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Longest living people in the world swear by ‘Power Nine’ rule that makes them more likely to live to 100

Longest living people in the world swear by ‘Power Nine’ rule that makes them more likely to live to 100

Dan Buettner reckons he discovered the secrets to a long and happy life

If you're intending to do everything in your power to extend your time on this Earth as much as you can, taking advice from the longest living people in the world might be a good starting point.

On top of keeping fit, eating well, drinking lots of water and putting a stop to some bad habits, you could also incorporate the 'Power Nine' rule into your life to try and boost its longevity.

Experts have tried to find the secret to a long, happy life for donkeys years and went straight to the horse's mouth to get it after being left intrigued by the results of the Danish Twin Study.

It established that only around 20 percent of the lifespan of an average person is dictated by genes, while approximately 80 percent is influenced by lifestyle and environment.

On the back of this, Dan Buettner decided to dig a little deeper in an attempt to 'reverse engineer longevity', by taking a look at five areas in the world where people were living the longest, healthiest lives.

He is the bloke who identified these 'Blue Zones' - which include Ikaria in Greece, Loma Linda in California, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Okinawa in Japan and Sardinia in Italy.

Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Teaming up with National Geographic, Buettner found 'pockets of people' in these locations, which boast high life expectancies, to investigate how all these 100-year-old's were somehow running around.

A team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists then searched for 'evidence-based common denominators' which these destinations shared.

Buettner and his team found nine interesting principles and practices which they realised could be applied in societies all across the world to increase the duration of our lives, as these Blue Zone people are ten times more likely to make 100 than anyone else.

So, what exactly are these 'Power Nine' rules and how exactly can they increase your period of existence?

Daily movement

Although you might reckon putting a serious shift in at the gym or going on a long run is the key to staying healthy, Buettner thinks more subtle exercises are actually the way to go.

People in Blue Zones didn't take part in traditional workouts and instead seem to move 'naturally' every 20 minutes or so, all while completing their usual daily tasks.

For example, the participants would do a spot of gardening, knead their own bread, walk instead of drive, or use hand-operated tools instead of using modern shortcuts which a lot of us constantly rely on these days.

Movement is a pivotal part of their daily lives without them even realising it, basically.


When your car won't start, your phone's dead or you've lost your wallet, it can suddenly seem like the end of the world.

But those living in the Blue Zones don't sweat the small stuff in the slightest - which in turn keeps their blood pressure at a healthy rate, as well as reducing stress and getting rid of the inflammation which comes along with it.

Buettner said: "Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease.

"What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take anap and Sardinians do happy hour."

The locals in the majority of the locations with long-living populations followed these daily rituals, religion and traditions intently, which seems to successfully help them keep a cool head.

They still have similar problems to us lot, but just don't let themselves get down in the dumps over it.


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If Billie Eilish's addition to the Barbie soundtrack, What Was I Made For?, didn't leave you questioning your purpose in life, then the fact that finding one could make your time here significantly longer just might.

Waking up each morning with a reason to get out of bed does wonders for our health, apparently.

Buettner discovered that people living in Blue Zones had brains full of determination and a passion for life, suggesting that simply being happy to be here could earn you some extra time on this planet.

A Canadian study of 6,000 people over a period of 14 years found that participants who could articulate their sense of purpose were 15 percent less likely to die than their goalless peers.

Another study, conducted by the National Institute on Aging, found that people who could articulate their sense of purpose were living up to 7 years longer. So find your purpose people!

Wine @ 5

Although getting absolutely legless and slinging back Jägerbombs like they're going out of fashion isn't exactly the healthiest weekend activity, a couple won't hurt... depending on the contents, of course.

Blue Zone dwellers consume moderate amounts of alcohol on most days - usually around two glasses per day, but as much as four - and it's apparently doing them the world of good.

"Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers," Buettner said. "The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday."

Sipping a glass of wine after a long hard day certainly puts a smile on your face, but the expert reckons it's actually more about the company people are in rather than how much of a buzz they've got from the booze.

Plant Slant

Rather than chowing down on meaty meals all the time, people in the Blue Zones prefer following a plant-based diet.

Buettner found that 95 percent of the 100-year-old's in all five locations favoured this lifestyle choice, while making a point of making beans and lentils a 'cornerstone' of their diets.

They also filled up on a lot of carbohydrates, but opted to devour healthier options such as whole grains and sourdough bread rather than eating loaves laden with yeast.

Buettner said most centenarians instead eat meat on average just five times a month.

Experts recommend sticking to a small serving of pork, in the region of three to four ounces if you just can't give up meat out of your diet.

But going plant-based seems to hold people in good stead throughout life.

80 Percent Rule

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Rather than piling up your plate with a mountain of nosh, it seems you would be better off controlling your portions.

Those in the Blue Zones tend to chow down on their smallest meal of the day in the late afternoon or early evening, before shutting their stomach for business completely.

Instead, they fuel themselves up for the day at breakfast and lunch, although the size of their meals shrinks as the day goes on.

They avoid overeating like the plague and instead follow the 80 Percent Rule to ensure they aren't just eating for the sake of it, which means they stop shoving forkfuls of food in when they feel 80 percent full.

Studies show that saying prayer before meals, chewing slowly and eating with loved ones can help appease your appetite.

And according to Buettner, "The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it."

Loved Ones First

Prioritising your relatives and loved ones can really go a long way, if the track records of people living in the Blue Zones are anything to go by.

Whether it's guiding your young siblings, caring for your parents, or helping out with elderly family members, these actions can all help extend your lifespan according to Buettner.

He explained: "Successful centenarians in the blue zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home. It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.

"They commit to a life partner, which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy, and invest in their children with time and love. They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes."

Right Tribe

Finding the right tribe for you to fit in with could really make a difference to the duration of your life.

Surrounding yourself with the right people will stimulate you similarly to how spending time with your family does, but having good friends arguably might make an even bigger impact on you.

Behaviours are contagious, Buettner reckons, so hanging out with people heading down a dark path will inevitably drag you down it too.

"Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviours," Buettner said.

The longest-living people obviously worked this out and instead 'curate' social circles with positive people who suit their personalities, lifestyles and goals.


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Feeling like you have finally found a place where you belong is priceless, as well as life-span increasing.

Joining local groups, getting involved with causes and sharing something in common with others really is a luxury, which could have a very positive effect on your life.

The Blue Zones are predominantly faith-based communities, who regularly attend services, mass or events.

Research shows that those who attend these kind of get togethers four times a month can live up to 14 years longer on average, according to Buettner.

But don't worry if that's not your thing, as experts suggest joining gym classes and participating in group activities can allow you to experience the same benefits.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Image

Topics: Health, Mental Health, World News, News, Food And Drink, Sex and Relationships, Vegan, Parenting