I think there are 5 elements that Blue Zones and Satoyama lifestyle have in common.
Blue Zones are 5 places in the world where people live statistically longest and they are : Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece) and among the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California.
Satoyama lifestyle is a traditional lifestyle seen in countrysides throughout Japan including Okinawa, and I think it is the key to health and longevity.
1, Self-sufficient lifestyle
Almost all Blue Zones are located in the countryside and people lead a farm life. Some of them grow their own crops and vegetables and some of them catch fish.
People living in Satoyama led a self-sufficient lifestyle in the past and even today most people grow rice and vegetables. They are not 100% self-sufficient but they spend a lot of time in their rice fields and vegetable gardens.
It means they are surrounded by good bacteria both from the soil and the food they eat, since they eat locally grown food. Surrounding yourself with good local bacteria is one of the keys to health.
2, Healthy balanced Plant Based Diet
People in Blue Zones have mostly plant based diet and they have a good balance of Carbohydrates, Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals.
People in Satoyama were all vegetarians in the past except they had fish and occasionally they had meat when they caught boars or rabbits. They had no dairy products. Today some people eat meat and consume dairy products and yet compared to the amount of average people in the West consume, the amount of meat and dairy products consumed in Japanese Satoyama is very low. They eat a lot of fermented food, as well. They also have a good balance of Carbohydrates, Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals.
3, Daily exercises
People in Blue Zones exercise a lot. They often walk and work in their garden. Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy are both in mountain areas and people often walk up and downs. This applies to the Seventh-day Adventist church in Loma Linda, California, too. They take a walk regularly. Through their gardening, most people in Blue Zones get enough exercises.
In Satoyama, too, people spend a lot of time in their rice fields, vegetable gardens, and mountains which require much walking and physical labor. Many of them walked 8 to 10 kilometers a day to go to school in their childhood, which built their strong physical structures.
4, Community Life
People in Blue Zones have a strong community life. Often they belong to a neighborhood association and help one another. They have a strong family tie and never feel lonely.
Almost everyone in Satoyama belongs to a neighborhood association and they communicate a lot with their neighbors. Many of them live in extended family households where 3 generations live together.
Ikigai means a life purpose or having a sense of value in your life. The word Ikigai became a symbol of happiness and longevity from the fact that people in Okinawa one of the Blue Zones have Ikigai. It is also found in Nicoya, Costa Rica which is another Blue Zone, it is called plan de vida, and it means almost like Ikigai. People in the Seventh-day Adventist church in Loma Linda, California have a sense of purpose from their faith.
In Satoyama, a lot of people are Shintoists and Buddhists, therefore they also have a sense of value in their life from their spirituality. Many of them are given a role from the neighborhood association which also provides them some sort of purpose.
Young people who have moved into Satoyama are not necessarily Shintoists and Buddhists, but they all have Ikigai. In many ways their Ikigais are even bigger than the Ikigais of the older generations, which makes their Satoyama lifestyle more significant, but I will talk about it on another occasion.
Considering all those five elements, Blue Zones and Japanese Satoyama are very similar, which further reinforces my idea that Satoyama lifestyle is the key to health and longevity.
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