Happily ever after may very well be a reality in the Blue Zones. The Blue Zones of the world are places where people live longer and healthier lives. And by longer, we mean really long. People in the Blue Zones often live over 100 years of age while still keeping fit and active. How is that even possible?
There are several theories about why the Blue Zone of Costa Rica exists, but the most likely explanation is that it is due to a combination of factors. The climate in the Blue Zone is very mild, which may help to protect against diseases. The people in the Blue Zone tend to be very active and physically strong, which helps them to stay fit and healthy. A healthy traditional diet also helps, as is a slow-living approach and solid family values.
What are the Blue Zones?
In the 1970s, epidemiologist and National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner took some trips to investigate areas around the world with high concentrations of centenarians. These areas, which he called “blue zones,” share a common lifestyle and dietary habits that Buettner believes contribute to their residents’ exceptional longevity.
Though each blue zone has its own unique culture and customs, they all share nine common denominators: a strong sense of purpose, regular physical activity, a plant-based diet, moderate alcohol consumption, social engagement, stress reduction practices, down time for rest and regeneration, and close family ties.
Buettner’s work has led him to identify five specific blue zones: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; Icaria in Greece; and Loma Linda in California.
The inhabitants of these areas share several lifestyle characteristics that may contribute to their longevity: they eat a plant-based diet, they don’t smoke cigarettes, they drink moderate amounts of alcohol, they have strong social networks, and they stay active throughout their lives.
Nicoya Peninsula – the only Blue Zone in Latin America
The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica is the only Blue Zone in Latin America. The Nicoya Peninsula is situated in the country’s northwestern part, in the beautiful province of Guanacaste.
The peninsula has been a popular tourist destination for many years, but it was not until recently that scientists discovered why this area had so many healthy, long-lived people. The answer lies in the lifestyle of the local Nicoyans, who live on a diet called “the 80/10/10” (a ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and protein), an active lifestyle, and a strong community.
The population is quite small, only about 25,000, but they have one of the highest life expectancies in the world – 81 years of age for women and 77 years for men, and enjoy healthy lives. The people of the Nicoya Peninsula have a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. They eat beans, corn, squash, yams, and sweet potatoes. They also eat fish, chicken, and lean pork. Their diet is low in fat and high in fiber.
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The Nicoyans are active. They walk or ride bicycles everywhere they go. They do not use cars or buses. They also do not watch television or play video games. They spend their time playing sports and socializing instead. They do not spend their money on cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs.
But most importantly, the Nicoya people embrace the Pura Vida lifestyleCosta Rica is known for and put their family first. Studies show nurturing relationships as the key to a long and happy life. Nicoyans live by this motto. They spend their time having fun with family, making new friends, and enjoying the company of others. Other reports show that Nicoyans do not get angry easily and do not argue with others.
Family is important for Nicoyans and Costa Ricans, in general, and it’s not unusual for extended families to live together or multiple generations of families to live near one another so they can help each other and spend time together. In a recent study conducted by National Geographic, the Nicoya Peninsula was rated as one of the happiest places in the world, and family and friends have a lot to do with this.
Costa Rica – one of the happiest places on Earth
Move over, Disney World! Costa Rica is here! Research shows that Costa Rica is indeed one of the happiest places on Earth. Studies show that Costa Rica ranks highly in terms of happiness and well-being. The country is often at the top of international surveys for these measures. According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is, in fact, the happiest country in the world.
Costa Rica may be a small country but has a big reputation for longevity. The average life expectancy in Costa Rica is 79 years, which is higher than the global average of 72 years. But what makes Costa Rica’slongevity even more impressive is that its residents are relatively healthy and active well into their old age.
So what’s the secret to Costa Rica’slongevity? One key factor is diet. The typical Costa Rican diet is based on fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, and lean protein. This type of diet has been linked with lower rates of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Another important factor is lifestyle. Costa Ricans tend to be very active, both in their work lives and in their leisure time. They often walk or bike instead of driving and frequently participate in outdoor activities like hiking and surfing.
The weather might also have something to do with Costa Ricans’ long and joyful life. The country has year-round warm weather, and the tropical rainforest climate provides plenty of fresh air and sunlight. It’s no wonder that Costa Rica leads the world in people reaching 100 years old.
Affordable cost of living and excellent healthcare also help
Costa Rica is one of the world’s top retirement destinations for a reason. In addition to its stunning natural beauty, the country offers retirees an affordable cost of living and excellent healthcare that helps them enhance their quality of life.
Healthcare is a major concern for retirees, and Costa Rica’s public healthcare system is ranked among the best in Latin America. The country has several high-quality private hospitals and clinics, offering expats access to world-class medical care at a fraction of the cost they would pay back home.
The cost of living in Costa Rica is also very reasonable, especially when compared to other popular retirement destinations like the US or Europe. Expats can easily find affordable housing, food, and transportation options in Costa Rica. And because English is widely spoken throughout the country, retirees will have no trouble getting by without learning Spanish.
And when it comes to real estate, both retirees and investors will find the Costa Rica real estate market extremely appealing. The country’s low cost of living and stable economy have made it a top destination for foreign homebuyers, who can expect to pay a fraction of what they would pay for similar properties in more expensive markets like the US or Canada.
Just take a look at the great opportunities available in areas like Playa Flamingo and Tamarindo, situated only a stone’s throw away from the only Blue Zone in Latin America. The luxurious setting and plethora of facilities will certainly add years to your life if you choose to invest in property in Marina Flamingo, as will the tranquil setting and endless views that delight the members of the Senderos community in Tamarindo. In other words, when you invest in real estate in Costa Rica, you invest in your own longevity!
Make your Costa Rica home your own Blue Zone!
So what can we learn from the blue zones? To start with, we can try incorporating some of their lifestyle habits into our own lives. For example, eating more plants and less meat has been shown to have numerous health benefits. And eating less is probably a better strategy than eating more healthily in order to avoid overeating.
Similarly, the less stress you have in your life, the better your health. So instead of worrying about every little thing, learn to take things easy and don’t forget to stop and enjoy the ocean or rainforest views. As for exercise? Do it regularly!
Also, moving to Costa Rica might be a good idea. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in one of the happiest countries in the world? The secret to longevity may be diet and exercise but wouldn’t it be better to enjoy your longevity in a happy country with beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and people who are known for their joy and love of life?
Buy your own home in Costa Rica, take in the views, and you’ll understand why people live longer here. Costa Rica Christies’ real estate agents will help you find your own Blue Zone!