Birthdays are a popular time to wish someone many happy returns of the day. In a few parts of the world, people experience many, many, many happy returns. In these communities, known as Blue Zones, residents live well into their 90s, even surpassing 100 years old with relative consistency. That’s a lot of birthday candles.
The five areas that researchers have pinpointed as Blue Zones include Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Ikaria, Greece.
Though they are located in vastly different regions, Blue Zone communities share some common lifestyle characteristics that may contribute to life longevity. Residents focus on maintaining close families and tight-knit communities. They also regularly consume fresh, unprocessed food, drink alcohol in moderation and are physically active throughout the day most days of the week.