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What the only Blue Zone in the U.S. does for longevity

Of the five blue zones in the world — areas with the longest-lived people and the highest life expectancies — only one is in the U.S.

Loma Linda, Calif., the only blue zone in America, is the home of a Seventh-day Adventist community of over 9,000 people. Adventists in Loma Linda tend to live up to 10 years longer than the average American.

At 84, Dr. Loida Medina often plays pickleball for three hours straight with her friends who are also in their 80s. As residents of Loma Linda and Seventh-day Adventists, Medina and her loved ones consider staying active to be extremely significant for living a longer, more fulfilled life.

“See, longevity is exercise and community,” Medina said in the new Netflix series, “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones.”

“We call each other like we’re high school kids, you know? ‘Hey, come and play with us.'”

DON’T MISS: 4 things the world’s longest-living people—residents of ‘Blue Zones’ like Okinawa and Sardinia—do to stay healthy and happy

The 5 pillars that ‘lead to godliness’

There are a few pillars of behaviors that Seventh-day Adventists “believe lead to godliness,” said longevity researcher Dan Buettner in his recent Netflix docu-series.

  1. Staying physically active
  2. Volunteering
  3. Nutrition
  4. Faith
  5. Community

When it comes to nutrition, Medina used to eat meat and fish, but experienced problems with her cholesterol and shifted to vegetarianism. Her plant-based diet aligns with the vision of the Adventist Church founders. Loma Linda started their own vegetarian food company in 1905.

Volunteering also rings true to the nature of Adventists in Loma Linda. And generally speaking, “people who volunteer have better memories [and] better social connections. They even report higher levels of happiness,” Buettner said in the Netflix special.

What the Adventist Health Study teaches us about longevity

The Loma Linda community was the focus of a study in 1974 that aimed to determine which behaviors corresponded with living a long, healthy life.

The Adventist Health Study concluded that these five practices increased people’s chances of living to 90:

  1. Managing stress levels
  2. Getting great sleep
  3. Eating healthy
  4. Exercising often: Strength training twice a week and aerobic exercise three times a week, even if for just 10 minutes a day.
  5. Refraining from smoking

Subjects of the study typically stick to a meal plan that’s similar to a Mediterranean diet which prioritizes whole foods, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables. They also avoid excessive red meat.

Nearly 40% of Adventists in the study were either vegetarian or vegan.

Community seems to lie at the center of all of the blue zones’ core values as well, and Loma Linda is no different.

“When you know that somebody needs you, and wants you to be in their life, that gives you longevity,” Medina said during the docu-series. “Something to live for.”

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https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/26/loma-linda-ca-what-the-only-blue-zone-in-the-us-does-for-longevity.html What the only Blue Zone in the U.S. does for longevity

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