Secrets of longevity from residents of America’s only green city

As Friday night passed, Ernie Medina Jr. disconnect.

Since she was a child in her hometown of Loma Linda, California, Medina has put away her textbooks, turned off the TV, and joined the Sabbath, singing with him. community—and, over the next 24 hours, he connected with his neighbors.

On Saturdays, Medina usually attends another church service, volunteers with the community, or participates in an outdoor activity with five close-knit families and their children. Families go mountain biking, enjoy the beach, go for a nature walk, or play an outdoor game before enjoying a potluck dinner together and worship at sunset.

“It gives us time to spend with family and friends, both in the worship setting and just for fun,” he says. Luck. “What a great stress reliever to be able to just say, ‘okay, I’ll take a break every week.’ It’s like a little vacation every week.”

Medina’s lifestyle, and the preferences of friends and family, is part of the fabric of his broader community—and one of the reasons why Loma Linda is the only American green zone, leading the country in life expectancy. Social connection sets the framework for living healthier and longer, like loneliness put older adults at risk for chronic diseases.

How Loma Linda Became America’s Only Green Zone

Dan Buettner, founder of Blue Zones LLC and Loma Linda researcher, calls the city a “longevity oasis,” in his 2008 book, Blue zone.

“Part of the human condition is stress, haste and anxiety,” he said. Luck. “[But in Loma, Linda] they have what they call a sanctuary in time where they focus on their family for 24 hours.

Located in the sunny suburb of San Bernardino, California, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, Loma Linda—roughly translated as “Beautiful Hill” — home to approximately 25,000 residents. The city’s strong health system has also been ranked top in the nation, classified as “High performance” in 22 types of health care last year with more than 900 city residents working as doctor.

And home to one of the largest Adventist communities in the world, the faith of many Loma Linda residents promotes a healthy lifestyle. Adventists prioritize community and worship, along with lifestyle regimens like getting outdoors, exercising, eating plant-based meals, and managing stress. As a result, residents of Loma Linda live to 10 years later than the average American, according to research on blue zones.

Loma Linda resident Dr Ellsworth Wareham, who worked as a cardiothoracic surgeon until the age of 95, is the exact model of this lifestyle. While working in healthcare, he also prioritizes getting out, mowing and going vegan, he shared in a blog post. interview posted on the official Blue Zones website. Wareham dies at the age of 104, leaving a legacy”a vibrant and active centenarian.” Many centenarians have also laid the foundation for generations and remain an integral part of the city’s history.

But Medina will be the first to admit that Loma Linda doesn’t stand out for its attractions.

“If you go through here and come here, you’ll say ‘Oh, is this the green zone?’ I mean, there’s nothing super special about it,” he said, noting that the houses mostly take up nearly eight square miles of the city.

While other green zone cities like Icaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy tops the list and is known for its aesthetic, walkable landscapes and rich food that matches the Mediterranean. DietLoma Linda’s choices have less to do with the city itself.

Living habits of residents in the green areas of America

A study of 96,000 Adventists aged 30 to 112 from across the US and Canadian states helped explain how Loma Linda won the green zone stamp. About 50% of the Adventists studied adhered to a vegan or vegetarian diet. The people of Loma Linda largely follow a biblical diet, says Buettner. Like in the Garden of Eden, they ate foods that the Bible praises, such as the “seedling tree” in Genesis 1:29.

Lucky for them, a diet rich in plant-based foods and whole foods like nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables are full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals important for longevity.

Research shows that nearly 99% of Adventists do not smoke and about 6% drink alcohol. These lifestyle behaviors that have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and premature death.

Adventists also make exercise a priority—many are eager to go out for a walk with others. And people are easily swayed to commit to the behaviors that those around them exhibit, study Shows.

“When we do all these healthy things, it’s not just so I can be successful in business or live a pain-free life,” says Medina. “We have a bigger mission.”

Want to live the green zone way? Take action in response to your values

Good news? There is no secret elixir in Loma Linda that will help you live longer. There are many ways to follow the lifestyle of Loma Linda residents without picking and moving around the country.

Medina, who has also worked in public health within the Loma Linda health system for more than two decades, said: “There is no pill, pill or surgery that can make you change your lifestyle. me.

Instead of expecting people to “have an inhuman set of wills and disciplines,” Buettner says people can create new habits by aligning them with their values. And so, each habit change will coincide with an answer Why. One person Medina works with said he wants to see his grandson grow up, so changes in routine around family, diet and exercise are seamless.

Where to start? Buettner said Invest in your relationships and those who energize you. In addition to longevity, long-term research has shown that people near the end of life think about their lives happiness attributed it to the strength of their social connections—no matter where they lived. Quality over quantity, so even having three connections would be helpful.

Consider joining a sports league or book club to find people who share your interests.

America’s only blue zone city as a hope belt that daily living habits can make people feel like living in the blue zone. It is the youngest green zone city, shaped by the values ​​of its residents.

“There are evidence-based ways to shape your social life, the way you organize your home, your workplace life, and your neighborhood surroundings that we know work overtime,” says Buettner. will result in a longer life span and a higher level of life satisfaction. “And because these are not marketed to us, they are not of primary interest.”


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