Since when your heart stops beating, you are generally considered to have died, a cardiologist, someone who specializes in the health of your heart, is a great person to ask how to live a long and healthy life.
One cardiologist shares that he was once told that in order to achieve something that you are strongly motivated to achieve, the best course of action is to find someone who had already achieved it and learn from them. Below, a cardiologist shares what we can learn from people who live to be 100 and beyond and also points out the lifestyles and habits of those people that are believed to be behind their long lives.
People from the following places were studied because they tended to live to be 100 and beyond:
They are: (1) Okinawa, Japan; (2) Loma Linda, California; (3) Sardinia, Italy; (4) Nicoya, Costa Rica; and (5) Ikaria, Greece.
Common patterns were found among these 5 zones of excess centenarians, even though they are far from one another. These include:
-An absence of smoking
-Daily physical activity centered on walking
-A plant-heavy diet with very small amounts of animal protein
-Strong family connections, and strong social connections.
-Processed foods, fast foods, junk foods…? Forget about it!
Different areas had unique health habits. In Loma Linda, for example, where the Seventh Day Adventist Church is based, it’s common to honor the Sabbath as a day of disconnecting from technology and visiting friends and family. Vegetarianism is a celebrated lifestyle, and eating nuts is common. Drinking alcohol is rare.
In Okinawa, it’s taught that you should eat until you are 80% full, and the average daily food intake there is hundreds of calories less than in other parts of Japan. Sardinians are known for their cannonau wine reinforced with as much as three times the polyphenols like resveratrol than other regions growing red wine and consume a high amount of fava beans.
Costa Ricans consume many oranges and their water is hard and rich in minerals. Ikarians eat a classic Mediterranean diet rich in home grown vegetables. They enjoy herbal teas daily, and fast frequently. Another reason for their longevity and heart health? Recently boiled Greek coffee, which is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols.
Are there lessons we can incorporate into our lives drawn from 5 corners of the world where people age more consistently, more gracefully, and with more vitality? Buettner and others have summarized lessons to adopt including:
- Play daily
- Walk often
- Move naturally in work (for example doing yard work manually instead of using mechanical devices)
- Live with a purpose (for helping others)
- Find ways to reduce stress through rest, prayer, and/or humor
- Eat less
- Eat fewer animal products and use legumes as the core of a fiber rich diet
- Drink in moderation if it’s acceptable to you
- Let faith have a role in your life
- Emphasize family and loving relationships
- Have social networks