About 20 years ago, working for National Geographic, and with a grant from the National Institute on Aging, I started identifying and studying the longest-lived people, those who are in what we called the world’s Blue Zones. These are people who have eluded heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and several types of cancer.
My goal, in a sense, was to reverse-engineer longevity. Since only about 20% of the average person’s life span is dictated by genes, I reasoned that if I could find the common denominators among people who’ve achieved the health outcomes we want, I might distill some pretty good lessons for the rest of us to follow. I discovered nine powerful lessons–the power nine–that underpin all five Blue Zones. Here they are: