How it all began.
Back in the 90s, some researchers found an unusually high presence of centenarians in some areas of Central-EasternSardinia. Oddly enough, this longevity concerned men and women alike. An in-depth investigation began:with a blue marker, the scientists marked on a map the municipalities with a high concentration of centenarians: that’s where the expression “Blue Zone”comes from!Later, National Geographic reporter Dan Buettner gave international prominence to the concept. Other Blue Zones were identified in the world: Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California
What about Orosei?
The main areas under study have been Ogliastra and Barbagia(in our province ofNuoro), located just below and behind the Gulf of Orosei. We share the same ancient popular culture heritage that is at the center of our proverbial longevity. Orosei also boasts a high percentage of centenarians and nonagenarians. People here live a long (and happy) life as well!
A long life elixir?
There is a singular wish that Sardinians love to exchange on birthdays:
A chent’annos! (May you live one hundred years!)
Beside the mysterious but effective creative power of the spoken word and some genetic factors, the following are proven contributions to a long and happy life:
- A healthy diet.
Sardinia has a centuries-old culinary tradition:a low animal proteins diet based on the consumption of fresh foods, chemical-free vegetables and fruit of the season. What we traditionally eat is mainly carasau bread and fresh pasta, wild herbs, legumes, pecorino and goat cheese. All seasoned with abundant olive oil and accompanied by a good glass of red wine (the famous Cannonau) which we drink in company with family and friends.
- Social support: here, family comes first and the elderly are celebrated.
Together with good nutrition, a socially active life even in old age and inclusion within the community is of great importance. Here on the Island, family values are still very strong and every member of the family is important. Grandparents are held in high esteem: in Orosei everyone-not just their grandchildren-refer to the town’s elders with the nickname Tziu/Tzia (Uncle/Aunt) with a connotation of respectful familiarity. They play an active role within the family, taking care of their grandkids and spending a lot of time with them, cooking daily and preparing food at home as they once did. It is scientifically proven that people who live within families with strong and “healthy” ties and who are emotionally stimulated(that is loved and cared for!) suffer less from depression and stress.
- Going for a walk.
In the past, shepherds used to walk up to 16 km a day-a constant and low-intensity type of physical activity–that positively affects metabolism and it’s an important factor for a good health and the increase in life expectancy. Even today, many elderly people go to their land every day to tend their gardens.
- No stress!
In the Blue Zones we laugh and joke a lot. We tend to take life as it is, appreciating the little daily joys.Most of the elderly have had a modest and simple life. They welcome the circumstances of life without giving up, trying to stay away from bitterness, with gratitude and resilience.