The average life expectancy for US citizens is 79 years, and while that may sound like plenty of living to you NOW, who knows what the future holds?
But never fear! There are five places -- called Blue Zones -- where a disproportionately high number of residents live to 100: Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Nicoya, Costa Rica. If researchers could unlock the characteristics of these seemingly magical areas, the rest of us might be able to glean some life-extending information.
Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and bestselling author, has spent years studying the habits of people who live in the Blue Zones. "Only about 20% of our genes determine how long the average person lives," says Buettner. "This means our lifestyle and environment will greatly shape our health and happiness in later years."
So what secret formula do Blue Zoners follow to live longer and healthier? The short answer, unfortunately, is that there's no magic pill (though that hasn't stopped scientists from trying to find one). There are, however, shared traits of Blue Zone residents you can try to emulate.