What 'The Blue Zones' And Cameron Diaz Have To Say About Healthy Living And Longevity

Becky Padilla

The Blue Zones books are based on the initial five areas (which have since grown in number) around the entire world where the healthiest, longest-living people reside. Cameron Diaz's new book, The Longevity Book, captures that same essence of healthful living comprising your complete body and life. Is it possible to do? It is already being done.

Blue Zones communities, restaurants, and businesses have even popped up across the United States promoting healthier living and lifestyles, and making healthier choices easier to access. You can check out the nine U.S. cities promoting the Blue Zones Project, and be sure to visit one!

This means opting for fast food, which is usually unhealthy; canned, prepared meals at the grocery store; and driving through anywhere instead of parking and getting out of the vehicle and walking into an establishment. The simple act of parking 10 spaces further than you normally would and walking into the grocery store adds time to your life, and it is good, healthy time. Simple, natural movement like walking is an easy addition to anybody's day, even for rushed or lazy people.

We are living longer than at any time in history. The general life expectancy in the last half of the 1800s was around 40 years old. It is now around 78 years, and is expected to rise again to 98 years by the last half of this century. But the point is, life expectancy has doubled over the last 150 years. At 40 years of age, people's lives were ending. Now we have virtually a whole additional life's worth of years to live. Shouldn't we at least try to make them as healthy and enjoyable as we can?

Diaz says she feels lucky to be able to age, that aging is a privilege. Some people don't have that privilege of growing older because they die. She thinks of it as a gift, which is not the usual way to think of it in our culture. She has also learned a lot on her journey about many aspects of the aging and beauty equation, one being that "Beauty is not just something you are born with. Beauty is something you grow into."

It isn't just the kind of looks that land you on a GQ cover or a runway or print ad. The most important beauty comes from within, from feeling good about yourself, from giving to others, from being healthful inside in all aspects (or at least most) of your life. Having a healthy inside overflows to your outside and actually gives you another dimension of beauty.

In an interview with The Blue Zones' Dan Buettner, when asked for one piece of longevity advice, Cameron Diaz tells how important that purposeful intent is. "Pay attention. Be connected. Know your body. Listen to it."

[Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images]