Many of you may have heard about the “Blue Zone”. In a November 2005 National Geographic article entitled “The Secrets to a Long Life” by Dan Buettner, his research found a common practice among cultures who had the most male centurions. Buettner identified five regions with the most male centurions and discussed them in his book called The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Below is a chart showing the common practices. Pay attention to the center of this diagram.
A plant-based diet, legumes, no smoking, social engagement, and exercise were key to all groups. The diagram shows three groups but actually five geographic areas where found to have statically more centurions. The other two geographical ares are Nicoya, Costa Rica and Icaria, Greece. We can see from this diagram other commonalities which include empowering women, sunshine, gardening, faith, and whole grains. Here again, just like in the bible, a plant-based diet and no processed foods seems to be a key to living longer. These cultures suffer less from common diseases that kill other people in other parts of the world. Also, a sense of community and belonging are also key elements to a long life. We know that infants who are not loved and nurtured do not thrive. Love is an important human need.
We all deal with stress but when we have support of friends and family it lessens the burden. As I look at this chart, it seems that stress in not a big factor. They spend time outside probably exercising and gardening. They enjoy social contact and acceptance from the community. In our fast paced American lifestyle, much of the sense of family or community is lost. The American family hardly has time together and many do not have the support of a church family.
Also of interest is that all but one of these 5 regions is largely a Christian culture. Sardinia, Italy is a staunchly Christian society with most being Roman Catholic. The same is true of Nicoya, Costa Rica and Icaria, Greece. The Loma Linda group were all Seventh Day Adventist. Here is an excerpt from Dan Buettner from the Blue Zone:
“People who pay attention to their spiritual side have a lower rate of cardiovascular disease, depression, stress, and suicide, and their immune systems seem to work better…To a certain extent, adherence to a religion allows them to relinquish the stresses of everyday life to a higher power.”
Did you see Proverbs 17:22 jump out at you? These centurions paid attention to their spirit and their immune systems worked better. Remember your immune system is made in your bones. Let’s look at this proverb again:
Proverbs 17:22 A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Now Jesus did not die to give us a religion but a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father. Relationship to God and to other people is vital to health. In 2017, Marino Bruce of Vanderbilt University lead a study looking at the relationship between religiosity, stress and death. The study was call “Church Attendance Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle-Aged Adults“. The study looked at blood pressure and levels of stress hormones which they termed allostatic load. The higher the allostatic load the higher the disease level and early death. To summarize the study findings, church goers had less chronic disease and lived longer than non-church goers.
If I was to summarize the above chart, it would be love. Loving self and loving others. Is this not what Jesus taught us in scripture? Jesus said that he gave us a new command: Love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34). Peace is what we are all looking for and it is found in Christ. He is our peace, our hope, and our joy. I don’t believe it is an accident that the command to love is in chapter 13 of the book of John. The bible tells us that God is Love (1 John 4:8) and in 1 Corinthians 13 love is discussed in detail. I believe 1 Corinthians 13:13 describes well how long life is lived.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.
When we love ourselves, we take care of the body or our temple. Since the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit(Romans 5:5), we are able to love others without fear of rejection. When we trust God to be our protector and provider, we live without fear knowing that our Father in Heaven loves us and cares for us.
Daniel lived a life of excellence always putting His relationship with His creator first. His life was dedicated to prayer and fasting. He sought to honor God with his life and in doing so God honored him. God gave Daniel understanding and favor above all those around him. This is the supernatural life of a Christian. I will leave you with what the Lord shared with me on January 3, 2018. May the God of peace bless you and your family abundantly!
True love doesn’t wait but pursues the things of God. Those who love me pursue Me. Pursue your “First Love” and all else will fall into place. My people have forgotten “First Love” (the beauty I have created , provision and protection). They worship things and not the One who created it. They pursue the wisdom of the world and not wisdom from above and in doing so perish from a lack of knowledge. Pursue Me Allison and not just My hand of provision or what I will give you but Me. Teach others to do the same. Pursue to know Me and all else will be given you. You have every spiritual blessing and you lack for nothing.
Let this be our heart cry, to know Him!