What is the secret of the “blue zones”, where people live 10 years longer than others


Japan, Sweden and Hong Kong. The inhabitants of these countries have exceptional life expectancy. What is the reason?

Japan. Life expectancy is 81 years.

The Japanese have an average life expectancy of 81 years. One of the main reasons for the longevity of the Japanese is an active lifestyle. They walk a lot daily. When walking, the heart is actively contracting, blood supply increases, and blood vessels expand. Blood in the vessels does not stagnate, therefore, stagnation does not occur. The legs are the "second heart."

If a person walks a little, his blood circulation drops, and blood clots and stagnation form, which lead to thrombosis. Since blood moves from the lower extremities to the heart and then enters the lungs for oxygenation, blood clots can move along with the blood stream. Getting into the pulmonary artery, they cause its blockage and impaired further blood flow through this artery, which leads to the development of heart failure.

Sweden. Average life expectancy of 80 years.

The Swedes have an average life expectancy of 80 years, because this country has the lowest smoking rate. And smoking is one of the factors in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. When plaques block the bloodstream, a stroke and myocardial infarction occur.

Initially, the vessel is soft and even. If a person smokes, nicotine damages the walls of the vessel. Small cracks are formed on them, into which cholesterol enters. So the atherosclerotic plaque begins to form. Over time, it becomes larger and can completely block the blood flow in the vessel and lead to myocardial infarction.

Hong Kong. Life expectancy 82 years.

Hong Kong residents practically do not eat red meat and are vegetarians.

Red meat contains trans fats (saturated fats), which increase the risk of heart disease, lower the level of omega-3 fatty acids in the body, and increase cholesterol. A large amount of red meat increases the risk of cancer.

In Russia, life expectancy is much shorter. We are talking about dozens of years that people miss because of smoking, lack of physical activity and poor diet.

Where are the blue zones?

The very concept of “blue zones” came about thanks to Michael Pulen and Gianni Pesu, who discovered that the province of Nuoro, located on the Italian island of Sardinia, has the largest number of people in the world who celebrated their 100th anniversary. Later, Dan Buttner joined the studies of Poulain and Pes, along with which scientists identified 5 zones around the world where residents are distinguished by their special longevity.

    Okinawa Island (Japan). As you know, life expectancy in Japan is one of the highest in the world, but on the island of Okinawa the number of people who have reached 100 years of age is 5 times more than in other regions of the country.

Province of Olliastra (Sardinia, Italy). The province of Olliastra until 2005 was part of the province of Nuoro, with which the whole story began. Today, on the territory of an already independent province, located in a mountainous area, with a population of only about 57 thousand people (the lowest among the rest of the provinces), the largest number of centenarians live in Italy: it is in Ollastra that the majority of men are over 100 years old years.

The city of Loma Linda (California, USA). The average life expectancy in the town of Loma Linda with a population of about 23 thousand people is 10 years longer than the national average. Women live here for 91 years, men 89, and the number of cancers is 80% less than in other cities in the United States. Most of the local people belong to the Seventh-day Adventist religious community.

Ikaria Island (Greece). In terms of life expectancy, Greece takes the 2nd place in the world after Japan, but the islanders overtake the rest of the Greeks: if in the whole country people live 79.8 years, then the Ikars are 88.1 years. The islanders themselves say that on Ikaria there is no place for stress and discomfort, and, according to researchers, this is one of the key factors of longevity.

Peninsula of Nicoya (Costa Rica). Despite the fact that the region and its inhabitants can hardly be called rich, the number of people who have not ceased to lead an active lifestyle until the age of 90 is 2.5 times more than in the United States, while they spend 15 times less on medical services.

Okinawan diet

The gaze of scientists turned to the Japanese island of Okinawa. Cause? Okinawa women are leaders in life expectancy in the world. As a result of numerous studies with the support of the American National Institute on Aging, a “recipe for longevity” was created for the islanders: 30% - good genes, 70% - lifestyle.

Most Okinawa residents have never driven a car, either on a bicycle or on foot. They prefer to pick vegetables in their garden, rather than in the supermarket. They eat a lot of beans and almost do not eat red meat. They do not allow stress to penetrate into their lives and devote a lot of time to cordial communication with family and friends.

