It’s his birthday, and you’re getting ready to plan his special day. You already know he’s that guy who is all about eating healthy, exercising, staying fit, and living a long and wholesome life. So, what would be a great gift and an ideal way to spend his birthday?

Most people wish the celebrant a Happy Birthday, with good health and longevity. Yes, you can too. But why not go a step further and make it a birthday experience?

Put up those festive birthday decorations, get a cake or birthday gift baskets for him filled with treats that you both can share and enjoy, and maybe even include a bottle of wine. Then sit back together, and take him on an exciting, interesting, and informative virtual tour of some of the most “healthy” places in the world to live.

Wholesome Living and Longevity

He probably already knows about longevity. It’s the ultimate goal of a natural and wholesome lifestyle. Longevity is sometimes accredited to genetics, but ironically only 20% – 30% of genetics can be credited to longevity. Longevity is mostly determined by environmental factors and lifestyles. The residents of “blue zones” are found to have more longevity than the average person in the American population.

People who live in the blue zones keep a moral social circle, meaning they do not engage in popularity contests, drama or irrationality. Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and multiple New York Times best-selling author, discovered and founded the 5 Blue Zones of the World, where people are the healthiest and live the longest. He has been working many years to identify the areas of the world where people live with the least unhealthy habits, illnesses and diseases that can cause premature mortality.

The longevity of the people of blue zones is due to their environment and lifestyle choices. The five blue zones are listed below.

• Icaria (or Ikaria), Greece – This island is eight miles off Turkey in the Aegean Sea. The people of Icaria eat a very traditional Mediterranean diet, consisting of mostly vegetables and healthy fats. They consume smaller amounts of meats and dairy.

• Loma Linda, California – Residents in Loma Linda, California, tend to live 10 more healthy years than the average American. Their diet consists of grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables. It is a traditional, biblical diet.

• Sardinia (Ogliastra Region), Italy – People living in this mountainous region of Italy have lower rates of diabetes, cancer, and death for people under the age of 65. This is believed to be due to the population’s low protein diet. Sardinia’s mountainous region also boasts the world’s highest population of centenarian men.

• Okinawa, Japan – Controlled by Japan, Okinawa is the largest island in the sub-tropic archipelago. It has the home of the world’s longest- lived women. Turmeric, mugwort, goya (bitter melon), soybeans, and Okinawan sweet potatoes are primary in the island resident’s diet.

• Nicoya, Costa Rica – Located in Central America, this region boasts the second highest concentration of centenarian men, and the world’s lowest rate of middle-aged mortality. Their longevity has been accredited to low intensity physical activity, deep social networks, and strong faith communities.

The people inhabiting Blue Zones share common lifestyle characteristics that contribute to their longevity.

• Family – put ahead of all other concerns

• Less smoking

• Semi-vegetarianism – the majority of food consumed is derived from plants

• Constant moderate physical activity – an inseparable part of life

• Social engagement – people of all ages are socially active and integrated into their communities

• Legumes – commonly consumed Found by Dan Buettner and his research team, in these 5 blue zones, there are common denominators, or longevity lessons, consistently instilled in all five populations of residents.

Lessons of Longevity

What are these lessons of longevity? These lessons are known as the Power 9, listed below.

1. Move naturally throughout the day

2. Have and cultivate a strong sense of purpose

3. Downshift every day to relieve stress

4. 80% Rule – stop eating when you are 80% full

5. Plant Slant: Make beans, whole grains, veggies, and fruit the center of your diet

6. Wine @ 5: Enjoy wine and alcohol moderately with friends and/or food

7. Belong: Be part of a faith-based community or organization

8. Loved Ones First: Have close friends and strong family connections

9. Right Tribe: Cultivate close friends and strong social networks

Another key to the blue zone longevity is their low- tech nature. The internet, social media, and other stress causing components aren’t as desirable or in demand in the blue zone population. Technology and media are utilized more, and much more in demand in their American counter parts lives. In America, people define themselves in likes and social media popularity.

In the blue zones, people also live with the values and morals of their grandparents and ancestors, leaving them with much less stress and negativity.

What else can be said for the longevity of blue zones? You’ve discovered all of their secrets above, and it’s made for quite a virtual birthday adventure! Perhaps, in conclusion, we can also say the residents of the blue zones live better? Who wouldn’t want to live with less stress? Who wouldn’t want to eat better? Who wouldn’t want an elite group of close friends they can count on? Who wouldn’t want to have close knit relationships with their family members? And don’t forget that daily glass of wine!