“The Blue Zones, Second Edition” book review

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Is there a recipe to live past 100, and at the same time have a good quality of life?

That’s what Dan Bruettner tries to investigate in his book entitled “The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest”.

With his team, Dan went to Barbagia in Sardinia (Italy), Ikaria (Greece), Okinawa (Japan), Loma Linda (California, United States), Nicoya (Costa Rica). These have relatively a high percentage of centenarians, and low occurrences of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or COPD. Dan interviewed them on their diet, daily lifestyle, social networks and various habits. His findings are then discussed with doctors and health experts.

So how do you live a good life past 100?

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Meditating for balance

Meditation can reduce psychological stress as well strengthen our immune system

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Chances are that you live in a big city with a demanding job, with requests from “customers” and bosses. Your friends and family need attention. You might stress about your health. Worse, there is this thing called the Internet that throws emails, social media notifications as well all sorts of news and trends at you. Look, new shoes to buy. Hey, look at what Trump said yesterday. Oh, new video from my favourite Youtuber. And should I go to this popular event posted on Eventbrite? I’ve had so many Facebook messages about it. Let’s open another tab to check the news!

As a result, the mind jumps from thought to thought all the time. We all treat it like a dustbin to throw in all the requests from the modern world. Every single day.

Few actually realize that this “dustbin” has a limited capacity. When you put too much, it overflows. It will impact your physical health, drive your cortisol and adrenal glands through the roof. This means symptoms of burn out, mental stress or depression years later.

Along with a good diet, rest and physical activity, meditation can help.

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Can Religion Make You Healthier?

Religion might add years to your life.

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Let’s make it clear. Religion is responsible for dozens of millions of death, from the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades and the calls for jihad. And that’s just the tip of iceberg. A wrong gesture or sentence can get you killed or your hand chopped off in a few countries.

Religion can definitively bring the worst of humans out.

Many of us are also put off by the official dogma. It’s hard to reconcile evolution theory (or physics) with religion. Or the ideals of democracy with the autocracy that many religions promote.

Yet, religion seems also to have a curative effect. A 2003 study shows church attendance lowers by 25% risk of mortality. Researchers have found that weekly attendance at religious services is associated with 2 to 3 additional years of life expectancy. In another study, women aged 50 and up were 20% less likely to die in any given year if they attended religious services weekly.

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