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Creating your ‘Blue Zone’

by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 11th, 2015

Creating your ‘Blue Zone’

Ever since I came back from Costa Rica last year, I have been fascinated by the ‘blue zones’. When my sister planned the trip, we did not realize that the area where we were visiting was one of five places considered a blue zone. Blue zones are areas in the world where people live longer lives. They have fewer diseases and are active well into their 90s. The blue zones in the world include Sardinia-Italy, Okinawa-Japan, Loma Linda-California, Icaria-Greece and Nicoya Peninsula-Costa Rica

I wanted to learn more about the blue zones so I read Dan Buettner’s book, The Blue Zones, Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.  He and his team visited these countries and interviewed many of the individual living in these areas.  Mr. Buettner was able to compile a list of what they had in common. The last chapter of his book describes ways that we can create our own blue zones following the lessons learned. It is never too late to incorporate these practices into our lives.

Lessons learned include:

Move Naturally – Be active without having to think about it

Hara Hachi Bu – painlessly cut calories by 20%

Plant Slant – Avoid meat or processed foods

Grapes of Life – Drink red wine (in moderation)

Purpose Now – Take time to see the big picture

Downshift – Take time to relieve stress

Belong – Participate in a spiritual community

Loved Ones First –   Make family a priority

Right Tribe – Be surrounded by those who share the Blue Zone values

This week I want to explore what it means to move naturally. When people think of exercise, they think of going to the gym. If you love the gym, go to the gym. If you hate the gym find something else to do. There are plenty of opportunities in our lives to move. There are everyday things that we can do- Use the stairs at work, park furthest from the entrance way anywhere we go, walk to your destination if it is less than a mile, learn the latest line dance and dance before you hop into the shower, hula hoop,  jump rope,  walk in place while watching television at least during commercial time, give up the remote control, iron more, plant a garden- all you have to do is move.

3 Responses to “Creating your ‘Blue Zone’”

  1. Thank you for your message today! I will begin to focus on changing old habits to healthier living habits… I may not live in one of the above mention blue zones.. but I can create an attitude of blue zone living in my home.

    • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

      Altheda, thanks for your comment. It is important for all us to learn from the lessons regardless of where we live. We can all work to create blue zones for us and our loved ones.

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The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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