Of the five locales scientists are studying for their longevity secrets, three are islands, one is a peninsula and one is a religious community.
Here’s what they have in common:
- An environment that encourages a healthy diet and exercise
- Healthy relationships and psychological well-being
- People who share the same lifestyle and outlook on life
- People who garden and work the land
- Easily accessible public health systems
- Older people are valued in their families and in the broader community
The top 5 places
1. Okinawa, Japan
The most proven centenarians live In Okinawa, a group of islands 360 miles off the coast of Japan. Inhabitants of the Okinawa islands not only live the longest in the world, they are also the healthiest. They grow old with relatively few age-related ailments.
2. Sardinia, Italy
Sardinia is an island 120 miles off the coast of Italy. The men, mostly farmers and shepherds, often live to over a hundred years old. The town of Ovodda, with only 1,700 people, boasts five centenarians.
3. Loma Linda, California
The community of Loma Linda, east of Los Angeles includes about 9,000 Seventh Day Adventists. Adventist culture is focused on healthy habits including vegetarianism. They frown on drinking alcohol and smoking.
4. Nicoya, Costa Rica
Nicoya has a community where men often reach the age of 90. They also have the lowest cancer rates in Costa Rica. They sleep eight hours and their diet includes nutrient-rich foods like beans, corn and rice; and water that is naturally high in calcium and magnesium.
5. Ikaria, Greece
Ikaria is a Greek island 35 miles off the coast of Turkey. Like Nicoya, people there easily live to 90 and older. Chronic diseases are a rarity and inhabitants have 20 percent less cancer, half the rate of cardiovascular disease and almost no dementia compared to Americans. Boasting a mineral hot springs, Ikaria has been a health destination for centuries.
What these societies have in common:
- Limited or no consumption of refined sugar
- Limited or no consumption of processed foods