It’s a tiny town in the South of Sardinia, with a unique record. It’s one of the five blue zones worldwide, with a record number of centenarians.
The village of Seulo in Sardinia is in the middle of the region’s hills and mountains. It’s not by the cool and famous beaches of the island. On the contrary, it’s surrounded by pine trees, nature, and fresh, blue water rivers. Still, the salty air of the Mediterranean arrives here, in the inland.
And this mix of fresh air and gorgeous nature might explain the town’s record. In fact, this is the village with the most centenarians in the world. Here, in Seulo in Sardinia, people live well. And they live longer than anyone else.
The centenarians of Seulo in Sardinia
What’s their secret? That’s what everyone wanted to know. Even in Japan, people were asking this question.
In fact, a group of Japanese authorities and representatives visited Seulo and other villages in Sardinia, looking for the golden secret. The two islands united in 2019 thanks to the Islander Summit of Ishigaki, to share experiences. In Seulo, the Japanese tried the local produce, from cheeses to anything in the vegetable gardens. Their goal was to find the ideal “happy society” that leads to a healthy and long life.
Perhaps they found it here, in Sardinia. Researchers flocked to Seulo in Sardinia, looking for medical and scientific reasons for the locals’ longevity. Except, people didn’t take any pills or medications. While they might have some genetic similarities (after all, these are tight-knit communities), the common denominator is their lifestyle.
In Seulo, life has a different rhythm
This is the inland Sardinia of tiny villages where everyone knows everyone. It’s the island of slow rhythm, of naps during the hot summer afternoons and cool winters. In this part of the region, locals don’t have to deal with tourists, noise, or sushi restaurants. They eat what they grow. And they drink that tiny glass of wine, no judgement. Plus, they stroll up and down their villages. That walk is their daily physical exercise, when they stop at corners to chat.
When “slow” is the keyword. From slow food to slow days. In Seulo in Sardinia, locals are in no hurry. If they can produce it, they eat it.
First and foremost, the diet of the centenarians focuses on vegetables. Then, it’s time to fill the table with a tiny portion of animal protein, the omnipresent extra virgin olive oil, and Sardinia’s wine, the Cannonau. Of course, it wouldn’t be a meal without the local goat cheese (caprino) and the flat bread, called carasau.
A slow lifestyle also means focusing on the present and on the community. Since everyone knows everyone, why not help and support each other? In the village of Seulo in Sardinia, centenarians love to spend time chatting on a bench or on the main square. They gossip the hours away, sometimes with the company of a glass of Cannonau. This is how life becomes more meaningful. And giving up isn’t an option.
Furthermore, the physical exercise. In this village of the island, there are no gyms. Their exercise is walking through the quiet alleys, working in their gardens, and perhaps taking a stroll around the woods. These centenarians don’t need to go jogging or to do yoga. And they don’t need a diet. The people of Seulo in Sardinia aren’t about subtracting. They add value to life -and a slice of caprino.
The other blue zones
This tiny village in inland Sardinia isn’t the only blue zone in the world. This label identifies places where life expectancy is higher than the global average. While Seulo has the most centenarians in the world, other regions seem to hide a secret. There are four more blue zones:
- the island of Okinawa in Japan
- Loma Linda, California, with the record for North America
- Nicoya, Costa Rica, where researchers have been since 2007
- Icaria, a Greek island
What unites these communities? The same values of Seulo in Sardinia: family above all, moderate but constant exercise, and a careful diet. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?