Currently, there are only 5 Blue Zones in the world. Regions that are considered Blue Zones are places where people live healthy lifestyles and reach the age of 100. While there are people all over the world who reach age 100, people who live in Blue Zone areas live the longest. They also have the most number of centenarians, both male and female.
Italy is a beautiful country and one of its regions is included in the Blue Zone. You might think that Sicily is a Blue Zone, but it is not. Sardinia, Italy is the first area to be included in the Blue Zone, and its people live a life with longevity.
This article will talk about why Sardinia, and not Italy or Sicily, is part of the Blue Zone. We will talk about the Sardinian lifestyle and how it contributes to their long and healthy lives.
What Is A Blue Zone?
“Blue Zone” is a term that was coined by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Explorer and Fellow and journalist, in 2004. Buetter had an expedition in Okinawa, Japan in 2000 where he investigated the city’s longevity. After the expedition, he explored other parts of the world that had reports of people who lived the longest.
Blue Zones are different regions in the world that have a longer life expectancy where people reach the age of 100. Aside from having centenarians, regions that are in the Blue Zone also promote healthy living. At the moment, there are only 5 regions that Buettner and his team identified as Blue Zones.
Is Sicily A Blue Zone?
If you are wondering if Sicily is a Blue Zone, it is not. The five Blue Zones are:
– Sardinia, Italy
– Okinawa, Japan
– Loma Linda, California
– Ikaria, Greece
– Nicoya, Costa Rica
While Sicily is not part of the Blue Zone, there is a region in Italy that is.
The island of Sardinia is located on the west of the Italian peninsula and is famous for its rock formations and beaches. Sardinia is actually the first area to be declared as a Blue Zone. While most Blue Zones have a larger number of male centenarians than females, Sardinia’s ratio of male and female centenarians is about even.
Why Is Sardinia A Blue Zone?
So why is Sardinia a Blue Zone and other parts of Italy, including Sicily, is not? Let’s take a look at why Sardinia is in the Blue Zone and why locals live longer lives.
One of the things that keep us healthy is by eating a balanced diet. A classic Sardinian diet typically consists of whole-grain bread, fresh fruits, beans, and garden vegetables. But, they also eat lean proteins such as meat, fish, and poultry in small amounts and mostly during celebrations or festivals.
Eating fresh foods contributes to Sardinian’s healthy life and since they are still very traditional, they also often hunt their own meat and harvest their own food. They also don’t consume a lot of sugar and they typically use olive oil rather than butter which helps with their good health.
Since it is common for Sardinians to grow their own vegetables, they typically eat food that is organic and high in nutrients. Sardinians also make their own sheep cheeses, like pecorino cheese, which are low in cholesterol, high in protein, and high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Importance Of Elders And Family
Family, especially elders, is very important to Sardinians. In some countries, elders typically live separately from their families. They are often situated in retirement homes or nursing homes.
In Sardinia, elderly people are revered and are not put into retirement homes. Elders who are able-bodied are also put to work and are not just doing nothing all day. If they are capable, the elders help around the house by cooking, gardening, cleaning the house, and even tending the garden. Elders also often watch their grandchildren.
Several family members typically live together and while some family members move out, Sardinians still check on their family members regularly. They also try to meet up often to keep their close family ties. Elders are not considered a burden and Sardinians like to integrate their elders in the community.
Sardinia’s local wine, Cannonau wine, contributes to Sardinian’s long and healthy life. Sardinians drink wine moderately rather than all the time.
Red wine has health benefits such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Cannonai wine also has anti-oxidants however, it is three times higher than other red wines in Italy. Moderate wine consumption benefits the cardiovascular systems and Sardinians definitely benefit from drinking Cannonau!
Aside from eating a well-balanced meal and drinking wine moderately, exercising is also a part of the Sardinian lifestyle. Like in any part of the world, Sardinia has fitness centers and gyms for locals (and tourists) who want to keep up with their active lifestyle.
However, most locals don’t go to the gym as exercising is already a natural part of their lifestyle. Since most locals grow their food, tending to their gardens already keeps their bodies moving. Working in vineyards and the fields also keep their bodies strong and healthy. Sardinians, especially the elders, like to take a stroll and most like to walk rather than use public or private transportation which helps their muscle and bone metabolism as well as prevent heart disease.
Sardinians have a more relaxed lifestyle than their neighboring areas. While they do have jobs and go to offices as other people do, they don’t make their career the number one priority in their lives.
As we said earlier, for Sardinians, family is everything. Sardinians would often meet up for lunch to take a break from work and they don’t typically sit in the office all day. This relaxed lifestyle allows Sardinians to keep their stress level low and enjoy their day-to-day connection with families and friends.
Even though Sicily is not part of the Blue Zone, a region in Italy is. Sardinia, Italy is the first area that was included in the Blue Zone because of the people’s way of living. Eating fresh foods, giving importance to family, belonging to a community, and exercising are some principles that the Blue Zone area practices. Blue Zones recognized areas that have people who live the longest and this is because of their lifestyle.
We hope this article helped you understand what Blue Zone is and why Sardinia is a part of it. Who knows, maybe Sicily will be on the list someday! if you have any other questions, let us know!