This region where centenarians live

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What are the ingredients for living to 100 years or more and being fit? According to an expert, the place of life would have something to do with it.

Health comes first a healthy lifestyle (varied and balanced diet, practice of a regular sport) access to care and… by good genes! But according to a demographer, the living environment also has a weight! Michel Poulain, Belgian demographer and professor at the University of Louvain, has undertaken research about centenarians who live on the globe.

He tried to find the commonalities of his different people and their life expectancy and discovered the region where human beings live longer than elsewhere: this is called « the blue zone ».

Where do centenarians live?

“In 2000, I arrived in Sardinia and that’s where I started with the blue zone, with my blue pencil. So the blue zones have been around for twenty-three years now.”, he analyzed. As pointed out by site of the RTBFthe professor was interested in four blue zones: the mountains of Sardinia, Icaria in Greece, the island of Okinawa in Japan and the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica.

Michel Poulain has discovered a new one and it is in the DOM-TOM! “You have a 50% greater chance of reaching one hundred years old if you were born in Martinique”explains the specialist.

How do centenarians live?

How can we explain this phenomenon? What do these five regions of the world have in common, conducive to a beautiful and long life ? According to Michel Poulain, in these blue zones, “the centenarian or elderly person is highlighted while in our societies, it is rather sidelined. She is put in homes where we try to forget them.

Before adding: “There are important lessons that come to us from the blue zones. One of the fundamental lessons is the absence of stress. When you go to Martinique or Sardinia, you see thatwe are not stressed. We were stressed from morning until evening”. It is therefore the absence of stress and society’s view of our elders that, according to the demographer, allow the elderly to feel good about themselves, to better understand life and to live longer.

Does stress make you age?

A study Quebec dating from 2019 has shown that stress has a real impact on aging. “Chronic stress accelerates cellular aging (telomeres, DNA sequences located at the end of chromosomes, shorten faster. The longer they are, the younger our cells are. As we age, our cells multiply and our telomeres shorten. This contributes to the appearance of several illnesses (cancer, anxiety, depression, cognitive disorders, etc.)”can we read in the conclusions of the psychologist-researcher Sébastien Grenier, professor at the University of Montreal.

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