You can read my review here.
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The brutal reality about aging is that it has only an accelerator pedal.
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People used to think if a multivitamin was good for them, then more of it would be even better, but that’s just not true, unfortunately.
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The best diet is basically one of moderation.
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Living an extra two years on life support may not necessarily be your goal. The question is: Can you delay the onset of disability? “Good years” is a very important concept.
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The other thing that helps a lot of people is doing something they feel is either interesting or worthwhile. Again, different people have different things they like to do. For instance, people talk about workaholics as being at higher risk for stress-related illness. But there is no evidence that workaholics are necessarily at higher risk if they really are enjoying what they’re doing.
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Everyday hikes taken by Sardinian shepherds can burn up to 490 calories an hour; to get the equivalent, try 120 minutes of brisk walking (about 3.5 mph), 90 minutes of gardening, 2 hours of bowling, or 120 minutes of golfing (be sure to carry your bag).
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“Mostly I’ve always tried to remember that when you get good things from life, enjoy them, because they won’t be there forever.”
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All but one of the 50 or so centenarians I interviewed had a daughter or granddaughter who actively cared for them.
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SARDINIA’S BLUE ZONE LESSONS To live like a Sardinian centenarian, try the following practices. Eat a lean, plant-based diet accented with meat. The classic Sardinian diet consists of whole-grain bread, beans, garden vegetables, fruits, and, in some parts of the island, mastic oil. Sardinians also traditionally eat pecorino cheese made from grass-fed sheep, whose cheese is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Meat is largely reserved for Sundays and special occasions. Put family first. Sardinia’s strong family values help assure that every member of the family is cared for. People who live in strong, healthy families suffer lower rates of depression, suicide, and stress. Drink goat’s milk. A glass of goat’s milk contains components that might help protect against inflammatory diseases of aging such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Celebrate elders. Grandparents can provide love, childcare, financial help, wisdom, and expectations/motivation to perpetuate traditions and push children to succeed in their lives. This may all add up to healthier, better adjusted, and longer-lived children. It may give the overall population a life expectancy bump. Take a walk. Walking five miles a day or more as Sardinian shepherds do provides all the cardiovascular benefits you might expect, and also has a positive effect on muscle and bone metabolism without the joint-pounding of running marathons or triathlons. Drink a glass or two of red wine daily. Tonino, Sebastiano, and Giovanni all drank wine moderately. Cannonau wine has two to three times the level of artery-scrubbing flavonoids as other wines. Moderate wine consumption may help explain the lower levels of stress among men. Laugh with friends. Men in this Blue Zone are famous for their sardonic sense of humor. They gather in the street each afternoon to laugh with and at each other. Laughter reduces stress, which can lower one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
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“Okinawa people are able to grow vegetables in gardens all year long,” he said, referring to the island’s comparatively tropical climate. “They don’t need to make pickles and preserve food as people do in Japan’s northern islands.” A salt-heavy diet may contribute to high blood pressure and weaken cerebral arteries, he said, causing micro-tears that are precursors to strokes.
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“Hara hachi bu?” I repeated. “It’s a Confucian-inspired adage,” Craig chimed in. “All of the old folks say it before they eat. It means ‘Eat until you are 80 percent full.’ We write about it in The Okinawa Program.”
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“I think the fact that she still retains her duties as a noro is very important,” he replied. “Roles are very important here in Okinawa. They call it ikigai—the reason for waking up in the morning. A sudden loss of a person’s traditional role can have a measurable effect on mortality. We see this especially among teachers and policemen who die very soon after they quit working. Police and teachers have very clear senses of purpose and relatively high status. Once they retire, they lose both of those qualities and they tend to decline rapidly. I believe the reverse is true too. Kamada remains functioning longer because she feels needed.”
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“Okinawans see vegetables. I see powerful anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer drugs,”
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Similarly, I don’t think the first person who ever chewed a hot pepper thought, “Mmm, good.” Capsaicin, pepper’s active ingredient, is literally caustic to the flesh. But somehow, human taste has evolved to enjoy the taste of pepper. Why? Because capsaicin is a natural disinfectant, and it kills many types of food-borne bacteria. Put hot pepper in slightly rancid meat, and it inhibits bacteria. The person who eats the meal with the pepper lives. The person who eats the meal without the pepper gets sick and could die. Over time, the survivors acquire a taste for it, and a healthy culture evolves.
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Vitamin D in our bodies controls key elements of the immune system, blood pressure, and cell growth, and is important for cancer regulation. And in the test tube, vitamin D kills the cancers that most often kill Americans.”
