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Unlock Longevity: Secrets from the World’s Healthiest Regions

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The world is filled with wonders, but none quite as intriguing as the five ‘Blue Zones’ – regions where people statistically live longer than anywhere else. These zones, which include Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California, are all relatively small, remote, and close to the ocean. Despite their cultural differences, the inhabitants of these regions share a common trait: a high likelihood of living into their 90s and beyond, often avoiding heart disease and even cancer.

So, what’s the secret to their longevity? We turned to Dan Buettner, the author, educator, and explorer who discovered and named the Blue Zones, to learn more about these regions and their residents.

Interestingly, while the cuisines of these regions may vary, they share common core ingredients. “In all five places, the common denominators include mostly a plant-based diet,” Buettner revealed. “There’s five pillars to every Blue Zone diet: whole grains, greens, tuberous (sweet potatoes or potatoes), nuts and beans. The most important one is beans. A cup of beans a day could add two to three years to your life.”

Buettner recommends a variety of beans for a full range of nutrients and suggests using dried beans when possible. Animal products like beef and cow dairy are not significant in these diets, though some sheep and goat’s milk is consumed. As for beverages, water and tea are the mainstays, with no more than two glasses of wine consumed daily.

But diet is just one piece of the puzzle. Buettner emphasizes that the magic of the Blue Zones lies in a “constellation of little things that add up.” Social activity, community, and a strong sense of purpose are also integral to the Blue Zone lifestyle.

“People [in Blue Zones] aren’t waking up in the morning rudderless. They’re driven by life meaning and purpose,” Buettner explained. “They’re investing in family, keeping their minds engaged and there’s no existential stress of being worthless in life like so many Americans. The option to be lonely shaves eight years off life expectancy here [in the U. S] but that does not exist in Blue Zones. You can’t walk outside your front door in these regions without bumping into somebody you know, and this is all so much more powerful than we think.”

The geographical location of these regions also plays a role. Three of the five Blue Zones are located in narrow, steep regions that didn’t always have access to industrial roads. This isolation not only protected these zones from globalization, but also fostered tight social connections and incorporated a lot of walking into daily routines.

“Walking is one of the best forms of exercise and you can do it without thinking about it,” Buettner said, encouraging people to rely less on cars and more on public transportation. He also suggested adopting a dog as a great way to ensure regular walks.

Ultimately, the secrets of the Blue Zones are simple: prioritize health and happiness, maintain a plant-based diet, stay socially active, and find purpose in life. As Buettner put it, “We’re all looking for magic dietary pills or serums or supplements, but you see none of that in the Blue Zones. It’s mostly small things driven by the right environment.”

To help incorporate Blue Zone values into our own lives, registered dietitian Suzanne Dixon shared a day of Blue Zone-style eating, which includes meals like oatmeal with blueberries and banana for breakfast, a bean burrito with sautéed vegetables for lunch, and sautéed salmon with a side of barley and sweet potato for dinner.

Dixon emphasized the importance of enjoying meals in good company, stating, “People eat to live, they don’t live to eat. Each eating opportunity is a time for connection with others, being with family and a time for gratitude for all of the good things in their lives. They take the time to savor food, enjoy company and slow down for a bit.”

So, while we may not all live in a Blue Zone, we can certainly learn from their lifestyle and incorporate their secrets to longevity into our own lives.

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Dereck Hough’s Wife Makes Radiant Return to Spotlight After Brain Surgery

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Derek Hough and his wife, Hayley Erbert, recently graced the red carpet together for the first time since Erbert’s emergency brain surgery. The couple was spotted at the Hulu on Disney+ launch event on April 5 in Los Angeles, looking radiant in matching pastel outfits. The event marked Erbert’s return to the public eye following a health scare in December 2023 that required her to undergo a craniectomy.

Erbert experienced a medical emergency during a performance when she suffered from bleeding in her skull. She was diagnosed with a cranial hematoma caused by a burst blood vessel, necessitating the removal of a portion of her skull. Since then, the couple has been open about her recovery journey, including her triumphant return to dance.

On the day of the Hulu event, the couple announced via social media that Erbert would be rejoining the “A Symphony of Dance” tour. In a video posted on Hough’s Instagram story, he expressed their excitement to be performing together again and thanked fans for their unwavering support during this challenging time. “We cannot wait to dance together again on stage and be back with all of our fans and thank them,” Hough shared. “Thank you all for the amazing support that you’ve shown during this time. We cannot wait and we’ll see you very, very soon.”

Erbert also took to Instagram to share her feelings about her journey to recovery and her return to dance. She described her healing process as “extraordinary” and expressed her gratitude to her medical team for prioritizing her health and safety. She concluded her post by expressing her excitement for fans to see the upcoming show, which she described as even more special after her recent health ordeal.

Hough first shared the news of Erbert’s hospitalization in December 2023, revealing that she had been rushed to the hospital after becoming disoriented during a performance. He later posted a video of the couple walking hand in hand, with Erbert wearing protective headgear. He expressed his gratitude for the support they received during this difficult time and acknowledged the fragility of life.

Erbert’s health scare was due to an intracranial hematoma, a condition where a blood vessel ruptures in the brain, causing blood to pool in the skull. This often occurs after a traumatic event, such as a car crash, fall, or accident. Following her craniectomy, Erbert underwent another surgery to replace the portion of her skull that was removed.

In February, the couple shared an emotional video on Instagram where Erbert opened up about her recovery process. She acknowledged the emotional and physical challenges she faced but emphasized her progress and gratitude for the support she received. “Life is so precious and, just spend time with the ones you love. Hold them close because you never know what can happen,” she advised.

