, for prayer and reflection. These quiet times are an opportunity to reduce stress, a major cause of illness.
Like many faiths, the Seventh-day Adventist Church encourages and provides opportunities for its members to volunteer. This gives people including the elderly a chance to stay active, find sense of purpose, and stave off depression by focusing on helping others.
Spend Time With Like-Minded Friends
Adventists tend to spend time with lots of other Adventists. They find well-being by sharing each other’s values and supporting each other’s habits.
When we take in the above as well as what we've found from visiting other Blue Zones, the picture has become clear on how to live a longer life:
- Plant based diet - healthy and packed full of nutrition
- Sense of community - be involved, we are social creatures
- Wine in moderation? It's more about the antioxidants in wine than the alcohol
- Regular gentle to moderate exercise. Staying active is good for weight management, but also good for your joints and cardio-vascular system.
- Reduce stress. Stress is one of the leading causes of other illnesses.