L’acqua Viva Resort thrives in a Costa Rica Blue Zone

Blue Zones book by Dan BuettnerDid you know that L’acqua Viva Resort & Spa in Costa Rica is located in a Blue Zone? That doesn’t mean people are blue or depressed here. Rather, it means this is a place for long life.

The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, where L’acqua Viva Resort is located, is a special place known as a Blue Zone. People in this northwest region of Costa Rica in Central America are more than twice as likely as people in the United States to reach a healthy age of at least 90.

U.S. author and researcher Dan Buettner popularized the term “Blue Zone” in his 2008 book, “The Blue Zones”, based on his research with National Geographic and the world’s top longevity scientists to identify places around the world where people live measurably longer and better. After identifying five of the world’s Blue Zones, they found that people there reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States.

The name “Blue Zones” comes from a 2004 demographic study called “Identification of a Geographic Area Characterized by Extreme Longevity in the Sardinia Island: the AKEA study” (Experimental Gerontology by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, among other authors). The study identified Sardinia’s Barbagia region as having a very high concentration of men over age 100. As the authors discovered more clusters of long longevity in the world, they began drawing blue circles around them on maps, referring to the areas as “Blue Zones.”

In addition to Nicoya, Costa Rica, the other Blue Zones in the world are: Okinawa, Japan; the island of Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; and the Barbagia region of Sardinia, off the western coast of Italy.

Buettner and the teams of scientists found that the lifestyles of all Blue Zones’ residents shared nine specific characteristics, which Buettner calls “the Power 9®.”

Blue Zone Nicoya Costa Rica centenarian Panchita

Secrets of long life in Nicoya Costa Rica

Have a reason to live.Centenarians say they feel needed, with a strong sense of purpose that usually centers on their family and/or community. This helps Nicoyan elders maintain a positive outlook and active lifestyle.

Drink mineral-rich water. Water on the Nicoya Peninsula has a very high calcium and magnesium content, which might explain the region’s lower rates of heart disease, as well as stronger bones.

Blue Zone healthy diet of beans and corn

Healthy lifestyle. Like most Blue Zone residents in the world, Nicoyan elders eat little to no processed foods, and instead a primarily plant-based diet, especially of beans, corn and vegetables, and antioxidant-rich tropical fruit. They eat meat only a few times per week. Eating their main meal earlier in the day, and a light dinner early in the evening, is another way older Nicoyans stay healthy. Smoking is not common in Blue Zone communities.

Focus on family. Centenarians in Nicoya tend to live with or near their families; their children and grandchildren provide support and a sense of purpose and belonging.

Maintain social networks. Nicoyan centenarians are frequently visited by friends and neighbors. They know how to listen, laugh, and appreciate what they have.

Work hard. Nicoyan centenarians have had a strong work ethic their whole lives, which keeps them active and healthy and contributes to their sense of purpose. Physical activity, mostly outdoors, is a normal part of daily life – walking, bicycling, gardening, taking care of animals, cooking, keeping up the house, etc.

Blue Zone Nicoya Costa Rica outdoor work

Get some sun (sensibly).Nicoyans enjoy healthy doses of daily sun, which helps their bodies produce vitamin D for strong bones and healthy body function. Getting “smart” sun exposure (about 15 minutes on your legs and arms) every day can decrease the risk for osteoporosis and heart disease, experts say.

Have faith.The Nicoyans’ strong belief in God and their “faith routines” help relieve stress and anxiety, and bring peace and tranquility to their lives.

Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

Travel to the Blue Zone of the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Enjoy a Costa Rica beach vacation in the Nicoya Peninsula Blue Zone when you stay at L'acqua Viva Resort & Spa. The intimate Costa Rica boutique hotel is located in Playa Guiones in Nosara. Here you can soak in healthy life in beautiful nature, with no-stress relaxing and some of the best surfing beaches in Costa Rica.

Article by Shannon Farley

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