Living to 100

October 11, 2005

Living to 100 

Competency #20 Lifestyles of the Long-Lived                Reference: National Geographic October 2005 

 This is the Nugget from National Geographic this month.   Three Populations around the world are being studied for making healthy 100-year-olds.   These three populations are unique in that they have very high rates of longevity and dramatically lower rates of the illnesses that are killing us in our 50s-70s. 

 1.  Okinawa.   Their secrets:  "Eat only until you are 80% full so that there is enough for everyone."   It is culturally appropriate to eat a little less. The elderly are considered very wise and valuable.  You touch the elderly to get strength from them.  Get together with friends.  Enjoy the sunshine.  (a bone to the Vit D argument).  Abundant of fruit and vegetables.  They eat more food in pounds than we do.  But many fewer calories. 

 2.  Sardinia:  Off the coast of Spain.  Many more time's the 100-year-olds than anywhere else in Europe. They eat lots of omega fatty acids:  their meat is all grass-fed.  Their cheese has high omega fatty acids.  They drink daily wine in small amounts.  They never stop working, men and women split the work evenly.  They have high respect for their elders.  They never dream of putting a family member in a nursing home.  And their elders all still work. And Sardinia is quite mountainous.  Up and down.

 3.  Seventh-Day Adventists:   Right Here in America:    They really take a Sabbath once a week on Saturday.  The family is together and they don't work.  They worship in church (as a trivial point, church attendees live longer lives than non-attendees).  They are vegetarian and eat no meat.  The movement started back in the days when Kellogg was inventing his cereal to find nutritious ways to be vegetarian.  They eat lots of nuts, cheese, and peanut butter. They believe in finding your purpose in life.  They have a reason and a goal for living. These are the secrets to integrated health.  It's not just the food.  It's the amount (eat to 80%).  It's the type  (less meat, more veggies).  It's the social network and family and friends,  It's the purpose and roll you play in your life. 

 Wishing you all purpose, good cheese, family and friends.  Raise a toast.  Once a day! 

 WWW:  What will work for me.  What I see integrated into each of these is the importance of family, of purpose, of belonging.  Meals are something to share.  Life is an integration of all of the above.  Work is not just where you earn a living but how you feel purpose and belonging.  Here’s a toast to wishing you and yours meaning and belonging, and a lovely meal to share it over.

This column was written by Dr. John E. Whitcomb, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI. (262-784-5300)