Mountain healing water

The Valley of Wilcabamba in South America is called the “Land of Eternal Youth”, “Valley of Peace” and “The Lost Garden of Eden”. It is not surprising that every year there are more and more people wishing to live in a wonderful place. The Vilkabamba boom began in the 70s of the last century, when scientists called the air and water of these places “the elixir of longevity,” and numerous reports talked about people who have long crossed the centenary of life.

The world-famous doctor Walker, the author of the book “Secrets of Longevity”, in 1981, based on the results of laboratory tests, confirmed that Vilkabamba water has a unique composition, enriched with minerals.

Gerontologist Richard Mayses of the University of Wisconsin suggested that the secret to longevity lies not only in crystal clear water, but also in the unusual bone tissue of the skeleton of local residents. The bones of even the very elderly Wilkabamba are similar in structure to the bones of adolescents. So can the secret of longevity of the inhabitants of the valley in this unique phenomenon? Scientists still find it difficult to give an exact answer.

Constant activity

Researchers from Harvard University and the University of Athens confirm that mortality among mountain residents is significantly lower: for men - by 61%, in women - by 54%. Participants in the experiments this time were residents of villages located 200 kilometers from Athens.

Although many of them had high blood pressure, as well as critical levels of cholesterol and fat in the blood, scientists found a lower chance of dying from a heart attack. The "secret" of their longevity - in high physical activity, which is associated not only with the need to move around uneven terrain, but also with the occupation - most men are engaged in agriculture or animal husbandry.

The simple truths of the highlanders

Long-livers of the Greek villages attracted the attention of Harvard professor Vincent L. Gregory, who devoted many years to the search for new ways to prevent cancer. A group of researchers under his leadership came to an unexpected conclusion: life expectancy directly depends on the level of education. So, women “not studying at universities” lived much longer than their peers. According to gerontologists, this may be due to a more active lifestyle, adherence to the traditional way of life and a healthier diet. Well, one can’t recall Griboedov’s here: “Learning is the plague, learning is the reason.”

Breath and mountain air

Physiologists from the University of Oxford, led by Dr. Federico Formenti, have proposed their own version of the "recipe for longevity." It is known that in the mountains the air can be so discharged that a person who is not used to it feels discomfort. Eagerly swallowing air to the sounds of frequent beats of his own heart - not the most pleasant state. Why then are the highlanders not experiencing such problems?

Scientists explain: in order to compensate for the decrease in the amount of oxygen entering the blood, the hormone erythropoietin activates the production of red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the muscles. From the first days of life, the body of a child living in the mountains, day after day, adapts to low oxygen levels. As a result, the stamina of the body increases and, as a result, the life expectancy increases. It is no accident that many athletes prefer to train high in the mountains.

Sunny Vitamin

Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in partnership with specialists from the Harvard School of Global Health, have come to the conclusion that low oxygen levels reduce the development of coronary heart disease. But the reason for the longevity of the highlanders, in their opinion, can be associated with another factor.

In the course of four-year experiments, it was found that the body of people living at height, due to increased solar activity, synthesizes vitamin D in large quantities. This not only has a beneficial effect on the condition of the heart, but also prevents the appearance of cancer cells.

Healing herbs

Well, Californian scientists led by Professor Makhtab Jafari became interested in the “Siberian grass” that grows in the Altai mountains. We are talking about Rhodiola rosea, which is known to all Russian fans of traditional medicine as the "golden root".

Indigenous people of Altai highly appreciated the "Siberian ginseng", which "worked wonders." In the 40s, Soviet scientists actively studied the beneficial effects of Rhodiola on athletes, and later on astronauts. This “mild stimulant” increases the production of serotonin - the “hormone of joy”, which, according to Russian scientists, is able to prolong life for at least half a century. Academician of the RAMS Valentin Ivanovich Pokrovsky made such a sensational discovery back in 1997.

The Americans were amazed when they found that life expectancy when taking tinctures from miracle grass increased by 24%. True, experiments were carried out only on Drosophila flies. Professor Jafari, noted that "nothing of the kind has been observed before." He stressed that no evidence has yet been obtained that radiola is able to prolong human life, but this plant is one of the most promising candidates for future anti-aging research. The Chinese herbs tried to compete with the Siberian radio field, however, they “lost the race”, in no way extending the life of arthropod participants in the experiment.

