The quest for longevity certainly isn’t new, but researcher Dan Buettner has spent the past decade studying cultures around the world in an effort to better understand the personal and communal choices that help certain groups live longer.
Buettner shared some of the research he’s conducted into “blue zones” around the world — locations where populations are 10 times more likely to reach age 100 than the average American — during an interview with HuffPo Live this week.
While most of these groups live outside the U.S., Buettner did note that there’s one subculture in the states that has seemingly mastered longevity: the Seventh-day Adventists, a Protestant denomination that formed around 1850.
“There is a subculture here. It’s among the Seventh-day Adventists who on average — you were citing that life expectancy for Americans is 79 — well, they on average are living about 10 years longer and they’re doing it living right off the San Bernardino Freeway next to fast food stores,” Buettner told HuffPo Live’s Caitlyn Becker.
Sharing Adventists’ secrets to longevity, the researcher said that they tend to eat a plant-based diet that includes a minimal amount of meat. Additionally, he cited Adventists’ staunch observance of the Sabbath as being one of the factors that helps improve and sustain members’ lives.
“Every week, Adventists have a special date with God — a guilt-free break from work and a whole day to deepen our friendship with the Creator of the universe,” reads the demonination’s website.
Adventists get together on Saturday to worship and learn. Any non-faith related activities are avoided and family time and volunteer work are encouraged, according to Patheos.
And that’s not the only cultural difference. Adventists take special care of themselves, watching the food and substances that they put into their bodies. As Beliefnet noted, they live “life as simply and naturally as possible” and try to avoid stress.
They avoid drugs and alcohol and generally value working out and taking care of their body, which they believe to be a “temple.”
“They’re decompressing the stress,” Buettner added. “About 84 percent of health care dollars are spent because of bad food choices, inactivity and unmanaged stress — and they have these cultural ways of managing stress through their Sabbath.”
The researcher, who has worked with National Geographic through his Blue Zones project, also said that Adventists have a “social network that reinforces the right behavior.”
Watch Buettner describe Seventh-day Adventists’ beliefs below:
(H/T: Huffington Post)
Front page image via Shutterstock.com
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