The keys to a long life

Health tips from the people who live the most in the world

Wanting to live a longer life, it is said that Juan Ponce de León abandoned Puerto Rico in search of the Fountain of Youth. Ironically, that action took years off his life, as he died because of that expedition. That search obeyed a natural desire of humans: to want to live more. Today, in order to discover the secret to becoming long-lived, places have been identified all around the world where the inhabitants live longer than normal, and we are trying to understand why.

Why are some populations living longer?

The way people live has been shown to influence their longevity. Certain habits, kinds of lifestyles and types of eating habits are differentiating factors between the populations that live longer and those that do not. It should be noted that this is taking a look at populations and several generations, not individuals at a specific time.

What habits do they practice?

In places like Italy, Spain, Greece, and Switzerland, the diet is usually very healthy and balanced with respect to the components of meals and the moderate use of alcohol, particularly wine. South Korea and Japan maintain a diet rich in fish, tofu and fermented foods, such as kimchi. The town of Loma Linda in California maintains a strict diet, meanwhile on the Nicoya Peninsula, tropical fruits and fish make up most of their diet.

Another characteristic in common between these zones is the physical activity of its inhabitants. In European countries, a large part of the population moves on foot, by bicycle or through public transportation. All of these transportation methods require physical activity. Being active is also enacted through parks and open spaces, where citizens can feel at ease while walking or exercising.

Bad habits are usually avoided in these places. If they consume any alcohol, it is usually in moderation. Smoking, for obvious reasons, is a vice that is often avoided in most of these places. In addition, health usually focuses on being preventive.

Many of these long-lived people live a life with fewer worries tan the rest of the population. In part, the way society itself operates is a critical factor in mental health. It is difficult to lead a life without stressors when they are already customary in the place where you live. Simple events like daily heavy traffic are factors that cause stress.

In addition, the community becomes more involved in people’s lives. In the aforementioned places, the oldest population is valued and is an integral part of society. There are activities for them and opportunities to be with more people in their same situation and age. In other words, they are not ignored by the rest of society. It is important that they feel they have a purpose, as evidenced by the populations of the Blue Zones (part of the Nicoya Peninsula, and the cities of Icaria in Greece, Cardeña in Italy, Okinawa in Japan and Loma Linda in the United States). The climate in these places is usually temperate, without extreme variations, where winters are moderate, and summers do not tend to roast its inhabitants.

How can you live longer?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive formula to follow or a magical place to go to live more. Now, you can exercise, eat well, take care of your health, avoid stress, find a purpose to get out of bed every day, and look for more people who value these habits, and surely you will have, if not a longer life, a fuller one.

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For more information, visit our website or email us to contact one of our representatives ( And find out why, at TOLIC, we are Going Beyond Insurance.


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