You can’t forbid to live long

This week, at the age of 116, Geraline Talley, the oldest inhabitant of the Earth, died in Michigan. In 2013, when asked by journalists what it feels like to be the oldest person, she, pointing a finger at the sky, answered: “Do not ask me. Ask Him. Everything is in the hands of the Almighty. "

Geraline Talley, died June 17, 2015 at the age of 116

After the death of "colleagues" long-lived rating, whose age is documented (this rating is GRC - Gerontology Research Group, Gerontology Research Center), headed by 115-year-old resident of Brooklyn Susanna Jones. When asked how she feels in a new status, she laughed and said she did not believe in it. Ms. Jones takes vitamins and medicines for pressure every day, suffers from glaucoma, but in general she is distinguished by an enviable, albeit age-appropriate, health. The diet of the newly-minted leader of the centenarians can hardly be considered exemplary. So, Jones eats four strips of bacon and fried eggs daily for breakfast. In addition to gastronomic habits, she retained a love of elegant lingerie. “Once she went to do an ECG, the doctors and nurses were shocked to see her lace underwear. Having recovered, of course, they noticed that wearing nice things is never too late, ”said Susanna Jones, 75-year-old niece. The long-liver goes to bed at 7 pm, sleeps 10 hours, and then sleeps most of the day in the living room.

Suzanne Jones, 115 - the oldest inhabitant of the Earth at the moment

Joseph C. Lin for TIME

The oldest person ever living is considered Jeanne Calman of France. She died in 1997, having lived 122 years and 164 days. The French have a hypothesis regarding the longevity of a compatriot. Kalman ate 900 g (2 pounds) of chocolate a week, cycled for up to 100 years and rubbed olive oil into her skin.

Scientists disagree on aging

She was a lover of cheap red wine, quit smoking at only 118 years old, never seriously monitored her health and was famous for witty jokes. "I have not a single wrinkle ... Except the one on which I am sitting,"

- declared Kalman already in old age. Having celebrated her ninetieth birthday, she made a deal with her lawyer: he paid her 2.5 thousand francs (about $ 400) every month and after her death he got a house in the property. But the elderly lady was in no hurry to die, and in the end the lawyer had to do it: after 32 years, having paid the surviving old woman 180 thousand dollars, which was 2 times the market value of the house, he died prematurely. Shrugging her shoulders, Jeanne Calman remarked: "Sometimes people make bad deals."

“Aging is a disease”

According to scientists, the secret of French longevity is her equanimity.

“I think she was biologically immune to stress,”

- said Jean-Marie Robin, a gerontologist and author of a book about Jeanne Calman.

IN ranking living centenarians present a woman of Russian origin, born in Chisinau, and now a US citizen Golda Hatskelevna Gurfinkel, now Goldie Steinberg. She is now 114 years old, and she is fifth in the new ranking.

As for Russia, Magomed Labazanov died in Dagestan in the fall of 2012, who, in his own words, was to turn 123 years old. But, unfortunately, there are no documents confirming the date of birth of Labazanov.

Hungry life and well-fed death

Alcohol, smoking, fatty and sweet hardly fit into the philistine notions of a healthy diet and lifestyle. At a minimum, they conflict with the beliefs of most people and make them doubt what is good and what is bad. Zhanna Kalman drank, smoked, and still did not go to the doctors, stepping over a hundred. Susanna Jones still loves hearty and fat breakfasts. Geraline Talley prayed to God and played bowling.

Longevity remains a mystery

The demographic aging of the population and the increase in life expectancy led to a rapid increase in gerontological research.

Scientists are looking for longevity genes, products that prolong life, substances that slow down aging, and other elixirs of youth.

However, significant differences in diet and lifestyle between centenarians and mere mortals have not yet been discovered. Among those who are over a hundred, and those who have not reached, there are both those who go to the bar and those who go to church.

In search of the gene for youth, scientists deciphered the genome of 17 people over 110 years old. Contrary to expectations, they did not find the specific gene responsible for longevity, but instead, some, on the contrary, found mutations that lead to cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

The discovery in the study was the following: the genes that ordinary people “turned on” at 70–80 years old (especially the most unfortunate ones earlier) and led to the development of age-related diseases, for some reason they were “silent” in the case of centenarians.

Scientists have suggested that it is the passivity of certain genes that slows down aging.And this property may be inherited. Therefore, a long-lived loner is difficult to meet. Longevity is a family feature.

