Ever heard of a 'Blue Zone'? By definition, a Blue Zone is a place in the world where higher percentages of the population live astoundingly long lives. Residents are able to retain health and vitality well into their 80s, 90s, and 100s. But just how do they do it? Genetics? Diet? Destiny? Or is there something fundamentally different about their lives?
Award-winning author and researcher Dan Buettner traveled to the world's 4 confirmed Blue Zones--Sardinia, Italy; Okinaway, Japan; Loma Linda, California; and the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica--to find out the answer. His extensive study uncovered how these people manage to live longer and better, and it's not through pills, surgery, or medications! Rather, it's through the everyday things they do. The food they eat, the company they keep, and their perspectives on life. His research and visits are chronicled in the new book The Blue Zone.
Interestingly, the only American Blue Zone is Loma Linda, California, and is comprised of some 9,000 Seventh-day Adventists living in and around the city. Buettner describes the dietary and lifestyle practices of this group, which have resulted in amazingly long, healthy lives.
So what is it about the Adventist lifestyle that can not only dramatically lengthen your life, but improve the quality of it as well? One of the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist faith was a woman named Ellen White. Mrs. White wrote many books and articles about health and nutrition. Her ideas on health are remarkable, not just because of their effectiveness, but because they predate much of the nutritional knowledge that has been uncovered by scientists in the last few decades. Her ideas about a healthy lifestyle can be summarized in these eight simple steps:
A Good Diet. A good diet starts with three balanced meals. A large breakfast followed by smaller noon and evening meals is just what the body needs to keep running efficiently. It is important to provide your body with a balanced diet: four servings of fruits and vegetables, four servings of cereals and breads, two servings of protein foods such as beans, lentils, tofu or meat analogs and two servings of milk products or some other food that provides calcium, phosphorus, protein and riboflavin. What's best is a vegetarian diet. There are many fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains available to us today. A recent report in Newsweek declared that something called "phytochemicals" are the new frontier in cancer prevention research. These anticancer agents aren't some new chemical dreamed up in some laboratory. They are found in fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage or broccoli. Citrus fruits and berries contain powerful cancer fighters called flavenoids. They keep cancer-causing hormones from latching onto the cell.
Exercise. A hundred years ago, people had very little to worry about with this principle. The demands of living provided them with more than enough physical exercise. People today are in a much different situation. Modern conveniences will do everything from changing the TV channel to opening the garage door. Exercise can do many things for you: improve your cardio-vascular health by increasing your heart rate, clear your head, invigorate your mind, decrease your levels of stress and if done correctly, be a fun social event. Doctors tell us that we should exercise a minimum of 20 minutes a day three times a week.
Water. Humans can go longer without food than they can without water. Our bodies are composed of 65 to 70 percent water. Each day we loose approximately four pints. In order to replenish this, we need to drink six to eight glasses a day. Water is vital to the health of the body. It assists nature in resisting disease. It washes away impurities. It helps the body function more efficiently.
Sunshine. Sunshine is an important part of maintaining good mental health. Endorphins in the brain are stimulated during times of exercise, especially outdoor exercise. They're closely related to our sense of happiness and well-being. A regular program of exercise in the sunshine can make you more positive, cheerful and generally more optimistic. It is important, however, to protect yourself from overexposure to the sun.
Temperance. Alcohol destroys brain cells immediately. Alcohol causes oxygen deprivation. In an oxygen starved brain, thousands of brain cells die. Moreover, two out of five people who drink develop serious problems connected to the drinking. America has finally acknowledged the dangers of smoking. Cigarettes contain 29 poisons, and each one smoked takes 14¸ minutes off a person's life. Chances of a heart attack are 250 times greater if someone smokes. Chances of incurring emphysema are 80 times greater if someone smokes. Another aspect of a temperate lifestyle involves sexuality. If the fear of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS isn't convincing, consider this: in 1994, more than 500,000 teenagers, many of them as young as 14, gave birth.
Fresh Air. Sounds simple right. A person can only live for five or six minutes without air. But too many people forget the importance of getting plenty of fresh air. So many people live in closed up buildings and cars, almost never venturing outside. People would do well to sleep with the windows open if possible, and a brisk walk during the workday will do much to combat fatigue and drowsiness.
Rest. Adequate sleep can help a person to feel refreshed, with their mind keen, sharp, alert, and able to make wise decisions. But it also builds up their body in so many ways. It rebuilds the cells in their muscles, kidneys, bone marrow, stomach, and brain. While a person sleeps, their blood and lymph system continue to carry off the wastes to their skin, kidneys, and lungs, where they are eliminated. They also deposit in the brain a fresh supply of glucose and oxygen. But sleep is not the only important kind of rest. Seventh-day Adventists spend one day a week (Saturday) away from the stresses of the everyday week as a day of rest. This gives the body and the mind the down time it needs, and also provides an opportunity to worship the God who made the universe.
Trust. Depression and anxiety are not restful. Stress is a monster that attacks every part of the body. Trust in a divine God can help control, if not eliminate these harmful emotions. When you experience a positive emotional response there is a reduction in the negative hormones that would otherwise suppress the immune system. This permits the immune system to function more effectively, providing protection from disease.
The Blue Zone
by Dan Buettner
This book chronicles Buettners personal visits to the four confirmed Blue Zones, the remarkable people he met and observed, and the lessons he learned about how to achieve a long, healthy life.
The Creation Health Breakthrough
by Monica Reed, MD
Monica Reed, senior medical officer of America's largest admitting hospital, prescribes 8 fundamentally powerful and scientifically proven essentials to reverse the negative effects of lifestyle, prevent disease in at-risk people, and ultimately achieve total health and wellness. (hint: the eight essentials above provide the framework that this book greatly expounds upon).
Easy Steps for Better Health
by Shawn Boonstra
Discover the Bible's 'full-coverage health plan' and how following it could add years to your life... and life to your years!
The Ministry of Health and Healing
The Ministry of Healing, Ellen G White's classic work on health and healing, has helped multiplied thousands find a simpler life filled with health and happiness. In the century that has passed since the book first appeared in 1905, the principles of health and service outlined in it have not changed; however, the words we use and the way we express our thoughts have changed significantly. Thus, for the benefit of today's generation, the Ellen G White Estate has produced this adaptation. The message has not been changed, only the language. The result? A fresh look at the principles that make up God's approach to the happy, healthy life He wants every person to enjoy!