Blue Zones & the Power of Nine

In 2008, author Dan Buettner introduced the world to the Blue Zones, five pockets of civilization where people live for really long times, longer than most.

The Blue Zones are:

Ikaria, Greece

Loma Linda, California

Sardinia, Italy

Okinawa, Japan

and Nicoya, Costa Rica

In Buettner’s research, which was facilitated by National Geographic, he sought reasons why people in these areas live up to ten times longer than people elsewhere. Out of that research he came up with the “Power of 9,” nine characteristics these communities share that lead them to live long, healthy lives.

I looked up the Power of 9 because I had a scare recently, two scares really. A cousin was rushed to emergency and was told her kidneys were only operating at 10%. She is now on dialysis. And, I was recently told that my kidneys were trying to lock on me. I was drinking water but not nearly enough and I was ingesting too much sugar. My body was not happy about this neglect.

So now I am drinking more water and ignoring the siren call of ice cream, but with these improvements I was curious about what else I could do to improve my longevity and health. After all, I have many more books to write and many more stories to tell so I need to live as long as possible. Additionally, as a writer, I need the use of my hands, the creativity of my mind, the connectivity of my soul to Spirit to carry out my life’s work. So I perused the Power of 9 and you can too. Just click on the link below or keep reading.


1. Create an environment where you move without having to think about or plan for it.

2. Know your purpose. Know why you get out of bed every day.

3. Shed stress as much as possible.

4. Control your eating.

5. Eat healthy:  beans, fruit, less meat, avoid processed food, drink water.

6. Wine is fine. Drinkers outlive non-drinkers when the drinking is done socially. (I promise I didn’t make this one up.)

7. Faith-based living, attending faith services (regardless of denomination) is crucial.

8. Family first; keep grandparents, grandchildren, other loved ones near.

9. Surround yourself with people who promote healthy behaviors.

10 thoughts on “Blue Zones & the Power of Nine

    • Much, much better, thank you. I used to get puffy ankles during or after travel (yeah, attractive, I know) but when I got off the plane yesterday, no puffy ankles. Yeah, the miracle of water.

    • Hunza…interesting. I’ve heard they have a very high literacy rate, almost 100%, and that most of the citizens speak several languages. I wonder how that factors into long life and health, if at all.

  1. Thanks for this fascinating information, Ann. It’s interesting how an entire community would share these 9 characteristics. That must be the 9th characteristic!
    Hope you’re having a joyful weekend.

    • I found it interesting too that these five little pockets separated by miles and oceans and large land masses shared these commonalities. It’s amazing when you think about it but then again it makes you wonder if these characteristics are natural holdovers from the early, early days…traditions and values that they did not allow time to change. Very interesting indeed.

  2. #1 is one of the things I loved about living abroad and one of the motivators for me wanting to do it again. It walked at least an hour each day (in addition to climbing stairs) just in the process of running errands.

    • Really?! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. We Americans love our cars and I often forget that other countries are not as dependent on them as we are. I saw that in Costa Rica last summer…the number of people who walked was astounding and probably as a result, I rarely saw overweight people. I gotta figure out how to build a more naturally mobile lifestyle. Thanks for sharing Lovenia!

  3. I’m sorry to hear you had a health scare Ann, but glad that it was the catalyst for you to make some needed changes. About a month ago I started drinking a gallon of water a day and I have so much more energy! Not to mention other great digestive benefits if you know what I mean. I use an app called AquaAlert to help remind me to drink. Now I just need to focus on moving more!

    • Yes, I know what you mean but I didn’t know about the boost of energy that water gives. Hmmmm…yet another good reason to throw out the sweet tea. Thanks for sharing the app. Looking into it.

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