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'Secrets of the Blue Zones' Netflix Documentary, Is It Factual?

by Christal Burnette 03 Apr 2024 0 Comments
  
In a world where people are continuously searching for the secret to longevity and a healthier lifestyle, the captivating new Netflix documentary "Blue Zones" is going to take the audience on a mesmerizing journey. Spearheaded by the renowned explorer and author Dan Buettner, this enlightening series delves into the lives of centenarians living in regions known as "Blue Zones." These Blue Zones are geographic areas where individuals experience higher rates of longevity and well-being, providing valuable insights into the key factors that contribute to a longer, healthier life. If you are reading this, my fellow moai'in, you already know I live in Okinawa and am an expert on everything 'Okinawan Blue Zone'. I am thoroughly excited to see this new documentary and see the place I call home on the big screen. However, is it real or just a show?
 

Unraveling the Mystery of Blue Zones

"Blue Zones" unveils the fascinating concept of areas around the world where people live longer and experience better health, often well into their 90s and even 100s. Buettner, along with a team of researchers, travels to these regions to uncover the common lifestyle practices that underpin their longevity. The documentary takes us on an eye-opening journey to five unique Blue Zones: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California.
 

Want to Hear a Secret?

Do you know why it is called a 'Blue Zone'? It is not like Smurfs are living there (bad joke, sorry)! Actually, while researchers were circling areas they found to have high numbers of centenarians, they just happened to use a blue marker. Dan Buettner saw that and came up with the idea of calling them 'Blue Zones'. So simple, yet such a great name for the areas.
 

Is the Documentary Factual or Just a Show?

It is safe to say that the documentary will be predominantly factual as Dan will be interviewing people from the area and filming their everyday lives. It does not leave much room for error except in two places. It is possible some elderly people will say 'we do xyz' when in reality only a few people do xyz. They may perceive everyone doing it because they do it and they are a part of that culture. Also, there are often translation errors. I have personally seen this when helping BBC and other big companies film about longevity in Okinawa. They hire a translator not knowing if that translator can actually translate well or not. Due to this, I often hear errors in real time. I mention them in private to the director or people involved afterward, but if they take my input into account is unknown. Dan is not known for speaking the language of the people in these Blue Zones so it all depends on the translator that is hired at the time.
 

What Will We Learn By Watching?

You will learn what I have spoken about every day when it comes to Okinawan longevity as the keys to longevity are discovered in all of the Blue Zones, just with their own cultural twists.
 
The Power of Community
One of the standout themes in the "Blue Zones" documentary is the power of community and social connections in promoting a healthier lifestyle. Residents of Blue Zones engage in strong social ties and support systems, fostering a sense of belonging and purpose. This communal bond contributes significantly to stress reduction and an improved sense of overall well-being. The Okinawans have something called a 'moai' where they get together every month to eat and catch up on life, deepening the bonds between them.
Nutrition and Diet Secrets
The documentary uncovers the dietary secrets of centenarians residing in Blue Zones. Surprisingly, the diets of these longevity hotspots have certain commonalities: predominantly plant-based, rich in whole grains, legumes, and vegetables. Buettner also delves into the concept of "Hara Hachi Bu," a traditional Okinawan phrase that reminds people to stop eating when they are 80% full, promoting mindful eating and portion control.
Active Lifestyles for a Longer Life
Regular physical activity is another vital element in the lives of people living in Blue Zones. However, the concept of exercise is not limited to structured workouts. Instead, these centenarians engage in regular, low-intensity physical activities as part of their daily routines, such as gardening, walking, or traditional practices like dancing or playing games with friends. The combination of movement and purposeful living appears to be a key factor in their longevity.
Embracing a Purposeful Life
The "Blue Zones" documentary emphasizes the significance of having a strong sense of purpose and a reason to wake up each day. Centenarians in these regions live with a clear sense of purpose, often dedicating themselves to their families, communities, or fulfilling hobbies. This purpose-driven life has been linked to improved mental well-being and a greater will to live a longer, healthier life. The word for this is 'ikigai', a Japanese word you may have heard before.
Balancing Stress and Relaxation
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but Blue Zone inhabitants have cultivated practices to manage it effectively. Whether through meditation, prayer, or simply taking time to unwind with loved ones, stress reduction techniques play a vital role in the longevity of these individuals.The elder generation of Okinawans are great at not stressing. Their mindset prevents them from stressing in the first place. They have phrases like 'nankurunaisa', or 'what is meant to be is meant to be', and 'okinawa taimu', or 'Okinawan Time' where people are known to arrive a little late because they do not rush.
 
Dan Buettner's "Blue Zones" documentary provides an insightful glimpse into the lives of people living in regions with unusually high rates of longevity and well-being. By examining the lifestyle choices of these centenarians, the documentary presents valuable lessons that can be incorporated into our daily lives. Embracing strong social connections, following a plant-based diet, engaging in regular low-intensity physical activity, finding a sense of purpose, and effectively managing stress can all contribute to living longer, healthier lives.
  
As we watch the awe-inspiring stories of the Blue Zone inhabitants, we are reminded that the path to a fulfilling and prolonged life lies not in a single magical elixir, but rather in embracing the simple yet profound wisdom handed down through generations. "Blue Zones" serves as a compelling reminder that the key to unlocking the secret of a vibrant life may be closer than we think - rooted in the very fabric of our daily choices and connections with the world around us.
 
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