Kane Tanaka, the worlds oldest living person, died on April 19, 2022, in Fukuoka in western Japan. Had she been living in Okinawa, known as the Island of Centenarians and one of the five blue zones, who knows how long she might have lived! Blue Zones are places where people live the longest and are the healthiest. These Blue Zones are identified as: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California.
According to our friends at the BBC, for every 100,000 inhabitants, Okinawa has 68 centenarians. That number is more than three times the numbers found in US populations of the same size. Even by the standards of Japan, Okinawans are remarkable, with a 40% greater chance of living to 100 than other Japanese people. Some scientists are looking closely at the high ratio of carbohydrates to protein in the Okinawan diet as a potential secret to their longevity. But, it’s not what you think! Okinawans get the majority of their calories from sweet potato, not rice!
On Japan’s Okinawa Island, nicknamed the “island of longevity,” locals refuse to die. Residents suffer from low levels of heart disease, cancer and dementia, and Okinawans’ robust social life and strong sense of ikigai (a unique purpose in life) often keeps them alive and healthy past the age of 100. Curious to learn a bit more about the place they call the Island of Centenarians? Get the full story here.