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OKINAWA’S LONGEVITY LESSONS Among the centenarians in Okinawa’s Blue Zone, these practices are common. Embrace an ikigai. Older Okinawans can readily articulate the reason they get up in the morning. Their purpose-imbued lives gives them clear roles of responsibility and feelings of being needed well into their 100s. Rely on a plant-based diet. Older Okinawans have eaten a plant-based diet most of their lives. Their meals of stir-fried vegetables, sweet potatoes, and tofu are high in nutrients and low in calories. Goya, with its antioxidants and compounds that lower blood sugar, is of particular interest. While centenarian Okinawans do eat some pork, it is traditionally reserved only for infrequent ceremonial occasions and taken only in small amounts. Get gardening. Almost all Okinawan centenarians grow or once grew a garden. It’s a source of daily physical activity that exercises the body with a wide range of motion and helps reduce stress. It’s also a near-constant source of fresh vegetables. Eat more soy. The Okinawan diet is rich foods made with soy, like tofu and miso soup. Flavonoids in tofu may help protect the hearts and guard against breast cancer. Fermented soy foods contribute to a healthy intestinal ecology and offer even better nutritional benefits. Maintain a moai. The Okinawan tradition of forming a moai provides secure social networks. These safety nets lend financial and emotional support in times of need and give all of their members the stress-shedding security of knowing that there is always someone there for them. Enjoy the sunshine. Vitamin D, produced by the body when it’s exposed on a regular basis to sunlight, promotes stronger bones and healthier bodies. Spending time outside each day allows even senior Okinawans to have optimal vitamin D levels year-round. Stay active. Older Okinawans are active walkers and gardeners. The Okinawan household has very little furniture; residents take meals and relax sitting on tatami mats on the floor. The fact that old people get up and down off the floor several dozen times daily builds lower body strength and balance, which help protect against dangerous falls. Plant a medicinal garden. Mugwort, ginger, and turmeric are all staples of an Okinawan garden, and all have proven medicinal qualities. By consuming these every day, Okinawans may be protecting themselves against illness. Have an attitude. A hardship-tempered attitude has endowed Okinawans with an affable smugness. They’re able to let their difficult early years remain in the past while they enjoy today’s simple pleasures. They’ve learned to be likable and to keep younger people in their company well into their old age. An American Blue Zone
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“The term Ellen White used was ‘the right arm of the church.’ That was her phrase for the health message,” Giang said. “I think what she meant was that this right arm could reach across cultures and shake hands and open doors. And it also became a good way for paying the bills.”
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On the way up, I asked if she ever got lonely. “Well, sure, you miss people. Most of my friends have died. My husband is dead,”
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People come and talk to me because I’m old, and that’s the last I hear from them. They probably think I’m going to die, or have already died. But I’m still here.”
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Another part of Adventist beliefs is that the Sabbath reminds us we are creatures and not creators,” he said. “It reminds us that we don’t need to have all the answers, that we recognize our finite capabilities, and that we are dependent on God. That also is part of the sanctuary.”
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I would conjecture his good health habits helped him recover. I know that it really helps me to have purpose to what I’m doing, to have a job and finish the job and have another job, and to enjoy that process.
