It is commonly known that the Nicoya region of the pacific coast has been famously termed a blue zone, meaning that there are considerably more centenarians here than the rest of the world. The answers to longevity are deeper than living near sandy beaches and tropical forests. Along with Nicoya, other locations like Loma Linda, California; Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy, and Okinawa, Japan have customs and lifestyles that help create an environment where people can live healthier, longer.

These lifestyles that promote longevity are largely free from stress. It has been observed that people living in the Nicoya region have longer telomeres (the genetic biomarkers that are considered good indicators of aging), and some scientists have argued that telomere length is a proxy for stress and what has been discovered is that people in Nicoya are less stressed and have been less stressed throughout their lives, and that helps in higher longevity. In short the longer the telomere, the longer the life.

Apart from stress there are other factors that can contribute to longevity like eating a mostly plant based diet, living in a community where every time you go to work, church or a friend’s house you walk. This constant physical activity not only keeps the metabolism at a higher rate but also allows for a more interactive lifestyle with the local community and a sense of belonging.

But life is about quality as well as quantity. While we all can’t live past 100 we can all learn how to live a lot longer and happier if we take to heart the lessons of those who live the longest. Pura Vida!