Preventative healthcare is a concept that is not part of the modern Western idea of healthcare, it doesn’t emphasise the treatment of ailments but rather the active preservation of good health. Preventative healthcare has a proactive approach, empowering people to take control of their own vitality.
So how can we actively preserve good health?
I recently read the book “The Blue Zones – Secrets for Living Longer”. It is a book by Dan Buettner and it explores the concept of Blue Zones, which are regions around the world known for having a higher percentage of people living to 100 or more years while maintaining good health. The book offers practical advice about lifestyle, diet and cultural practices of these long-lived populations.
The research in this book has become a popular resource for those interested in living a longer, healthier life by making positive changes to their daily routines. Let’s have a look at some of the lifestyle factors that these Blue Zone areas have in common.
One of the key principles for achieving longevity and overall well-being is the concept of “moving naturally”. It emphasises the importance of incorporating physical activity into daily life through natural and low-impact movements. Think of walking, gardening and manual labour. The idea is that constant, moderate physical activity during the day can be more sustainable and beneficial than sporadic, intense workouts.
Purpose in life keeps people engaged, mentally stimulated and emotionally fulfilled. The Blue Zone societies place a strong emphasis on the value of contributing to their families and communities and this sense of purpose provides a reason to get up in the morning. It has been linked to better physical health and a longer life.
Make sure you regularly Downshift
Downshifting refers to the practice of managing and reducing stress, particularly through daily routines and rituals that promote mental well-being and relaxation. These practices can consist of daily naps, mediation, prayer, or simply enjoying leisurely meals and gatherings with loved ones. These practices help lower stress hormones and contribute to a sense of calm and contentment, which is believed to be a significant factor in peoples good health.
The 80% Rule
The idea behind the 80% rule is simple yet profound: it suggests that we should aim to eat until we’re only 80% full. By consciously stopping short of full satiety, we can avoid overeating and consuming excess calories. The 80% rule encourages mindful eating, an awareness of one’s body’s cues, and an avoidance of the health risks associated with overindulgence.
This concept encourages people to shift their dietary focus toward a predominantly plant-based diet, with and emphasis on vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. In the Blue Zone communities, animal based foods are often consumed in smaller quantities. This dietary approach has numerous benefits, it provides an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants while reducing the consumption of saturated fats and processed foods.
Wine @ 5
In the Blue Zones, the tradition of enjoying wine at 5pm, is highlighted as a common practice in some of the longevity-rich regions. It reflects the idea that a small, daily indulgence of wine can promote relaxation, social bonding and stress reduction. They key to this practice is moderation, consume wine in small quantities, often with friends or family, as part of a daily ritual. This is associated with potential benefits and it underscores the importance of savoring life’s simple pleasures.
In the Blue Zones, the concept of “belonging” emerges as a crucial factor in the lifestyles of communities renowned for their longevity. Feeling deeply connected to a community creates a sense of security, reduces stress, and contributes to overall well-being. Close-knit relationships provide emotional support, a safety net in times of need and a profound sense of purpose.
Loved Ones First
Prioritising family and maintaining strong, nurturing relationships with loved ones are foundational values in these long-lived communities. This emphasis on family and close relationships provides emotional well-being and offers practical assistance in daily life. It reinforces that the quality of our relationships, particularly with family members, plays vital role in creating a sense of belonging and security, which can significantly contribute to overall health and longevity.
Find the Right Tribe
Surrounding yourself with a social circle that shares similar values, healthy habits and a supportive environment is a key factor in achieving longevity and well-being. People who belong to the right tribe, often engage in activities that promote health, happiness and a sense of belonging. They encourage each other to make positive lifestyle choices such as eating nutritious foods, staying active and reducing stress.
Preventative Healthcare in the Western World
Adopting the above lifestyle practises and principles will help us live a healthier and longer life and it will improve our overall well-being. We need to take charge of our own health and happiness.
We can also turn to ancient healing practices like Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. They are not solely focused on treating ailments but also on maintaining balance and harmony within the body. Acupuncture for instance supports the body’s natural healing mechanisms which helps to strengthen the immune system and prevent illness. By promoting the body’s natural ability to heal and adapt, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are valuable tools in preventing illness and maintaining optimal health.