The term Blue Zone is a name given to certain geographic regions where people live measurably longer and healthier lives than the average person. Dan Buettener later went on to write a book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest, where he discusses the five regions of blue zones that he identified with National Geographic and a team of longevity researchers: Icaria, in Greece, Loma Linda, in California, Sardinia, in Italy, Okinawa, in Japan, and Nicoya, in Costa Rica.

Over the years, a lot of research has gone into just why people tend to not only live longer in these areas but do so without the chronic diseases that many cultures associate with old age. So, what do these five areas have in common? They all have relatively warm weather year-round, they are fairly small, remote and close to the ocean. (Research shows that the blue color of the ocean, the ebbing and flowing of the waves and the smell of the ocean breeze has an effect on our nervous system...hence that Zen feeling most of us get at the beach).

While experts agree that more research is needed, they have found that there are several things that the inhabitants of all Blue Zones, or longevity hotspots, have in common: they tend to be naturally active, gardening and walking several miles a day, they avoid added sugar and processed foods and don´t overeat and they eat healthy plant based diets rich in leafy green vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.

However, it is much more than just diet and exercise. Blue zone inhabitants have a strong sense of community and purpose and tend to keep their stress levels low. Faith and spirituality are also an important part of daily life and family ties and friends are highly valued. It's a lifestyle...visit Costa Rica and learn more about the people of Nicoya and the laid-back Pura Vida approach to life, in general, in Costa Rica.