A long life is one of man’s greatest dreams. But this dream can never be pulled off by chance. A long and healthy one starts with having good genes, but definitely, it is not your genes alone that can determine if you’ll live past the 100 mark. What you take and what you do is a huge factor. But many age-conscious people in the world find very notable places where many inhabitants live long and healthy lives. What then can we learn from these distinct communities?

Okinawa, Japan

With over a million inhabitants in this southern Japanese island, more than 900 of them have already lived more than a century. There are five more Okinawans who live to be 100 years old or so compared to other places in Japan. And the number of their centenarians is four times as many in America and in Britain.
One distinct characteristic of the Okinawans is the ability to be healthy even until their end. Researchers observed that these people tend to age slower than others. They even work as long as they can which grants these people ikigai, a sense of purpose.

Okinawans eat low-salt, low-fat, anti-oxidant rich foods such as fish, tofu, soya products, and seaweeds. A wide range of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables are also included in their rainbow diet. Not to mention, the age-defying tea is a mainstay in any meal.

But what they don’t eat may also be their secret to long life. Hara hachibu is a distinct cultural practice in this place wherein they eat until they are 80% full, consuming around 1, 200 calories in a day. Why this practice makes them young is still not understood that much.

Loma Linda, California

In this Californian city populated by the Seventh-day Adventists, citizens observe the healthy lifestyle the church promotes –having a vegetarian diet, and abstinence from smoking or drinking. That is why a lot from this city are living five or ten years longer than their neighboring areas.

That practice can well-explain that. However, scientist discovered that this practice is not done by everyone in this area, yet, they still live longer than the average.

As many claim, this community’s secret is their faith. It really does raise a question if there is something about being spiritual that makes their life longer.

Researchers don’t fully understand but there’s this remarkable fact that makes everyone curious. It’s been known for a couple of decades already that people who regularly go to the church, whatever their religion is, live more than those who don’t. Some say that those who go to church on a regular basis have considerably lower levels of stress, and perhaps, because of this, these people are able to deal with stress better.

Ovvoda, Sardinia

This small town in Italy boasts many centenarians among its 1, 700 residents. Even more notably, there are as many men who live longer as women, kicking the trend in the world. Their secret is not only the Mediterranean diet, but also their genes.

For centuries, the families in this place lived in isolation, and married only their fellow Sardinian. So, from a genetic point of view, marriage among relatives provides positive results like centenarians.

With that said, interbreeding in this place seems to have caused their people to live a longer life. This phenomenon even made some scientist discover specific genes that are associated with long life.