The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner [Book Summary]


All through human history, a lot of people have searched for the proverbial fountain of youth and wished of immortality. Who knows, maybe we’ll really set it one of these days; however, till then we’ll need to satisfy ourselves with developing means of living longer. But how?

Studying the regions in the world where people live the longest looks like a reasonable first step. And by doing just that, we’ve already acquired a lot of knowledge of what adds to a long and healthy life.

As this book chapter will reveal to you, the crucial way to living longer is magic neither is rocket science. All you need to do to really increase your life span is make a few changes to your day-to-day agenda. Some of them, such as quitting and exercising more, are already well-known understanding. However, there are also other, less obvious means to live longer. This summary will reveal to you what they are.


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Chapter 1 – Blue Zones are the regions in the world where individuals reach the oldest and remain healthiest.


The world is occupied with exceptional civilizations and cultures, each with its own exceptional routines and traditions, all contributing to our global health and wellness. If you wish to live longer, it’s worth exploring Blue Zones, the regions in the world where people, thanks to their healthy routines, grow older than any other people elsewhere.

One of the first regions to get attention for its oddly long-living and healthy people was the Italian island of Sardinia. Research conducted in 2011 revealed that, averagely, approximately one in 600 people in the mountainous Barbagia part of Sardinia live up to the age of 100, different to the one in 4,000 in the United States.

The Sardinians, as well as people in other Blue Zones, have so many things to teach us about how to live a long life – if we’re ready to listen.

As you will learn, it’s not your genes; however, your way of life that has the most important influence on your lifespan. We notice proof of this in a Danish study on more than 2,500 twins; it showed that, out of all the reasons leading to longevity, our genes contribute to just approximately 25%.

The fact about living a longer life is that there are no lifestyle changes or magic pills that will halt the aging process. You will continuously age, daily, regardless of what. But, the aging process can be quicken or reduced, and the people in Blue Zones have proven effective methods of slowing down the process. 



Ultimately, the appropriate lifestyle may provide you a more decade of quality life. Fascinatingly, centenarians are the fastest-growing global age demographics, particularly in the West.

And getting to be more than 100 years isn’t about taking the accurate vitamin supplements or planning out your physical activities. Instead, it’s about a more natural lifestyle, moving around naturally and consuming more fruits and vegetables. All of this becomes apparent in observing the world’s Blue Zones.


Chapter 2 – The food and drink you take have an important effect on how long you’ll live.


All of us have heard the saying that says “You are what you eat.” Well, that commonplace is truer than you might assume.

Let’s begin with the liquids. Be certain to drink plenty of water – and take some red wine occasionally.

The only Blue Zone in the United States is the Blue Zone of Loma Linda which is a settlement of Seventh-Day Adventists outside Los Angeles, California; and it reveals just how essential it is to drink plenty water. Rather than other beverages, they drink water – five to six glasses daily. Due to that, the rate of heart diseases in this region is very low, and their life expectancy is really higher.

However, you don’t have to abide by just water to live longer. Some red wine is beneficial as well. The first region to be known as a Blue Zone, the mountainous Barbagia region on the Italian island of Sardinia, brags a high life expectancy for men. And their day to day food is eaten with some red wine all the time.

Wine’s secret is in its flavonoids, which can also be seen in dark chocolate or brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids decrease the risk of certain cancers and of heart disease, therefore, if you do drink, take the red wine.



Definitely, you can’t live on just the drink only. You need to also eat, and what you eat has a huge influence on how long you’ll live.

The majority of the people in Blue Zones have low-calorie diets, normally vegetarian or vegan. Their core meal is either breakfast or lunch; dinner is regularly light.

In the Japanese Blue Zone of Okinawa, they have a special viewpoint regarding food: they purposefully curb the calorie consumption and keep in mind to eat just until they are 80% full. This reduces the body’s metabolism, which assists decrease the number of harmful oxidants in the body.


Chapter 3 – Living longer entails putting your family first and you need to have a clear purpose to keep living.


However, living longer isn’t entirely about what you eat. Also, it is about how you exercise your mind too. You need to have a driving force and that is a purpose!

Evidence revealed that more Americans die during their first year of retirement than in the last year of work. This statistic proposes that living on without having a purpose can be detrimental to your health. You need to have something that drives you to get out of bed each morning.

