The Cycle | December 07, 2012
>>> is the key to living longer where you live? they have spent the last decade investigating parts of the world. it's not just surviving but thriving. one suck place is the greek island of ikaria home to 10,000 greek nationals. that's right next where balki from perfect strangers is from. i have to check the map. they're two and a half times as likely to live to 90. men are four times likely to reach 90 and with better health to boot. they live a decade longer with both cancer and heart disease , two leading causes of death in the u.s. dan is featured in the "new york times" magazine is titled the island where people forget to die. dan , thanks for joining us. the most basic question is this indi dietary? what are are people doing to live so long?
>> it's not a silver bullet but buckshot. they have several kinds -- we think the cornerstone of longevity is beans, but they have 80 different kinds of greens that have ten times more antioxidants than wine does and they have three types of teas that these people have drank most of their lives. we think these teas have not only anti-inflammatories but they're mild diuretics which predicts lower rates of heart disease and also of dementia. their minds stay sharp until the end.
>> when you look at it's not all one thing. but i look at my life right now. my diet is a total and complete mess. i'm over 30 years old.
>> you're kidding?
>> can people pick this up in the middle of life or get all the benefits of it, or are you screwed if you haven't done it since birth?
>> you can benefit by making a few small changes. americans think the way to health and longevity is diet and exercise programs. those are huge failures. when you look at these highly functions people in blue zones around the look at these people functioning in blue zones , longevity happen to them. none of these 100-year-olds wake up and say i want to live to 100. it's their environment. the purpose of this "new york times" article and my book "the blue zones ," was really to look at the environmental components that explain longevity.
>> so, dan , one of the things that fascinated me in this article, this one man in his 60s, living in america , diagnosed with cancer, given nine months to live. he moves home to ikaria and he's feeling better, working in his garden. it's 30 years later, the end of the story is he comes back to talk to the u.s. to talk to his doctors to say what do you think happened to the cancer and his doctors have passed away. it's an amazing story and anecdote but what is it specifically about the lifestyle and diet there that helps treat and prevent cancer?
>> well, i think it's probably the diet. it's a very clean environment. it's not only what they eat, it's how they eat. they're not eating standing up or on the run. they tend to eat with their family. it's slow. they're overlooking the aegean. i think also if you look at their terrain, there's not more than 100 yards of flatter rain, so their whole day is laced with gentle physical activity which keeps their metabolism at higher rates and keeps their food being processed more smoothly and more thoroughly throughout the day.
>> so now that we're talking about what's being done other places, if you want to bring it to the united states , i think we would be hard to have change all of those habits, but i understand you're using sample blue zones or you're trying to create them. what do you think the biggest challenge is there?
>> well, the biggest challenge is to get people thinking about change in the environment rather than thinking about fun runs and eating your veggies. i'm in los angeles right now. we work with the beach city health district here, and after two years of using blue zones tenets applying them to cities, we've seen 1500 fewer people who are obese. about 3,000 fewer smokers by just changing the way the policies, the built environment , social networks , and the way buildings were designed mimicked what we saw in blue zones around the world.
>> the good news is balke is going to live to 100. we have a couple decades. dan , thank you so much for joining us. straight ahead, toure is all about the movies this friday afternoon. he will tell us why a new one about the search for osama bin laden may be the best -- may be the year's best.