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LOMA LINDA’S BLUE ZONE SECRETS Try these tactics practiced by America’s longevity all-stars. Find a sanctuary in time. A weekly break from the rigors of daily life, the 24-hour Sabbath provides a time to focus on family, God, camaraderie, and nature. Adventists claim this relieves their stress, strengthens social networks, and provides consistent exercise. Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). Adventists with healthy BMIs (meaning they have an appropriate weight for their heights) who keep active and eat meat sparingly, if at all, have lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, and less cardiovascular disease than heavier Americans with higher BMIs. Get regular, moderate exercise. The Adventist Health Survey (AHS) shows that you don’t need to be a marathoner to maximize your life expectancy. Getting regular, low-intensity exercise like daily walks appears to help reduce your chances of having heart disease and certain cancers. Spend time with like-minded friends. Adventists tend to spend lots of time with other Adventists. They find well-being by sharing values and supporting each other’s habits. Snack on nuts. Adventists who consume nuts at least five times a week have about half the risk of heart disease and live about two years longer than those who don’t. At least four major studies have confirmed that eating nuts has an impact on health and life expectancy. Give something back. Like many faiths, the Seventh-day Adventist Church encourages and provides opportunities for its members to volunteer. People like centenarian Marge Jetton stay active, find sense of purpose, and stave off depression by focusing on helping others. Eat meat in moderation. Many Adventists follow a vegetarian diet. The AHS shows that consuming fruits and vegetables and whole grains seems to be protective against a wide variety of cancers. For those who prefer to eat some meat, Adventists recommend small portions served as a side dish rather than as the main meal. Eat an early, light dinner. “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper,” American nutritionist Adelle Davis is said to have recommended—an attitude also reflected in Adventist practices. A light dinner early in the evening avoids flooding the body with calories during the inactive parts of the day. It seems to promote better sleep and a lower BMI. Put more plants in your diet. Nonsmoking Adventists who ate 2 or more servings of fruit per day had about 70 percent fewer lung cancers than nonsmokers who ate fruit only once or twice a week. Adventists who ate legumes such as peas and beans 3 times a week had a 30 to 40 percent reduction in colon cancer. Adventist women who consumed tomatoes at least three or four times a week reduced their chance of getting ovarian cancer by 70 percent over those who ate tomatoes less often. Eating a lot of tomatoes also seemed to have an effect on reducing prostate cancer for men. Drink plenty of water. The AHS suggests that men who drank 5… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
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The countless stories she had researched on health and wellness had galvanized her belief in the subtle, long-term power of eating unprocessed foods. For this trip, she’d done several months’ research into the nutrient values of fruits and vegetables that we’d expect to encounter in Nicoya. So when she heard about Aureliano’s yard, which Jorge had described as “a private Garden of Eden,” Eliza leaped at the opportunity to meet him.
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Populations with hard water, it found, have up to 25 percent fewer deaths from heart disease than populations with soft water. I asked him how he explains this. “The heart is a muscle, and all muscle contractions depend on calcium,” he said. “Inadequate calcium means weak muscles—including the heart. Old people often have too little calcium in their bodies. So having extra-hard water may help keep Nicoyans’ hearts strong for longer.”
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family structure in the two populations,” he said. Unlike Michel, Gianni’s hands remained folded motionlessly in front of him. Gianni, like most true longevity scientists, was reluctant to make absolute statements. And besides, longevity is an exceedingly complex field.
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“Gianni,” I interjected. “I know that it’s premature to make concrete conclusions, but you’ve studied centenarians for almost two decades. What’s your gut feeling as to why these Nicoyans are doing so well and living so long?”
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Nicoya’s longevity culture is a disappearing phenomenon. I wanted to experience it as purely as I could before it was gone.
Note:how would you know
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The individual lives in close relation with a world of plants and still turns directly to nature for the satisfaction of his wants.
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He dutifully answered our questions: What do you eat? (“Beans, tortillas, fruit, and once a year, beef when I butcher a cow.”) When do you go to bed? (“When the sun sets.”) When do you wake up? (“When the sun rises.”)
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I imagined stepping outside and looking up into the star-spangled cobalt night, unsullied by light pollution, having a good night’s sleep in a simple bed, and waking with the sun for a day of hard work as Ananias or Juvenil or Don Faustino have for their entire lives.
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COSTA RICA’S LONGEVITY SECRETS Try these common practices from Costa Rica’s Blue Zone. Have a plan de vida. Successful centenarians have a strong sense of purpose. They feel needed and want to contribute to a greater good. Drink hard water. Nicoyan water has the country’s highest calcium content, perhaps explaining the lower rates of heart disease, as well as stronger bones and fewer hip fractures. Keep a focus on family. Nicoyan centenarians tend to live with their families, and children or grandchildren provide support and sense of purpose and belonging. Eat a light dinner. Eating fewer calories appears to be one of the surest ways to add years to your life. Nicoyans eat a light dinner early in the evening. Maintain social networks. Nicoyan centenarians get frequent visits from neighbors. They know how to listen, laugh, and appreciate what they have. Keep hard at work. Centenarians seem to have enjoyed physical work all of their lives. They find joy in everyday physical chores. Get some sensible sun. Nicoyans regularly take in the sunshine, which helps their bodies produce vitamin D for strong bones and healthy body function. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a host of problems, such as osteoporosis and heart disease, but regular, “smart” sun exposure (about 15 minutes on the legs and arms) can help supplement your diet and make sure you’re getting enough of this vital nutrient. Embrace a common history. Modern Nicoyans’ roots to the indigenous Chorotega and their traditions have enabled them to remain relatively free of stress. Their traditional diet of fortified maize and beans may be the best nutritional combination for longevity the world has ever known.