According to gerontologists, those whom nature has deprived of biological means for a long life can independently extend their existence. To do this, an extensive group of researchers from Harvard, the University of Illinois, Columbia University and other leading educational institutions of the United States proposed to begin with a general scientific change of the enemy and fight not with disease, but with aging as such - more on that "Newspaper.Ru" told earlier.

The best way to delay aging, unfortunately for many, was a low-calorie diet, which was confirmed in experiments on mice.

Calorie restriction in the diet allowed mice to extend life by about 50%. After death and autopsy, it turned out that rodents on a diet had significantly less problems with the cardiovascular system and internal organs. The same story is happening with a person as with a mouse: changes in metabolism and the work of cells can rejuvenate the body. Only one thing is not clear: who wants to live half-starved and even twice as long.

Where are the most centenarians

According to the opinion established in science, from the moment of the appearance of the first representatives, the life expectancy of people has steadily increased. The first hunters-gatherers of the Stone Age rarely reached 25-30 years. The development of agriculture and cattle breeding diversified the diet of our distant ancestors, and the threat of predator attacks sharply decreased, life gradually went into a measured rut, and people began to live longer.

However, this is only in theory. Russian centenarians refute the opinion of most scientists that improving living conditions and balanced nutrition leads to longevity.

The fact is that most of the 100-year-old Russians inhabit the mountainous regions of the North Caucasus, the harsh Arctic and the mountainous regions of Altai, which also cannot be called resort zones. In addition, many centenarians overcame many hardships and hardships, they did not bask in warmth and comfort, often ate what they had to.

The only thing that unites Russian centenarians is following the traditional way of life for their ancestors. A 100-year milestone is rarely crossed by people who have divorced from their native places, moved to the city from the countryside, and changed their primordial life and diet.

So, in Dagestan most of the elders live in high mountain regions, and in Yakutia reindeer herders can boast of their longevity.
If we talk about the subjects of Russia with high indicators of life expectancy, then these are the aforementioned Dagestan, Yakutia and the Altai Territory, as well as North Ossetia and some Siberian regions.


The peoples of Dagestan. Clean mountain air, national cuisine and physical labor in the fresh air - this is how most scientists explain the phenomenon of longevity of Caucasians. Dagestan leads in the number of elders, noticeably ahead of other Russian regions. Even in pre-revolutionary Russia, when most of the highlanders did not live well, worked hard and ate very poorly, researchers noted a significant number of respectable elders who crossed the 100-year mark. And now there are a lot of them.

Sarkhat Ibrahimovna Rashidova (1875-2007) - lived in the village of Verkhny Zidyan, Derbent District. It belongs to the ethnic branch of Azerbaijanis - the indigenous inhabitants of Dagestan. The fact that a woman was born during the reign of Tsar Alexander II is officially confirmed. She worked a lot on the housework, ate like everyone else. She believed that she inherited longevity from her father, who also overcame a 100-year milestone.

Magomed Nasibovich Labazanov (1890-2012) - was born in the aul of Gadari in the Tsumadinsky district, died in the village of Serebryakovka, Kizlyar district. There is debate about his ethnicity. Since the man worked at a sawmill in Chechnya, from where he was deported to Kazakhstan in 1944, some believe that the aksakal belonged to the ethnic branch of the Akkin Chechens, one of the indigenous peoples of Dagestan. Other sources claim that the Soviet security forces deported Magomed Labazanov by mistake, without understanding his nationality (rowing everyone to the heap).

After rehabilitation, the man returned to his homeland, was engaged in animal husbandry. Physical labor in the open air was considered the reason for his longevity.

Huseyn Shikhakhmedovich Shikhakhmedov (born in 1896) - lives in the village of Memmedkala, Derbent District. He worked a lot on the field in childhood and youth, along with relatives. In 1936, the family was considered too prosperous and dispossessed, sent everyone to Kyrgyzstan. Then the Great Patriotic War began, the man fought with his brother on the Belorussian Front. The family was able to return to their homeland only 15 years after deportation. Aksakal worked for many years as an imam of a local mosque.

If we talk about the Dagestanis who record for longevity, then it is worth mentioning a resident of the city of Kizilyurt Kairkhan Kairkhanov, who celebrated his 130th anniversary in 2001, according to a number of local media.


If they are inferior to the Dagestanis in the total number of centenarians, then they are ahead in terms of population. According to the Republican branch of the Pension Fund of Russia, in North Ossetia more than 2 thousand people overcame a 90-year milestone. Many of them work around the house, look after their great-grandchildren, take care of the garden, despite their advanced age. According to the number of centenarians, the leaders are the Ordzhonikidze, Kirov, Iraf and Digorsky districts of the republic.

