There are a few places around the world which seem to allow people to live for many more years than expected. In Ikaria, for example, the average lifespan is a good 10 years more than the rest of western Europe.
What makes these places special is not quite clear, though it is unlikely to be any one specific reason. In all probability, a combination of factors allow many people in these areas to lead active lives well into their 90’s and even beyond 100! Location, weather, food habits and diet, work culture, and genetics could all be working together to provide the best environment for living, making them the true Shangri-las of this world.
The top 5 locations, known as blue zones are:
Ikaria got its name from the Greek myth of Icarus who, legend has it, plunged into the sea close to the island when his wax and feather wings melted. For centuries it was known as a health destination because of natural hot springs on the island.
Island of Okinawa, Japan
The name Okinawa means “rope in the open sea”, a fairly apt description of this long stretch of islands between mainland Japan and Taiwan. Consisting of 49 inhabited islands and 111 uninhabited islands, Okinawa has a subtropical/tropical climate.
Okinawa’s most famous export worldwide is the martial art of karate. In recent years Okinawan culture has become quite popular throughout Japan thanks to popular musicians and local foods. Okinawan music is very attractive and unique because of the mixture of original Okinawan sounds and American rock, jazz, and other sounds from the USA.
Ancient Chinese legends already called Okinawa “the land of the immortals”. In 2007, there were 457 persons on Okinawa aged 100 or over, an average of 35 for each 100,000 inhabitants. It is the highest in the world.
Loma Linda, California, US
Loma Linda is a unique community of 21,000. The city has been a national center of health and wellness research for decades. Loma Linda offers residents an alternative to the intense, often anonymous lifestyle so characteristic of modern life. It is no surprise to find numerous families strolling along the city’s tree lined streets, or playing in its numerous parks.
The community has discovered a secret that’s much easier to find than any gene. Its effect is so powerful that it enables them to live longer than anyone else in the US. For many of those living in Loma Lindo long life is a matter of faith. A significant number of people in the town are Seventh Day Adventist, a religion whose members live between five and 10 years longer than fellow citizens.
Nuoro province, Sardinia
The Province of Nuoro (Italian: Provincia di Nuoro; Sardinian: Provìntzia de Nùgoro) is a province in the autonomous island region of Sardinia, Italy. Its capital is the city of Nuoro.
The province hosts some of the wildest and most beautiful natural landscapes in the world. Part of these landscapes has been included in the National Park of the Gulf of Orosei and Gennargentu which straddles the border between the Provinces of Nuoro and Ogliastra.
The Province of Nuoro is one of Europe’s less-densely populated areas. However, it is known for its high concentration of centenarians and supercentenarians.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Nicoya Peninsula is about 70 miles long and 30 miles wide. Surfer beaches and upscale resorts hem the peninsula’s western edge. But inland, forest-covered hills and cow pastures blanket most of the terrain.
In 2005, Dr. Luis Rosero-Bixby, a Costa Rican demographer trained in the United States, presented a paper at an international conference claiming to have discovered that 60-year-old Costa Ricans have the longest life expectancy of anyone in the world. In other words, if you are middle aged and live in Costa Rica, you are more likely to reach, say, a healthy age 90 than your counterparts worldwide.
Are there any such places in India?