Hough and Erbert’s journey through this health crisis has been marked by resilience, gratitude, and an outpouring of support from their community. Their return to the red carpet and the dance stage is a testament to their strength and the power of a supportive community.

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Boost Longevity: Embrace Holistic Health in Your Golden Years

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Today, individuals are enjoying longer and healthier lives, with many engaging in exciting activities and new hobbies well into their senior years. In fact, a significant 82% of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 describe their health as excellent, very good, or good. However, senior health and wellness extend beyond how one feels in the present. The choices made today significantly impact future health, with lifestyle choices being a key determinant of longevity. For instance, one study revealed that the absence of major lifestyle risk factors could extend men’s lives by 12 years and women’s lives by 14 years.

Regardless of your current health status, it’s never too late to prioritize your health and wellness. Aging often brings a renewed focus on well-being, with many seniors becoming more concerned about their health over the coming decades. This concern may be due to the effects of aging or the realization that there is now more time to focus on health and wellness, particularly for those no longer working or raising children.

Holistic health goes beyond taking the right medication, visiting the doctor, or lifting weights. It involves a comprehensive approach that considers your needs, goals, and feelings about your health. Embracing a wellness approach empowers you to understand your body better and take control of your health.

Holistic health and wellness are crucial for seniors, and adopting a few simple lifestyle changes can set you on the path to a lifetime of good health. Lifestyle is a significant predictor of longevity, and it’s never too late to start making healthier choices. Even small changes, such as incorporating just 11 minutes of exercise into your daily routine, can make a significant difference in your life expectancy.

Holistic health and wellness encompass various aspects, including finding new ways to enjoy life. Happiness plays a crucial role in health and can make it easier to maintain healthy lifestyle choices. Even with chronic health conditions or disabilities, you can still embrace holistic wellness, which can lead to a reduction in symptoms like pain, insomnia, and stress, and lower the risk of developing health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Holistic health and wellness for seniors is not about giving up everything you enjoy; it’s about finding opportunities to optimize health. Exercise, for instance, increases the production of endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals. Becoming more active can help you feel better right away, especially as the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle become more apparent with age.

Living healthier involves integrating healthy decisions into daily life, forming better habits, and doing things that feel good to your body and mind. Some tips to help you on this journey include eliminating unhealthy habits like smoking, cultivating a feeling of safety and security, making a balanced diet part of your daily life, staying socially engaged and active, keeping your mind active, giving back to your community, continuously improving yourself and your relationships, getting stress under control, and staying physically active.

Contrary to popular belief, healthy living doesn’t have to be unpleasant. Fitness can be fun, healthy food doesn’t have to be bland, and a wellness-oriented lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, enjoying life is beneficial for mental and physical health and can inspire you to continue making healthy choices.

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Madonna’s Miraculous Recovery: From ICU to Stage in Two Months

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Last year, fans of the iconic pop star Madonna were left worried when a health crisis landed her in the ICU. The singer’s manager, Guy Oseary, disclosed on Instagram that Madonna was battling a “serious bacterial infection”. This health scare forced her to halt all her activities, including her ongoing “Celebration” tour. Fortunately, the “Like a Prayer” singer made a full recovery and resumed her tour a few months later in October 2023.

Madonna has recently opened up about her “near-death experience” and a profound conversation she believes she had with God.

During her first show at the Kia Forum arena in Los Angeles, Madonna shared the intensity of her health scare. She has faced numerous challenges in her life, including multiple injuries, “fallen off a lot of horses and broken a lot of bones” and even has a titanium hip.

“I mean, the list goes on and on, but nothing can stop me,” the pop star declared. She then delved into her recent frightening experience and the induced coma she was in for four days. Madonna revealed that the first word she uttered after waking up from the coma was “no.” According to her, this was in response to a question she heard God ask her while she was unconscious.

“I’m pretty sure that God was saying to me, ‘Do you wanna come with us? You wanna come with me? You wanna go this way?’ And I said, ‘No. No. No!'” Madonna shared on stage.

She expressed gratitude to her physician, David Agus, MD, who she said tolerated “so many entertaining phone calls.”

“When I was sick this summer and I literally couldn’t walk from my bed to the toilet, I would call him every other day and ask him why I didn’t have any energy. ‘When was my energy gonna come back? When was I gonna feel myself again? When could I go back on tour again?’ When, when, when, when, when, when, when?” Madonna recounted. “And all he would say was, ‘Go outside in the sun.'”

She followed Agus’ advice to soak up some vitamin D, which he assured her would help her kidneys function.

“I hate the sun, but I did it anyways and it was so hard for me to walk from my house to the backyard and sit in the sun,” Madonna confessed. “I know that sounds insane, but it was difficult and I didn’t know when I could get up again and when I could be myself again and when I would have my energy back. It was a strange thing to finally not feel like I was in control. And that was my lesson to let go.”

Madonna expressed her gratitude to everyone who cared for her during her illness. She was adamant about getting back on tour, even while still in the hospital. When Oseary asked when she planned to return to the stage, she boldly declared two months.

“I swear to God, I just said it. And sometimes you just gotta say [expletive], put that in the universe, and it happens,” she told the audience.

She thanked her children for their support, helping her to “pull through,” and expressed her determination not to let them or her fans down.

“I just set a date and that date became a reality,” the pop legend said. “And I didn’t wanna disappoint my fans. I never do.”

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