A couple of years ago I read Dan Beuttner’s book The Blue Zones.
Mr. Beuttner is a National Geographic Explorer and he traveled the globe in search of places where people live the longest, with low rates of chronic disease. He identified 5 places which he called “Blue Zones”:
Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), the Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Icaria (Greece), and the Seventh-day Adventists of Loma Linda, California. Five communities from four continents. While each population had a different lifestyle and diet, there were commonalities found between them.
Here are the 9 lessons learned from The Blue Zones:
- Move daily, with moderate physical activity
- Participate in family life
- Have a sense of community
- Faith-based practice
- Eat a plant-based diet
- Stop eating when 80% full
- Drink alcohol in moderation daily
- Go to work or other activities that provide a sense of purpose
- Practice mindfulness, as well as stress reduction
As an oncologist, I believe these 9 lessons can help patients heal from their cancer treatment and empower themselves to prevent the cancer from recurring. Patients who calmly face their chemo and radiation treatments with a sense of purpose, surrounded by family and friends, see the diagnosis and treatment as an opportunity for growth. These are the people we learn from, who can show us a path to healing and recovery.
Dr. Norleena Gullett is a Radiation Oncologist at Erlanger Cancer Institute in Chattanooga, TN. In addition to her medical expertise, she strives to offer emotional, psychological, and spiritual support in her care for her patients. She prides herself on treating you, the whole person, with the best care possible.