5 Best Mediterranean Lifestyle Tips for a Longer, Healthier Life
Aging is a natural process in this journey we call "life." As you grow older, you add more wisdom, knowledge, and beautiful experiences to your soup pot; you may also deal with roadblocks and hardships along the way. There are certain things you can't control in life, but there are many you can. Take your daily habits, for instance. Your lifestyle choices hold the key to how long you may live. So if you want to add more happy, healthy years to your life, consider checking out the below Mediterranean lifestyle tips to live longer.
If you haven't heard about the "Blue Zones" and Dan Buettner quite yet, it's about time you did. Author, National Geographic Explorer, and adventurer Dan Buettner fueled his passion to uncover the world's "Blue Zones" when he was learning about longevity in Okinawa, Japan. From there, he traveled to other parts of the globe where individuals reportedly led long, healthy lives.
Buettner also established the "Power 9," which are common lifestyle habits followed by individuals residing in the Blue Zones. Many of these habits run parallel to the Mediterranean diet and way of life, as a couple of the Blue Zones are located in the Mediterranean (Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy). This seems quite fitting, considering research conducted by La Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that individuals who follow the Mediterranean lifestyle can experience a decreased risk of death from cancer or any cause.
If you're already hooked, keep reading to learn all about the below Mediterranean lifestyle tips to live longer. And when you're finished, don't miss The #1 Exercise for a Longer Life, Doctor & Longevity Expert Says.
Follow the Mediterranean Diet.
You've likely heard about the hype encompassing the Mediterranean Diet—and it's there for good reason. Research dubs the MedDiet the "gold standard in preventive medicine," as it's been shown to prevent breast cancer, cognitive decline, stroke, heart failure, certain cancers, and mortality. Needless to say, if you want to live longer and healthier, consider trying the Mediterranean Diet.
When heading to the store on your next grocery run, be sure to stock up on plenty of fish, plant-based foods (fruits, veggies, legumes), healthy fats, poultry, olive oil, and certain dairy products (yogurt and unprocessed cheese). Stay away from high-sugar foods, processed oils, saturated fats, sodium, and a high amount of red meat. In fact, individuals in the Blue Zones share this commonality: They favor plant items such as beans and only eat meat in moderation, just a few times a month.
Enjoy wine moderately.
Now this is a tip we can get behind! Having a glass of wine with a meal is something individuals in the Blue Zones are strong advocates of. You may not have thought about it this way before, but sipping on a glass of pinot noir or chardonnay may help you enjoy your meal more and truly savor this precious time spent with loved ones.
According to the Blue Zones, the tip is to drink one to two glasses each day when you're eating a meal and/or hanging out with friends or family. Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health even linked light wine consumption to five extra years of life. So pour yourself a glass, and enjoy.
Find more ways to move in your daily life.
Finding hobbies that promote movement in everyday life is another parallel between the Blue Zones Power 9 and the Mediterranean lifestyle. You don't need to head to the gym to spend hours on the treadmill or lift heavy weights in order to reap the rewards of this tip. (Although if that's your thing, kudos to you!) All you really need is to find ways to incorporate more movement naturally into your routine. If you love gardening, for example, that's a great way to get active while channeling one of your passions.
Establish "your people."
Life can be hard at times. Surrounding yourself with a solid group of genuine individuals can make all the difference in the world—and it's something people in the Blue Zones have down pat. Centenarians from the Blue Zones understand the importance of prioritizing their loved ones, such as living close to family and caring for elderly parents and grandparents. They also make a commitment to a lifelong partner and show their children endless love.
Having people in your life who care about you and would do anything for you—and vice versa—can help you feel the most beautiful sense of belonging and avoid loneliness. In fact, research shows that establishing strong relationships with loved ones has a substantial impact on your well-being. Research has also linked divorce to a heightened risk of heart disease later on in life.
Carve out ample time to rest and recover.
Just as much as you should prioritize your social and active time, it's just as necessary to carve out time to rest and recover. Research from the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session Together With the World Congress of Cardiology reveals that a restful night's sleep can be incredibly beneficial to your heart and total-body health. It can even help you live longer.
So it's important to establish wellness habits that promote rest, such as meditation, breathing exercises, journaling in the sun, and sound bathing. In addition, make sure your sleep environment is cold and dark, and you power down any blue light devices long before you hit the sheets.
- Source: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/adherence-to-a-mediterranean-lifestyle-associated-with-lower-risk-of-all-cause-and-cancer-mortality/
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5902736/
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954612/
- Source: https://www.acc.org/About-ACC/Press-Releases/2023/02/22/21/35/Getting-Good-Sleep-Could-Add-Years-to-Your-Life