Dan Buettner has studied five places around the world where residents are famed for their longevity: Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece, and Loma Linda in California and Sardinia in Italy.
People living in these so-called “blue zones” have certain factors in common – social support networks, daily exercise habits and a plant-based diet, for starters. But they share another unexpected commonality. In each community, people are gardening well into old age – their 80s, 90s and beyond.
Could nurturing your green thumb help you live to 100?
“When you eat vegetables that you’ve grown yourself, it changes everything – they taste more delicious, and it really makes a difference in the health qualities (vitamins, minerals, phytoactive compounds etc.) of the food itself,” says Willcox. Buettner, the “blue zones” expert, recommends a diet of “90% plants, especially greens and beans”, and points out a simple truth: gardeners are more likely to plant what they want to eat.
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