Where the ‘longest living people’ in the world stay – British expats can ‘walk to work’

Simon Calder outlines five tips for booking a staycation online

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Dan discovered five places in the world where people live the longest and are healthiest. Named Blue Zones, the five areas are some of the healthiest places in the world.

The five Blue Zones are Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Ikaria in Greece and Loma Linda in California.

Dan told Express.co.uk: “There isn’t some unknown mystical power in these areas. The longest living people in the world didn’t decide they wanted to live a long time.

“They simply live in environments where the healthy choice is not the easy choice. You can walk to work, the grocery store and friends’ houses.

“Fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available. The communities are set up for gathering and connecting.

“They have strong family bonds.”

One of the closest Blue Zones to Britons is Sardinia in Italy. The second largest island in the Mediterranean, it’s one of Europe’s most popular destinations.

With a rugged landscape dotted with Bronze Age stone ruins, the island also boasts crystal clear waters.

Dan said: “Walking five miles or more a day as Sardinian shepherds do provides all the cardiovascular benefits you might expect, and also has a positive effect on muscle and bone metabolism without the joint-pounding of running marathons or triathlons.”

He added: “The classic Sardinian diet consists of whole-grain bread, beans, garden vegetables, fruits, and in some parts of the island, mastic oil.”

Mastic can help reduce stomach acid as well as freshen the breath and is made from resin of the mastic tree.

Dan said: “Sardinians drink wine moderately. Cannonau wine has two or three times the level of artery-scrubbing flavonoids as other wines.

“Moderate wine consumption may help explain the lower levels of stress among men.”

However, Dan said even the Blue Zones are being affected by the pressures of the modern world.

He told Express.co.uk: “Unfortunately, due to the Western diet and practices, most places in the world are going in the opposite direction, including the original blue zones.

“Modern society has been set up for convenience. You can jump in your car and go get fast food, which is much easier than getting healthy fresh produce.

“Communities favour cars instead of pedestrians. Candy and soda corporations run environments.

“We have also replaced face-to-face gatherings with Facebook and can do almost everything around our home with the push of a button.

“These are great advances in technology but they set up our environments which make the unhealthy choice the easy choice.”

If Britons want to try to emulate the Sardinian lifestyle at home, Dan said they should try to make some changes including eating more fruits or trying a standing desk at work.

He’s also in the process of looking into new Blue Zones to find more important lessons on healthy living.

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