Gosad Tsallaeva (1886-2008) - lived in the village of Gular, Digorsky district. At the age of 10, she was bitten by a poisonous snake, and the local medicine man miraculously left the girl. After that incident, she herself believed that she would live a long time: she had already won the inevitable death. The woman worked hard, raised 7 of her and 4 adopted children.


Yakuts dispute North Ossetia second place in Russia in the number of venerable old men. These people have always been distinguished by their long life spans, which is confirmed by a scientific article published in the St. Petersburg journal Northern Archive back in the summer of 1822. And currently in Yakutia there are 55 people whose age exceeds 100 years.

It seems that the harsh climate, poor in vitamins and very fatty food, the hard work of reindeer herders - all this should not be conducive to longevity. However, representatives of the rural uluses of the republic, leading a traditional way of life, refute this statement.

For example, on December 2, 2011, Pelageya Vasilyevna Rufova from the village of Usun, Vlyuisky ulus, celebrated her 110th birthday. During the Great Patriotic War, she worked in the rear, was awarded the honorary badge “Uye Saas”, which marks the Yakut centenarians, and in honor of the anniversary received a special distinction “Civil Valor” as a labor veteran.


Long live those representatives of the people who adhere to the traditional way of life, as noted in Yakutia.

Varvara Konstantinovna Semennikova (1890-2008), who in her maiden name was Dyakonov, was recognized as one of the oldest residents of our country. Her age is officially confirmed by a birth record in the metric book. Despite the ethnicity of the Evenks, she was born in the same ulus of Yakutia as Pelageya Rufova. The long-lived woman wandered the tundra all her life, doing reindeer husbandry. She worked until her 90th birthday. It is noteworthy that Varvara's grandmother smoked shag, which does not contribute to health at all.

Altai people

This Turkic-speaking indigenous people of the Altai Mountains also lives in adverse conditions, being engaged in nomadic animal husbandry. The diet of the local population can also not be called balanced, since it is dominated by meat and dairy products, while few fruits and vegetables.

Babyk Emcht Bultirgin, who died in 1959 at the age of 116, is considered the oldest Altaian in the history of this people. Although his age is confirmed only by the allegations of relatives, no official documents have been preserved.

Researchers have always noted the increased vitality of Altai men, who often became fathers after their 70th birthday. Moreover, they never complained about diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, apparently, it is still a matter of national cuisine.


It is interesting that in the Altai Territory there are many centenarians among the Russian population. As if the very nature of these places is conducive to achieving a respectable age. For example, Pelageya Osipovna Zakurdaeva (1886-2005), who bore the surname Lavkin, was considered one of the oldest inhabitants of the planet. The date of birth of this woman from the city of Zarinsk was confirmed by documents.

The long-living woman got married 4 times, raised three adopted children. Pelageya Zakurdaeva had a difficult life, after the death of her second husband, she moved to Tashkent, from where she returned to Altai at the age of 99. An elderly woman had an unhealthy habit: she sniffed tobacco, and also allowed herself a glass of vodka on holidays.
It is noteworthy that among Russian men there are practically no long-livers, and most Russian women who have overcome the 100-year mark live in Siberia.

Other peoples of Russia also boast of people who have reached a respectable age, but there are not so many of them.

The phenomenon of longevity

Representatives of ethnic groups traditionally engaged in farming are also in an ecologically clean environment, lead a healthy lifestyle, work a lot in the fresh air, have a calm temperament and good-natured character, but for some reason their average life expectancy is less than that of livestock breeders. Perhaps one of the main factors ensuring longevity is the consumption of dairy products.

For centuries, residents of various places formed a certain diet, to which people were able to adapt. Following the traditions of their ancestors, including nutrition, is another key to longevity. A sharp change in lifestyle, as a rule, negatively affects human health.

True, some researchers consider environmental factors to be the main reason for the high life expectancy of individual peoples: mountain or frosty sea air, as well as water rich in useful trace elements.

Gerontologists say that all centenarians are distinguished by a stress-resistant psyche, they are calm and friendly, lead an active lifestyle. Women among them, as a rule, are twice as many as men.


Watch the video: Maria Shriver Reveals Secrets Of Blue Zones Where People Live To 100. TODAY (March 2020).