For instance, in the Costa Rican Blue Zone of the Nicoya peninsula, everybody feels that they possess a plan de Vida which is a plan for their life. Essentially, they don’t stop living even when they reach of 60, or 66, or 70 or at any age – their life has a nonstop path. And this has a positive outcome: by making themselves really busy, they don’t get into a fight with each other– there’s basically no time for that.

However, keeping busy isn’t only a way to an end. Every one of them likes to work because the fruit of their labor feeds their families. To them, having a happy and healthy family is the main purpose.

In every Blue Zones that have been known so far, the family has a special duty, and every one of the centenarians put their families first.



In Sardinia, the most essential thing is to live together with your family. Of the inhabitants who live to 100, 95% are able to do that just because they have a daughter or granddaughter to care for them. And the centenarians give back in this relationship by giving love, childcare, drive and frequently even financial assistance.

The family doesn’t just work as a support network; also, there is an association between respecting elders and longevity. It is just when elders are required to offer assistance do they feel needed and have a clear purpose.


Chapter 4 – You’ll live more if you belong to a community.


The Blue Zones of the world are usually little and working communities. However, what is the reason why this social structure adds to a long life?

You understood in the previous chapter on how essential a family support network is for Blue Zones. Also, the wider community offers a sense of belonging – a cause to continue.

In Okinawa, this is formalized in the system of Moai. Initially, this entailed meeting all the time for shared goals, like the harvest or the arrangement of local festivities. Presently, it’s more like a ritualized vehicle for companionship. The strong community offers a purpose for the Okinawans, which also decreases stress as well.

Also, there is Ikaria which is an island in Greece. In this Blue Zone, when goods are remaining from a religious or cultural holiday, these food are provided to the poor as a means of instilling a sense of community.

Also, in Sardinia men grow older than in most other regions because they put the family business into the hands’ women in order for them to come together as a community.

This sense of community is frequently attached to some type of spirituality.

For instance, the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda keep a diet according to religious tenets– for instance, they don’t drink caffeine, and they also disapprove of smoking. Their culture of longevity originates from religious belief.



Keeping the Sabbath is part of their belief, and this is the time they get physical exercise and meet with family, friends as well as other community members. By basically obeying their beliefs, they’ve discovered a means to live longer.

Likewise, spirituality in Okinawa focuses on living in the present and leaving the past untouched. All previous adversities are seen as important to enjoy the moment; therefore, the populace doesn’t experience the stress and anxiety of lamenting past choices. In turn, they have longer lives.

Spirituality doesn’t need to be a determined religious belief. It could also be a set of common routines that comprises physical activities and methods to minimize stress.


Chapter 5 – Physical activity and stress reduction have to be part of your day-to-day routines if you desire to live longer.


We’ve used a lot of time learning about the things you have to do to increase your lifetime. In this last blink, we’ll explore something that you need to completely avoid: stress.

Every of  Blue Zones uses approaches to minimize stress, each of them is different. For instance, in Sardinia stress is maintained by a sense of community and a good sense of humor. People don’t take each other really seriously there, and everyone can all enjoy a hearty laugh at their own expense.

In Loma Linda, the Sabbath has the special purpose of keeping stress to a minimum. The Sabbath is a chance to create time for others and for family, to give back and to also laugh. Laughter is really healthy; it reduces the risk of heart attacks and reduces blood pressure. Also, it relaxing and a good means to defeat stress.

Another great stress reducer is sex.

In the Costa Rican Blue Zone, people have really liberal outlooks toward sex, and a lot of people gave birth to children out of wedlock. This sexual liberation allows them to more relaxed and assists them to keep stress levels low.

Apart from cultural disposition, physical activity provides a great way of reducing stress. Not in the sense of gym training; however, as a normal part of your daily life.



In Sardinia, the majority of centenarians were either or are shepherds, and their job needs them to walk approximately six miles every day.

In Loma Linda, they do different types of activity all through the day – things such as walking, swimming, and hiking, all of which exercise the body in various means.

This natural physical activity has the added advantage of increased exposure to the sun. Exposure to the sun gives vitamin D, which functions against different kinds of cancer and diabetes. This is the reason why there are a lot of healthier and more independent centenarians in Okinawa than in the United States or Europe – they basically live on the sunnier part of the world!


The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner Book Review


A lot of people desire that they could live for life. Unfortunately, they can’t live forever. However, they can live to be more than 100 years, given that they take measures to improve healthy physical, spiritual and social routines.


Don’t be a Scrooge!

Various studies in the Blue Zones demonstrate that people who are more likable have a tendency to have bigger social networks, more regular visitors and, when they’re older, more caregivers.


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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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