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I was looking for longevity’s silver bullet—a secret micronutrient that inhibited oxidative stress, perhaps, or a time-honored medicinal food like turmeric or mugwort. Could I combine them into a supplement? In Sardinia, I got excited about Cannonau wine because it had the world’s highest levels of artery-scrubbing polyphenols. And in Costa Rica, it was the Mesoamerican “trifecta” diet of beans, squash, and “nixtamal” corn that made me wonder if these foods held the secret to extraordinary longevity on the Nicoya Peninsula. But my board of scientific advisers pointed out that none of these alone could explain longevity. With time, I’d come to accept that my search was not for one isolated ingredient. As in other Blue Zones, the Ikarian longevity recipe would probably include many small ingredients.
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“People stay up late here,” he said. “They wake up late and always take naps. I don’t even open my office until 11:00 a.m. because no one comes before then.” He took a long sip of his wine. “Have you noticed that no one wears a watch here? No clock is working correctly. When you invite someone to lunch, they might come at 10:00 a.m. or 6:00 p.m. We simply don’t care about the clock here.”
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“People here think they’re drinking a comforting beverage, but they all double as medicine,” he said. “The panacea here is honey,” he added.
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and took in about a quarter as much refined sugar
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Dr. Oz once told me that, for most Americans, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants.
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And we’re more likely to die the year we retire than we are during our last year of work.
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Dr. Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute on Aging, estimated that an ability to define your life meaning adds to your life expectancy.
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IKARIA’S BLUE ZONE SECRETS Try these common practices from Ikarians: Drink some goat’s milk. Adding some goat milk to your diet could provide a great source of calcium, potassium, and the stress-relieving hormone tryptophan. Researchers found that goat milk is very similar to human milk and provides oligosaccharides, which promote healthy intestinal flora. It’s also hypoallergenic and can usually be tolerated by people who are lactose intolerant. Mimic mountain living. The longest lived Ikarians tended to be poor people living in the island’s highlands. They exercised mindlessly, by just gardening, walking to their neighbor’s house, or doing their own yard work. The lesson to us: Engineer more mindless movement into our lives by living in neighborhoods with sidewalks, owning a bike that works, and planting a garden each spring. Eat a Mediterranean-style diet. Ikarians eat a variation of the Mediterranean diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, potatoes, and olive oil. Try cooking with olive oil, which contains cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats. Two other lessons: Look for the freshest oil, as time can diminish its antioxidant power, and never cook with so much heat that the oil smokes. High heat breaks down healthy fats, making them much less healthy. Stock up on herbal. People in Ikaria enjoy drinking herbal teas with family and friends, and scientists have found that they pack an antioxidant punch. Wild rosemary, sage, and oregano teas also act as a diuretic, which can keep blood pressure in check by ridding the body of excess sodium and water. The key is to drink herbal teas every day and rotate varieties. Nap. Take a cue from Ikarians and take a midafternoon break. People who nap regularly have up to 35 percent lower chances of dying from heart disease. It may be because napping lowers stress hormones or rests the heart. Or it may be because nappers tend to live healthier lives. The bottom line: Your kindergarten teacher may have had it right. Fast occasionally. Ikarians have traditionally been fierce Greek Orthodox Christians. Their religious calendar called for fasting almost half of the year. Caloric restriction—a type of fasting that cuts about 30 percent of calories out of the normal diet—is the only proven way to slow the aging process in mammals. Regularly and moderately reducing calories, either as part of a diet or as part of a religious practice, may yield some of the same longevity benefits Ikarians enjoy. Make family and friends a priority. Ikarians foster social connections, which have been shown to benefit overall health and longevity. In fact, researchers who analyzed 148 different studies found that people who weren’t connected to their communities had a 50 percent greater chance of dying during the follow-up period of seven and a half years (on average) than those who had strong social networks. So get out there and make some plans.
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But what if you could follow a simple program that could help you feel younger, lose weight, maximize your mental sharpness, and keep your body working as long as possible?
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Completing the Vitality Compass™ is the first step to figuring out where you are on your personal longevity journey.
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A secret to eating right for the long run is emulating the environment and habits of the world’s longest-lived people.
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Regular meditation can allow us to slow down our minds, ridding them of the incessant chatter in our heads. It focuses concentration and allows us to see the world as it really is, instead of how we imagine it to be. It sets up our day and helps us to realize that rushing,
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To me, they offered a lesson about decline. I know that our bones will soften and our arteries will harden. Our hearing will dull and our vision will fade. We’ll slow down. And, finally, our bodies will fail altogether, and we’ll die. How this decline unfolds is up to us.