Do you want to live forever? I do. I plan on sticking around for as long as possible and Dan Buettner of The Huffington Post has compiled a list of nine healthy habits that’ll help get you to 100
. Take a look:
For the the last five years, I've been taking teams of scientists to five pockets around the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives. We call these places the Blue Zones. We found a Bronze-age mountain culture in Sardinia, Italy, that has 20 times as many 100-year-olds as the U.S. does, proportionally. In Okinawa, Japan, we found people with the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. In the Blue Zones (Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, Calif.; and the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica), people live 10 years longer, experience a sixth the rate of cardiovascular disease and a fifth the rate of major cancers.
- Move naturally: Be active without thinking about it. Identify activities you enjoy and make them a part of your day. Cut calories by 20 percent.
- Cut calories by 20 percent: Practice "Hara hachi bi," the Okinawan reminder to stop eating once their stomachs are 80 percent full.
- Plant-based diet: No, you don't need to become a vegetarian, but do bump up your intake of fruits and veggies.
- Drink red wine: In moderation.
- Plan de Vida: Determine your life purpose. Why do you get up in the morning?
- Down shift: Take time to relieve stress. You may have to literally schedule it into your day, but relaxation is key.
- Belong/participate in a spiritual community.
- Put loved ones first/make family a priority.
- Pick the right tribe: The people surrounding you influence your health more than almost any other factor.
These are fantastic suggestions. Be active, eat plants, and relax—perfect! You won’t get much argument out of Dr. Fuhrman:
Increasing the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds (and greatly decreasing the consumption of animal products) offers profound increased longevity potential, due in large part to broad symphony of life-extending phytochemical nutrients that a vegetable-based diet contains…
… Centenarian studies in Europe illustrate that those individuals living into their hundreds were likely to have consumed a plant-based diet consisting of fewer than 2000 calories per day. Multiple studies have confirmed that the thinnest people live the longest…
… As we condition our muscles and gain strength, our bones thicken and strengthen along with the muscle. Without regular exercise along the way, your bone structure can deteriorate as you get older. Some people survive with weak bones, but their quality of life suffers when they are immobilized by arthritis and osteoporosis…
…A safe and satisfying work environment, a happy marriage, a satisfying social and/or family life, and activities you enjoy are all related to positive health outcomes. Emotional wellness starts right here your finger tips end. As you respect and appreciate the value in the world around you and develop interests in other people and in such things as art, music, entertainment, sports, nature, and physical activity, you can respect yourself more for your ability and desire to appreciate the value of things not yourself.
Okinawans are fascinating people. These avid plant-eaters live a long-long time. In fact, they made John Robbins’s list of longest-lived people in his book Healthy at 100
. Check it out:
- Abkhasia: Ancients of the Caucasus, where people are healthier at ninety than most of us are at middle age.
- Vilcabamba: The Valley of Eternal Youth, where heart disease and dementia do not exist.
- Hunza: A People Who Dance in Their Nineties, where cancer, diabetes, and asthma are unknown.
- The Centenarians of Okinawa: Where more people live to 100 than anywhere else in the world.
Now, for the flipside, primitive people like Inuit Greenlanders and Kenyan Maasai have short life expectancies
—why? Too much meat in their diets. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Inuit Greenlanders, who historically have had limited access to fruits and vegetables, have the worst longevity statistics in North America. Research from the past and present shows that they die on the average about 10 years younger and have a higher rate of cancer than the overall Canadian population.1
Similar statistics are available for the high meat-consuming Maasai in Kenya. They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that, historically, Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.2
I guess the same can be said about us; between all the fast food, beef jerky, potato chips, cheese pizza, and no exercise, Americans start dying at middle-age. We’d learn a lot from our foreign neighbors.