Loma Linda Blue Zone lifestyle manages heart health, inflammation

Dr. David Baylink, 92 years old, likes to go to work by motorbike.
Stella Kalinina for Insider

  • People living in California’s Blue Zone of Loma Linda have an average life expectancy of 4 to 10 years longer.
  • Their lifestyle plays a huge role in their longevity.
  • Loma Lindans recommends eating less meat, stretching daily and drinking water.

At first glance, Loma Linda doesn’t look much different from any other suburb in Southern California. There are fast food restaurants, a few big roads, palm trees, and warm sunshine all year round.

And yet, thousands of people living in this town have managed to avoid the chronic diseases that kill many other Americans, such as chronic inflammation and heart problems. If you had to pick the top two factors that affect our ability to live long and healthy lives, naming those two culprits wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Heart disease is the number one killer in America and Control inflammation is so closely linked to how we age that some researchers have nicknamed the harmful effects of inflammation on our bodies over time “inflammation.”

But people live a long time in America Green area of ​​Loma Linda, California often manage to avoid these two problems, and as a result, rates of heart disease and age-related inflammatory conditions such as diabetes are much lower than in other parts of the United States.

These people are not genetically spectacular. Rather, they believe in health, which helps them prioritize daily activities that reduce inflammation and improve circulation in the body.

Insider recently visited Loma Linda to learn more from these guys about how they are as opposed to the odds, and live about four to ten years longer than other Californians. Here are nine longevity secrets that many retired Loma Lindans doctors and nurses shared with Insider for better heart health and fewer chronic diseases.

It’s not necessary to be a vegetarian, but don’t make eating meat a daily habit

Loma Linda is a popular location for Seventh-day Adventists, who settled in this arid, hilly, orange-grove-rich area in 1905 and started a nursing school.

Loma Linda University cardiologist Gary Fraser has studied the effects of a diet rich in vegetables and beans on overall health for decades. He found that even meat-eating Seventh-day Adventists did not eat much meat and that seemed to help them prolong their lives.

“Overall, they only eat about three servings of poultry and red meat per week,” he said.

His advice for a healthy anti-aging diet is Avoid milk and meat as much as possible but still enjoy some animal products.

“There’s a tendency towards vegetarianism, but a little fish, a little cheese, that’s what you can do,” he said.

Add omega 3 to your diet

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Salmon, flaxseeds, canola oil, oatmeal and walnuts can all protect the heart because they are rich in nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acidshelps reduce the amount of fat in your blood, improves blood pressure and slows the buildup of plaque in your arteries.

Fraser, a cardiologist, likes to wander around half a dozen walnuts cereal in the morning, while retired Seventh-day Adventist nurse Mary Reynolds recommends flaxseed to patients trying to lower their cholesterol.


Lucy Lett, 89, and J Mailen Kootsey, 84, play pickleball near Loma Linda.
Stella Kalinina for Insider

Maintaining social relationships helps your body manage stress and Anti-inflammatory.

“You gain some advantages through social support and maintaining relationships as you get older,” says Fraser.

Reynolds, who works in cardiology, says it’s important not to “hibernate” too much.

“Learning how to interact with people and share, that’s how we can thrive,” she said.

Dr. David Baylink, a 92-year-old laboratory scientist and chair of the department of regenerative medicine at Loma Linda University, agrees.

“You need some positive feedback from society to make the most of living longer,” he said.

Have a clear plan for storing fresh food each week

Taking time each week to prioritize purchasing fresh foods at the grocery store helps Loma Linda Seventh-day Adventists adhere to a health-centered diet.

Vegetables like leafy greens can boost circulation and blood flow, and all fresh produce has anti-inflammatory effects due to the beneficial chemical compounds naturally hidden within.

“Fruits and vegetables are unlabeled, and they contains a lot of nutritional value and healthy vitamins,” Reynolds said. “If you eat other foods, such as a lot of sugar in your diet, of course you weaken your immune system.”

University dining services director Greg Sullivan, who operates a meat-free cafeteria in Loma Linda, said he knows it’s difficult to do, but the key to healthy eating is to map out Clear menu for your next week.

“Go shopping once a week, spend a few hours on Saturday or Sunday getting ready,” he says. “Planning helps. It’s the failure to plan that makes you reach for fast food.”

Drink water instead of soda or alcohol

Ethlyn Obland enjoys sharing vegetarian dinners with other women in her community every Saturday.
Stella Kalinina for Insider

The health effects of the Seventh-day Adventist diet have as much to do with what people don’t eat as what they do.

In general, local Seventh-day Adventists told me they drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol (there are no liquor stores or cocktail bars in Loma Linda.)

Sugary drinks are a major factor in inflammation-related diseases, including obesity and diabetes. In addition to being immediate inflammatory effect it can have on the body, alcohol is also the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the US.

Retired Adventist nurse Ethlyn Oblyn says that “drinking enough water and not harming our bodies by smoking or drinking alcohol” is one of the big pillars of health for Seventh-day Adventists .

Baylink, the 93-year-old researcher, says he doesn’t even drink coffee in the morning, which is not unusual in Loma Linda, since Seventh-day Adventists have traditionally shunned stimulants of all kinds. .

“I just drink a lot of water and bike to work,” he said.

Rest and refresh at least one day a week

Seventh-day Adventists often take time out from the hustle and bustle of life every Saturday and go to church.

It is a tradition rooted in religion but supported also by science. Chronic stress is inflammatory, so taking time to relax and unplug is actually great for keeping your body youthful.

Obland said the Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath is designed for rest, worship and connection with friends and family. Typically, Seventh-day Adventists enjoy a vegetable-centered potluck meal on Saturdays.

“Close your doors and take a day to worship with your friends and enjoy being together,” she said. “It’s so refreshing to have one day a week to just sit back and listen to God.”

Join a cooking class

Chef Shawn “Grumpy” Wood, who creates the daily menu at Loma Linda Market, said seasoning is a key element in vegetarian food. His recipes include many flavorful herbs and spices, like rosemary, green onions and hot jalapenos.

Because vegetables and beans don’t have the same type of juicy fat inside that gives meat its delicious flavor, learn how to give your meatless dishes a “mouthfeel” with plenty of olive oil. olives and season them. Sullivan said that with spices, it will help you eat healthier.

He recommends taking a cooking class or watching chefs on YouTube and Instagram for tips.

Enjoy the scenery

Mental health experts say Benefits of immersing yourself in nature may help combat stressors like loneliness, a major cause of chronic inflammation. Seventh-day Adventists in sunny Loma Linda follow this principle every day, enjoying hikes in the hills, strolls on the nearby beach and outdoor games of pickleball.

“Being outdoors and seeing the beauty of creation, seeing the birds and the trees and the flowers, we go for a lot of nature walks and it really brings a whole atmosphere,” Reynolds said. different for your mind.”

Some Seventh-day Adventists, like Baylink, use the Sabbath to take long walks after church.

Stretch out

Loma Lindans would like to take a few minutes to stretch Daily.

Typically, people will take an aerobics class with friends in the morning or just relax at home when they wake up.

That’s what retired physicist and physiologist Mailen Kootsey, 84, does.

“I wake up in the morning and do about 20 minutes of basically just stretching, not lifting anything heavy or doing anything really vigorous but just plain limping,” he said. .

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