Most recent research* indicates that it’s a 50:50 tie between nature and nurture in determining how well our bodies will weather the aging process. So how can we best improve the elements within our control?
Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow, has been looking for clues into long life by studying the five places on Earth where people routinely live to over 100 and remain mostly free from heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes.
Here’s what he found:
- Daily Exercise
- This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym but rather embracing physical activity throughout the day such as biking, gardening…dancing, and moving every day.
- Vegetarian Diet
- A commonality between the five places was that meat was non-existent from their diet or eaten only for special occasions. People mostly ate vegetables, beans, dairy, and tree nuts and rarely over-indulged or eating until ‘stuffed’.
- Moderate Drinking
- This is the best one! Alcohol was a feature of their diets with people drinking 1 or 2 drinks daily and red wine was the dominant choice.
- Life Purpose
- ‘Retirement’ was a less common concept with older people retaining jobs within the community and helping with child minding and charity work.
- Support Network
- These communities have stayed well-connected and individuals prioritize time spent with loved ones. Furthermore, time spent together reinforces healthy habits as social circles are like-minded.
You can hear from the man himself here:
* Twin Study published in Nature Genetics