The Blue Zone
Costa Rica isn’t just a place that will make you feel healthy – it’s a place that can actually extend the length of your life. The Blue Zone of Costa Rica is quickly becoming a point of interest around the world.
The small town of Nicoya, Costa Rica, has been deemed a “Blue Zone,” or a region where people have one of the highest life expectancies in the world. A term coined by bestselling author, explorer and educator Dan Buettner, there are 5 recognized Blue Zones: Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece) and among the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. Although they’re located in vastly different parts of the world, the people living in these longevity hotspots exhibit a few similar behavioral traits that could be key to living a longer, happier life. They include:
- Consumption of a plant-based diet/legumes
- Daily (and often constant) moderate physical activity
- Frequent social engagement
- No smoking
Sunshine, gardening, and a lackadaisical lifestyle (ahem – have you heard of Pura Vida?) are also thought to extend life expectancy.
The Happy Zone
But wait – it gets better! Costa Rica was deemed the happiest nation in the world by the Happy Planet Index (HPI) in 2009, 2012 and 2018. None of the other Blue Zones have topped the charts for the HPI, making Costa Rica a point of interest for scientists and alternative thinkers around the world. For comparison, the United States of America was ranked 108/140, Nigeria was ranked 95/140 and Spain was ranked 15/140 on the 2018 HPI.
Why are Costa Ricans so happy? Well, after abolishing its army in 1949, Costa Rica has since reallocated army funds to be spent on health, education and pensions. We’re not trying to say that the key to happiness is to “make love, not war,” but the numbers don’t lie – it might be! Costa Ricans not only live longer, but they live happier and healthier than almost any other nation in the world.