The Surprising Facts About What Healthy People Eat to Reach Their 100th Birthday
A long life, enjoyed in good health, is a dream that many seek to realize. Yet while life span has been slowly increasing in developed countries, freedom from illness and disability is, unfortunately, not following the same trend. Researchers found that baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) had higher rates of many chronic diseases than their parents did at each age. Compared to the prior generation, baby boomer risks are at increased risk for:
- Diabetes: by 46%
- Hypertension: by 38%
- High cholesterol: almost 6 times the risk
An international survey of adults 65 or older in eleven industrialized countries found U.S. respondents the sickest, with 87% reporting a chronic medical condition and 53% taking four or more medications. The statistics are discouraging, but this does not have to happen to you.
Anti-aging medicine provides popular, but misleading, answers to people seeking a long and healthy life. The secret does not lie in these expensive, sometimes dangerous, pills and injections. Instead, you can find out how to stay vital by studying groups of people who have consistently achieved outstanding health results at older ages.
WHAT DO CENTENARIANS EAT?
Scientists who study longevity often focus on centenarians, those age 100 or older. You may be familiar with this idea through the popular concept of Blue Zones, where populations have unusually high concentrations of healthy centenarians.
Studying Blue Zones is rewarding, but also challenging. Researchers must validate that people are actually as old as they say they are, and reliable records are not always available. Also, although it's possible to measure what centenarians are eating now, what did they eat over the preceding decades?
Okinawa, an isolated island that is part of Japan, is a Blue Zone with answers to these issues. Careful research has validated that centenarians on Okinawa actually are as old as their current recorded ages say they are. In addition, detailed information on diet going back to 1949 is available from population surveys periodically conducted by the local government.