How does living to the age of 100 or beyond sound to you? The population of "Centenarians" is growing around the world, and the United States ranks the highest. Much of this longevity can be contributed to better living conditions and modern medicine, but research also shows that lifestyle choices greatly impact the length of your life. Studies like The Longevity Project, by Dr. Howard Friedman and Dr. Leslie Martin, analyzes an 80 year study on what it takes to make it to that golden age of 100 and beyond.
Each of us has to make our own path to a long healthy life, focusing on our own uniqueness and lifestyle choices that make sense. Here are a few recommendations that will get you on the centenarian course.
- Be conscientious: studies indicate that conscientious people do more things to protect their health and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors like smoking, excessive drinking and drug abuse.
- Consume whole foods: follow the Food Rules of Michael Pollan; "If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't." A whole-food nutritional approach supports better health and longevity by giving your body essential vitamins and nutrients that processed foods lack. Research suggests that people who have higher blood levels of antioxidants like selenium, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, age better physically and cognitively.
- Don't forget to floss: regular flossing will reduce the amount of disease causing bacteria build-up in your mouth. These bacteria can enter your bloodstream and trigger inflammation in the arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease.
- Get some sleep: getting between 6-8 hours of sleep per night is a critical function that our bodies need to rest, repair, and rejuvenate on a deep cellular level.
- Exercise: It's the fountain of youth! Exercising on a regular basis improves your mood, mental acuity, muscle mass and balance. All of which are increasingly important as we age.
It's obvious that our genetic background contributes to our longevity. However, we can't pick our parents! So, take matters into your own hands, and control what you can. Choose a healthy lifestyle and stay with it. It will help you "Feel Better and Live Longer!".
Jody Anderson, RN, CHC
Succeed Health, LLC