The secret’s out – the eight things you can do to help you live long enough to get a telegram from the Queen…
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of people in the UK aged 100 or more has quadrupled over the last two decades, to 14,570 at the last count. So how and why do some people live to such a ripe old age? And is there a way for the rest of us to prolong our life expectancy?
Well, the good news is, yes, there is! Researchers and experts in old age, nutrition, health and population have found there are several areas in the world where people happen to live longer – and better.
Known as ‘blue zones’, they include specific regions in California, Costa Rica, Italy, Greece and Japan. Expert Rafael Puyol* has collated eight simple steps that people in these zones follow, so you can boost your chances of becoming a centenarian.
- Stress less
Stress is closely linked to almost all ageing-related diseases. It’s essential to disrupt the normal pace of your daily life in order to allow time for activities which bring down your stress levels. In Greece and Italy this involves having a nap; in Japan, it’s something like a ritual tea ceremony. Try anything that helps your mind and body take a rest and focus on something light, from doing a crossword to knitting.
- Eat your greens
People who live in the blue zones eat a diet rich in plant-based products, which means eating lots of healthy vegetables that contain plenty of cancer-busting nutrients, as well as vitamins, fibre and minerals. Boost your intake of cruciferous veg such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, as well as wholegrains, nuts, seeds and fruits. You can consume meat, fish and dairy too, but in smaller amounts.
- Don’t neglect family
A happy family unit helps boost health and longevity, so don’t lose contact with yours, and make the extra effort to meet as often as possible.
- Stay active
One of the keys to living longer is undergoing intense and regular physical activity in the performance of daily tasks. The concept of just sitting around doing nothing is unknown to the people living in these five regions. So try and always walk to the corner shop, take a stroll in the middle of the day, and do some gentle gardening. It all adds up and will make you feel better and keep you mobile for longer. Read more