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Wellness explorers are starting to look at Blue Zones — communities around the world that are known for high rates of longevity and health — and exploring their key attributes, from community to diet and lifestyle, in an effort to emulate them and optimise wellness. A recent Blue Zone report identified that residents in Sardinia, Costa Rica, Greece, Japan and California had the highest lifespans globally. On cue, tour operators and resorts from these regions have started marketing longevity retreats.
Foods from these regions – such as sea fennel in Greece, which is claimed to support brain function, are gathering popularity. As is anti-oxidant tea (Japan’s Matcha for heart health and Sardinia’s milk thistle tea which is said to protect against certain types of cancers). Expect more of skincare’s ‘hot’ ingredients to come from these Blue Zones.
But it’s not just the diet, says Dr. Maloof. “The missing part of the puzzle, which will be talked about next, is the human connection that exists in these Blue Zone communities and how this relates to ageing, ” says Dr. Maloof. “As humans we are part of a super organism. We know humans need to connect to nature for health, but we need to look at our connections with one another. Communities make us feel safe – we feel part of a tribe. A lot of these Blue Zones have multi-generational households. They create emotional security, which is an incredible tool to reduce stress, maintain stability, and therefore, slow ageing.”
Some in the beauty community are already turning to Blue Zones for inspiration. Sophia Chabbott describes her Testament Beauty line as “a Mediterranean diet for your face,” which infuses its products’ identity with the Mediterranean’s famed soothing and healing powers. The products are formulated with a Mediterranean anti-oxidant infusion, which includes nine botanicals including peppermint to cool, oregano to reduce redness, and lavender to soothe and moisturise.
The examination of global cultures and longer-living communities continues. Recently, a native South American population that lives a pre-industrial lifestyle were found to have a slower rate of brain ageing than the typical Westerner. A study by the University of Southern California found that the Tsimane population, in the remote Bolivian Amazon, rarely suffered from health issues common in today's age. These included obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and clogged heart arteries, and the results also suggested their rate of brain shrinkage could be about 70 percent slower.
Could this ultimately lead to holistic activities being prescribed over medication to stave off ageing? This is already being suggested in the UK. The UK government said in September that too many prescriptions are being prescribed, with 15 percent of the population taking five or more types of medication per day. The Guardian reports: “Led by NHS England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Dr. Keith Ridge, the new review found that 10 percent of prescription items dispensed via primary care in England are inappropriate for the circumstances or wishes of that patient, or could be replaced with better, alternative treatments.”