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10+ Secrets to Longevity in Loma Linda.

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Loma Linda is one of the five blue zones in the world, but the only one in the United States.

This community of about 9,000 Adventists belongs to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and has been in this sunny pocket of Southern California since the 1840s.

These Loma Linda residents live 10 years longer than the rest of the world, largely due to their vegetarianism and regular exercise. Adventists also do not smoke or drink alcohol.

While genes only contribute 20 percent to longevity, join me in uncovering Loma Linda’s longevity secrets by focusing on diet and lifestyle habits that experts say can be emulated.

loma linda, the blue zone

What is a blue zone?

Blue Zones are regions where residents live longer than the global average life expectancy due to their lifestyle and dietary habits promoting longevity. These areas experience lower rates of chronic illnesses like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

The concept of Blue Zones originated from research conducted by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, but it gained worldwide recognition through journalist Dan Buettner and his book, The Blue Zones (1)

Loma Linda in California is one such recognized Blue Zone. Other notable Blue Zones include Nicoya in Costa Rica, Sardinia in Italy, Ikaria in Greece, and Okinawa in Japan.

Why do residents of Loma Linda live 10 years longer than the rest?

Unlike the other Blue Zones, which are associated with specific geographic areas, Loma Linda in California is associated with the Seventh-day Adventist community.

The longevity observed in Loma Linda is closely related to the lifestyle and eating habits of the Adventists living there. This community places great emphasis on health, including vegetarianism, regular exercise, abstinence from smoking and alcohol, and adherence to religious practices such as keeping the Sabbath.

10+ Secrets to the Longevity of Loma Linda Residents

nuts, oatmeal, avocado, soya milk, cornflakes, brewer’s yeast, spinach, beans, vegemite

traditional plant-based diet

The Seventh-day Adventist faith encourages a plant-based diet, inspired by Genesis 1:29, focusing on whole foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts, and legumes. This reflects a return to the peaceful state of the Garden of Eden and emphasizes kindness to animals.

Blue Zones researchers found that centenarians in Loma Linda maintain a balanced diet, with vegetables, fruits, beans, and dairy as their main foods. They consume minimal sugar and prioritize nutrient-rich foods. 

breakfast like a king

In this community, breakfast is a big deal. Adventists kick off their dining with a hearty meal, followed by smaller portions throughout the day, often snacking on nuts. 

American nutritionist Adelle Davis is said to have recommended a dietary approach of “eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner early in the evening avoids flooding the body with calories during the inactive parts of the day,” a philosophy that aligns with Adventist practices. 


For breakfast, Adventists often choose whole grains,  oatmeal, Cornflakes, or Weetabix. Oatmeal, a favorite, offers a mix of fats, complex carbs, and plant protein, along with iron and B vitamins.


One of their favorite fruits are avocados, that  are packed with potassium and low in salt, which can help lower blood pressure and the chance of stroke. In fact, they contain 30 percent more potassium than a banana. In Loma Linda, people use avocado in dishes like avocado toast, guacamole, salads, smoothies, and sandwiches, adding flavor and nutrition.


Soya Milk

Soy milk, particularly the unsweetened, unflavored variety, is a dairy alternative high in protein and low in fat. It contains phytoestrogens, which may offer protection against certain types of cancer.


Green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.


As in all blue zones, beans are the king. For vegetarian Adventists, beans, lentils, and peas serve as essential daily sources of protein.

24-hour Sabbath

The 24-hour Sabbath, observed by Seventh-day Adventists from sunset Friday through all day Saturday, offers a weekly respite from the demands of everyday life. They prioritize family, God, social connections, and outdoor activities like nature hikes. Adventists believe this time reduces stress, fosters community bonds, and ensures regular physical activity, regardless of their schedules.

older women is cycling


The Adventist Health Survey (AHS) indicates that you don’t have to be a marathon runner to maximize your life expectancy. Engaging in regular, low-intensity exercise like daily walks can help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

Adventists prioritize exercise, often opting for outdoor walks with others. Research suggests people are influenced by the behaviors of those around them. Consider joining a sports league or book club to connect with someone who shares your interests.

It’s common for families to gather for potlucks after church services, followed by nature hikes—a gentle form of exercise made inviting by Southern California’s typically mild weather.

Find your tribe – Spend time with like-minded friends.

While a large portion of Loma Linda’s population is Seventh-day Adventist, you don’t have to convert to reflect their principles.

Find your tribe by spending time with like-minded friends, as Adventists often do. Start by investing in relationships with people who energize you, as happiness is often attributed to strong social connections. Quality matters more than quantity, so even having three connections can help.

Eating nuts on snacks

Snacking on nuts  is a common practice among Adventists and has been associated with significant health benefits. Studies show that consuming nuts at least five times a week can reduce the risk of heart disease by 50% and extend lifespan by about two years. Nuts, including pistachios, walnuts, and almonds, are nutrient-dense and have been found to add two to three years to lifespans when eaten regularly.

snack on nuts

Give something back.

Like many faiths, the Seventh-day Adventist Church encourages and provides opportunities for its members to volunteer. Centenarians stay active, find purpose, and stave off depression by focusing on helping others.

Many Loma Linda residents do not smoke or drink alcohol

The study revealed that nearly 99% of Adventists abstain from smoking, and only about 6% consume alcohol. These lifestyle choices have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases and premature death.

According to Westerdahl, Seventh-day Adventists typically avoid alcohol and caffeine, including caffeinated sodas, with alternatives like tomato juice or sparkling water at gatherings. Coffee substitutes such as Kaffree Roma, resembling and tasting like coffee but caffeine-free, are commonly offered instead of coffee.

longevity in loma linda
Vladka on May 27th, 2024

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