Last week, I watched Dan Buettner’s "Live to 100" documentary series on Netflix. Throughout the series, Buettner journey's through the ‘blue zones’ — regions in the world where people live significantly longer, in a higher density and with less disease, when compared to other places.
Why do people live longer in the blue zones?
In these blue zones like Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, and Nicoya in Costa Rica, people are living the dream in terms of lifespan and healthspan. The longevity secrets, within these blue zones, have nothing to do with modern medicine, labs, advanced testing or things like cold plunging and cryotherapy. It turns out, the spotlight falls on something that seems much more basic: community and social support.
Throughout the film, I realized that what linked those who live in the blue zones, was the power of community. They spent every day with visits from their family and neighbors. Their lives were socially rich.
What does the research say?
Research has consistently shown that social connections can improve:
3. Mental health including depression and anxiety
4. Physical health
5. Quality of life
6. Longevity: reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, dementia and mortality
What can we learn from the blue zones?
The blue zones are a testament to the healing power of the community. To me, it is one of the truest forms of healing that no medicine can replicate.
I am convinced that there is no better time than now, to promote community and foster social support. Social well-being should be at the center of longevity medicine.
At Hearty, we are a community. Let’s continue to build and emphasize the communities we have around us here at Hearty, and elsewhere – so that we not only live with more joy and support but we live longer, healthier and richer lives.
More research to check out:
1. Social connection and physical health outcomes among long-term care home residents: a scoping review
2. The Connection Prescription: Using the Power of Social Interactions and the Deep Desire for Connectedness to Empower Health and Wellness
3. Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy
4. Social relationships and physiological determinants of longevity across the human life span
~ David Luu, Hearty founder