Many of us aspire to live a long and fulfilling life, and according to researcher and author Dan Buettner, achieving longevity doesn’t necessarily require drastic lifestyle changes. Buettner, who identified the “Blue Zones” – regions with the world’s healthiest and longest-living populations – outlined simple adjustments that can increase one’s chances of reaching the age of 100.
Buettner’s first recommendation is to adopt a plant-based diet, emphasizing that 95 percent of food intake should come from plants or plant products. Limiting animal protein, reducing meat consumption, and incorporating fish, nuts, and beans into the diet are essential. Choosing sourdough or 100 percent whole wheat bread is preferable. In the Blue Zones, people consume beverages like coffee, tea, water, and even wine in moderation, which can aid in the absorption of plant-based antioxidants.
Another key to longevity, according to Buettner, is ensuring adequate sleep. He advises aiming for eight hours of sleep a day, aligning with the Blue Zones’ practice of rising with the sun and sleeping at night. Quality sleep is deemed crucial for overall well-being and happiness.
Buettner’s third tip involves knowing and articulating one’s sense of purpose, a concept exemplified by the Japanese term “ikigai.” Studies have demonstrated a link between a clear sense of purpose and increased longevity. Buettner suggests a reflective exercise involving listing things one loves to do, identifying passions and skills, and finding commonalities to determine where one’s gifts can be applied. Aligning one’s career with this intersection sets the stage for a successful and purposeful life.