Singapore Named ‘Blue Zone 2.0’ in ‘Reside to 100’


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For greater than 20 years, longevity researcher Dan Buettner has been touring the globe to search out and examine the locations the place individuals are inclined to stay the longest, healthiest lives, thriving nicely into their 100s. Over time, these explorations have yielded 5 longevity sizzling spots, which he is dubbed Blue Zones: Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California; Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; and Okinawa, Japan. Utilizing his forays into the livelihoods of the centenarians occupying them, Buettner has written 5 books on longevity. However his newest ventures are giving us the deepest dive but into the workings of wholesome growing older: a sixth ebook, The Blue Zones Secrets and techniques for Residing Longer: Classes From the Healthiest Locations on Earth and a brand new Netflix documentary collection, Reside to 100: Secrets and techniques of the Blue Zones.

The collection, premiering August 30, places faces and names to the longevity insights round consuming, train, sleep, and socializing that Buettner has shared through the years, following his conversations with residents in each Blue Zone, in addition to in Singapore, which Buettner calls a “Blue Zone 2.0:” a spot the place the federal government has instituted insurance policies designed explicitly to advertise longevity—versus one the place individuals have lengthy embraced cultural habits that simply so occur to help wholesome growing older (extra on that beneath).

Spotlighted within the collection are the residents of Okinawa, who repeatedly get pleasure from plant-focused meals, and of Sardinia, who scale near-vertical hills on each day walks and all the time find time for dinner with household and pals, in addition to the locals of the Nicoyan peninsula, who’re identified to embrace a plan de vida, or specific life function, as their north star. One other episode takes Buettner to apiaries in Ikaria; and one other takes him to the pickleball courts, kitchens, and worship teams of residents of Loma Linda. It is not till the final installment of the collection that Buettner makes his solution to Singapore, which he sees because the mannequin for creating further Blue Zones by means of infrastructure and coverage.

“The largest alternative with this documentary was to harness the entire scientific analysis that was completed on the Blue Zones and metabolize it into a stunning story,” says Buettner. He was thrilled to work with director Clay Jeter, who directed episodes of Chef’s Desk, to carry the individuals of the Blue Zones to life.

“We discovered individuals within the Blue Zones, and we distilled the science of why they’re making it to 100.” —Dan Buettner, longevity researcher

Buettner hopes that by getting to listen to immediately from the individuals who stay and breathe the ideas of longevity on a day-to-day foundation, those that watch the collection will higher perceive how and why they stay so lengthy, and really feel impressed to undertake related behaviors. “We discovered individuals within the Blue Zones, and we distilled the science of why they’re making it to 100,” says Buettner. However the energy of the present is actually in its storytelling round that science. “One of the best ways to any individual’s mind is thru their coronary heart and by telling lovely tales that transfer them emotionally,” he provides.

Why Singapore is deemed a “Blue Zone 2.0” within the new Reside to 100 documentary collection

In initially figuring out every of the 5 Blue Zones, Buettner discovered that they have been locations the place longevity-boosting habits have been handed down by means of generations and ingrained within the native tradition—locations the place the atmosphere naturally nudges the individuals who stay there towards the actions that promote an extended life. “The large perception with the Blue Zones has been that longevity ensues over time,” says Buettner. “It is not one thing it’s important to attempt to persuade individuals to pursue; slightly, it occurs the place the healthiest alternative is the simplest alternative.”

However within the collection, Buettner reveals that Singapore has turn into a long life sizzling spot in its personal proper by very completely different means—by means of proactive coverage adjustments and funding in infrastructure that helps a wholesome life-style. “It is not the identical class as the unique Blue Zones, however what’s distinctive about [Singapore] is that they engineered a Blue Zone by shaping their atmosphere so the wholesome alternative was not solely simple, however in some instances unavoidable,” says Buettner, who first started investigating Singapore in his reporting for a 2017 Nationwide Geographic story about happiness.

For a pair examples, Buettner factors out that Singapore’s authorities has carried out restrictions on sugary drinks like soda and gives subsidies to meals companies for together with nutritious substances like complete grains on their menus.

