Blue Zones are where people live significantly longer lives. There are longevity hotspots in Japan, Italia, Greece, Costa Rica and even in California. Some of the factors contributing to longer lives in these areas include:
- Plant based diet
- The absence of smoking
- Family is put ahead of everything
- A socially active population
- Physical activity is part of life
- The consumption of legumes
- Community health programs
- Healthy foods and food services
- Consumer goods
- Educational resources
- Real estate developments
The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica is one such Blue Zone, the largest peninsula in the country and famous for its lovely beaches. Nicoya is one of the oldest settlements in the country, combining the new with the ancient lifestyle and practices of its residents.
You’ll find many nature reserves and wildlife refuges like Romelia, the Diria National Park, Cabo Blanco, and Camaronal. Lying just south of the border of Nicaragua on the Pacific coast, it could only be reached by ferry until the Taiwan Friendship bridge was built in 2003.
Costa Rica only spends a fraction of what the United States does on health care but the people live longer and enjoy healthier lives than do typical Americans. Lowest cancer rates in the country. So why do people live longer here?
One contributing factor to longer, healthier lives is that they have a sense of purpose. Family is everything to this society and elders are respected and valued as assets to the family. Their wisdom is sought and their help in everyday tasks is welcomed and encouraged.
Faith is another part of the recipe for longevity; people here have less stress and more solid feelings of well-being because they believe that God will care for them.
Nicoyans who prefer to practice the traditional lifestyle get a good 8 hours of sleep every night since they choose to live without electricity. Undistracted by television, radio, or electronic gadgets, they finish their workday by socializing with family and friends then go to bed shortly after darkness falls. There are no processed foods and since there is no refrigeration, all the food that is eaten is fresh.
The typical diet consists of fresh fruits from the trees and staples from their gardens that include corn, beans, and rice. The people eat their main meal in the morning followed by smaller meals during the day with dinner being fairly sparse.
The hard water they drink is rich in calcium and magnesium, minerals that are essential for bone and muscle strength.
The sun plays a large role in the life of the typical Nicoyan. They work and play in the sun all day, yet there are very few documented cases of skin cancer–or any types of cancer!
This is not to say that you must live without modern conveniences on the Nicoya Peninsula. Civilization came knocking some time ago and has carved out a niche on the peninsula, allowing people to live with modern comforts while taking advantage of the longevity-inducing culture and lifestyle.
You can live in beautiful, natural isolation and still be close to all the amenities of a modern city or you can choose to live in a city or small town. If you have ever considered moving to a Blue Zone to improve your longevity and enjoyment of life, the Nicoya Peninsula would be an excellent choice.
Written by Scott Oliver, author of 1: How To Buy Costa Rica Real Estate Without Losing Your Camisa, 2: Costa Rica’s Guide To Making Money Offshore and 3. ¿Cómo Comprar Bienes Raices en Costa Rica, Sin Perder Su Camisa?
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