YOU might have heard of Loma Linda as it made headlines as one of the world's five Blue Zones – spots where people often live up to the ripe old age of 100.
The sunny Californian suburb stands in contrast to other regions of America, where heart disease is the number one killer.
The UK is no different. Heart and circulatory diseases cause more than 160,000 deaths in the UK yearly – that amounts to a quarter of all deaths, according to the British Heart Foundation.
But residents of Loma Linda – the US's only Blue Zone – on average live four to 10 more years than other Californians, with many of those years largely disease free.
Their rates of heart disease and diabetes are much lower than any other US region.
Though it might seem like residents have simply hit a genetic jackpot, author Dan Buettner – who pioneered the concept of Blue Zones after studying long living populations across the world – reckons it has something to do with their diet and lifestyle.
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Loma Lindans' daily routine inadvertently seems to focus on improving circulation and bringing down inflammation – this is your body's natural response to infection or harmful substances.
But health experts say that chronic inflammation can be detrimental to your health. Harvard Health even says it could be a major cause of fatty substance buildup in the arteries, heart attacks and strokes.
So why not do like the Blue Zoners do and take a leaf out of Loma Linda residents' book. Here are nine lifestyle tips they swear by.
1. Lay off meat and dairy
Loma Linda is actually home to a large community of Seventh-day Adventist Christians, many of whom don't eat meat.
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Even those that do only have a couple portions weekly.
"By and large, they're only eating about three servings of both poultry and red meat per week," Loma Linda University cardiologist Gary Fraser told Insider.
He thinks Adventists lack of meat and dairy eating is one of the keys to their longevity.
Gary's advice was to 'trend towards vegan', while still enjoying a little meat and cheese.
2. Eat heart healthy fats
Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the amount of fat that enters your blood after a meal, slow plaque buildup in your arteries and improve blood pressure and circulation, according to Heart UK.
Gary said he likes to add walnuts to his cereal each morning, as the nuts are rich in the healthy fats.
You can also find them in foods like:
- oily fish, including salmon
- seeds like flax, chia, pumpkin and hemp
- green leafy vegetables
3. Avoid social hibernation
Keeping connected to your social circle and being able to interact and share with other people can be key to reducing stress, a major factor that causes bodily inflammation, according to Gary.
This is especially important as people get older and it's easier to fall into cycles of loneliness.
Dr David Baylink, a lab scientist and head of regenerative medicine at Loma Linda University told Insider: "You need to have some kind of positive feedback from society in order to get the most out of living longer."
4. Stock up on fresh food weekly
We all know that loading up on fresh fruit and veg is the key to good health.
But if you're finding that you're not having enough weekly, it might actually have a lot to do with the way you shop for food.
It's easier to reach for a sugary snack if you don't have something fresh and nutritious at hand.
It comes as nutritionist Kim Schweiger warned Sun Health that refined sugar – found in chocolate, cakes, fizzy drinks and even cereals – "is bad for every part of your body and linked to all chronic diseases".
University dining services director in Loma Linda, Greg Sullivan, said the key to healthy eating is mapping out a menu for your week ahead of your food shop.
He advised doing a big haul once a week and planning out your meals day by day so you don't reach for fast food and sugary snacks.
5. Swear off the fizzy pop
Adventists in Loma Linda tend to avoid any kind of stimulant drinks like fizzy pop, alcohol and even coffee.
Smoking also fits into the stimulant category.
Instead, these Blue Zoners guzzle lots of water.
6. Have a rest day every week
Stress can lead to inflammation in your body so taking at least a day a week to totally unplug and reset can do much to keep your body young.
For Adventists, this involves heading to church every Saturday.
But for you, this can simply mean meeting up with friends, taking a walk, reading a good book, taking a yoga class, or any other activity that you find relaxing.
7. Stretch out daily
Many Loma Lindans will take a few minutes out of each day to stretch their body out.
Retired physicist and physiologist Mailen Kootsey said he does 20 minutes of stretching daily, "not lifting any heavy weights or doing anything really strong, but just basically limbering up".
You can take a class in the morning or simply do your own stretch routine.
8. Enjoy the great outdoors
Spending time outside and in nature has been shown to diffuse stress, anxiety and depression and can even help with feelings of loneliness.
This is a principle that Loma Lindans adhere by daily, as they take time out of their day to go on a walk to the beach or a hike or even enjoy a game in the park.
9. Take a cooking class
If cutting the meat and dairy out of your diet seems bland, the answer might actually be to better season your vegetarian food.
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The dining services director Greg suggested taking a cooking class or watching chefs on YouTube and Instagram for tips in order to learn how to give veggie dishes flavour and a good "mouthfeel".
He said plenty of olive oil and herbs and spices like rosemary, green onions and jalapenos can do the trick.
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