Singapore additionally has common well being care, the standard of which has been deemed the perfect in Asia by the Worldwide Commerce Administration. Medical amenities are additionally typically integrated proper into housing complexes, lots of that are designed to recreate a kampung, or “village” in Malay, the place individuals can simply co-mingle—one other longevity-boosting dynamic Buettner explores within the collection. The federal government additionally gives credit of as much as $30,000 Singapore {dollars} (about $22,000) to individuals shopping for properties with or close to their mother and father or married kids to encourage familial help.

Transportation and leisure infrastructure in Singapore has solely added to its longevity energy: Extensively accessible and cheap public transit facilitates loads of on a regular basis strolling, and plenty of leisure parks—lots of which supply government-sponsored train lessons—make it simple and nice to spend ample time shifting your physique in recent air, says Buettner.

Taken collectively, these government-directed applications and insurance policies show {that a} Blue Zone is feasible to engineer from scratch, says Buettner, which has far-reaching implications for making longevity accessible to extra individuals.

2 different key takeaways from Reside to 100: Secrets and techniques of the Blue Zones

1. Romantic partnership is a recurrent characteristic among the many longest-living individuals

Buettner has lengthy espoused sturdy social ties as a key tenet of Blue Zones residing—however in filming the collection, he discovered that romance, specifically, could also be an particularly essential piece of that. “Visiting Ikaria this time, I had a extremely massive epiphany round love,” Buettner narrates within the collection. “The ability of blissful, dedicated partnerships could seem apparent, however we are able to’t underestimate how one of these connection can result in an extended, extra fulfilled life.”

One significantly touching vignette within the documentary collection highlights Panagiotis Kouloulias (96) and Aleka Mazari (81), a pair residing in Ikaria. These two discovered love later in life, when Kouloulias was a 73-year-old widower. “When my first spouse handed away, I had misplaced my urge for food to stay,” says Kouloulias within the collection. “I would not speak, I would not chuckle, I would not eat… I fell into items, and [Mazari] introduced me again.”

Kouloulias and Mazari’s relationships demonstrates the facility of a romantic partnership to not solely increase your happiness, but in addition, to encourage you to partake in wholesome habits, says Buettner. Analysis has proven that we are inclined to mirror the approach to life behaviors of our companions, so if we’re romantically concerned with somebody who’s partaking in longevity-boosting actions all day lengthy, there’s additionally extra of an opportunity we are going to, too.

2. A easy snack can have a huge impact in your longevity

Although Buettner recognized a plant-based weight-reduction plan as one of many authentic 9 pillars of the Blue Zones, he is discovered within the years since that one frequent piece of that weight-reduction plan might play an outsize function in longevity—and that is nuts, specifically walnuts. Certainly, an observational examine printed in 2021 that assessed mortality in almost 100,000 individuals over the course of 20 years discovered that greater walnut consumption was related to higher life expectancy, seemingly due to the nut’s excessive focus of omega-3 fatty acids.

Within the collection, nuts get their highlight when Buettner visits Loma Linda, the place many residents are members of the Seventh-day Adventist religion and thus eat a plant-based weight-reduction plan for non secular causes—which undoubtedly contributes to their longevity. In exploring the diets of locals within the episode, Buettner uncovers that “it is not simply the absence of meat, however the common presence of complete grains, legumes, fruits, greens, and nuts [that makes a difference].”

On nuts specifically, Buettner emphasizes the significance of consuming a handful daily to up your possibilities of residing an extended life. And if walnuts aren’t your factor, know that there are well being advantages to be gleaned from every kind of nuts, that are wealthy in protein and wholesome fat.

  1. Liu, Xiaoran, et al. “Affiliation of Walnut Consumption with Whole and Trigger-Particular Mortality and Life Expectancy in U.S. Adults.” Vitamins, vol. 13, no. 8, Aug. 2021, p. 2699. Crossref,
  2. Nakaya, Naoki et al. “Spousal similarities in cardiometabolic danger elements: A cross-sectional comparability between Dutch and Japanese information from two giant biobank research.” Atherosclerosis vol. 334 (2021): 85-92. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2021.08.037

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