'Blue Zones' Harbor Key to Long Life

Authors find world's oldest populations and keys to longevity
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Jun 8, 2008 3:37 PM CDT
Kaku Yamanaka, Japan's oldest person, is all smiles in this undated photo. Yamanaka has died of old age in central Japan, officials said Saturday, April 5, 2008. She was 113.    (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – It's not quite the Fountain of Youth, but one author spent 5 years exploring the world's "blue zones," or areas which sport unusual concentrations of long-lived people. In his new book, Dan Buettner details some keys to happy old age—including creating an environment that fosters physical activity, and having a sense of purpose.

But eating nuts five times a week can add a couple of years, too. Buettner found one "cultural" blue zone in a California town with the highest concentration of Seventh Day Adventists anywhere; they eat a Biblically-inspired vegetarian diet and keep the Sabbath. Sardinia, Italy has the most male centenarians; one 104-year-old who dispensed advice all day "started his day with a glass of wine," Buettner told NPR.