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Research Discovers Secrets to a Long Life

INTERNATIONAL: A team of experts has identified the not-so-secret factors behind why people in certain areas of the world live longer. These areas, called “Blue Zones” are Sardinia in Italy , the Japanese city of Okinawa, Icaria in Greece, California’s Loma Linda and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. All of these areas are home to a large percentage of elderly people, who on average, are much older when compared to other parts of the world.

So what’s the secret to a long life?

The research team has identified nine general factors related to diet and lifestyle that can be summarized in two categories. First is physical wellbeing, which implies regular intense exercise routines to provide a break from daily stress, and eating more plant-based foods. Drinking excessively is bad but a small amount of alcohol here and there might help, confirming the belief that moderate drinkers live longer than non-drinkers. Also, eating moderately without filling up completely, seems to help extend your life-span.

The research also highlights the importance of mental well-being. Having solid relationships helps your peace of mind, as does engaging in social groups that promote healthy habits. The last piece of the puzzle in living longer is what the Japanese call “Ikigai” – think of it as your reason for getting up in the morning - people with this so-called “reason for being” tend to have a lot more candles on their birthday cakes.

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