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11 Ways To Live Past 100

People in locales such as Sardinia, Italy and Okinawa, Japan, have something in common: Their residents outlive the rest of us by an average of 10 years, with many pushing the envelope of life past 100. And the men in most of these regions buck the global trend by living nearly as long as the women. So what are their secrets? We asked the experts for the answers.

Secrets From Sardinia, Italy
The Sardinians’ record of longevity may be due in part to DNA. But the active lifestyle and long-standing social customs are also at play, experts say. Their secrets:

1. Drink Wine
Like most Italians, Sardinians down a couple of glasses of wine a day. The region’s local wine is far richer in heart-healthy flavonoids than most other varieties, a study in found. Try Cannonau, a lively red wine from Sardinia, with hints of cherry and peppermint (available at Al Borgo Italian Restaurant, Tel: 6737-3546).

2. Continue Learning
Sardinians continue working well into their 90s. But you don’t literally have to “work” all your life; just keep working at learning. In a 2009 American study, folks who learnt new skills reported feeling younger more than those who didn’t. Acquiring new knowledge may in turn reinforce youthfulness. So, learn a new language or take a wine-tasting class.

Secrets From Okinawa Japan
This island is Japan’s poorest prefecture – yet it has one of the world’s highest rates of centenarians. Okinawans also have healthier-than-average arteries and lower levels of LDL cholesterol.

3. Eat Sweet Potatoes
Instead of rice, the Okinawan staple carb is sweet potato, which can lower cholesterol and fight inflammation, according to a Japanese study. Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium, vitamin C, carotenoids and fibre – nutrients often lacking in the Singapore diet. And unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes won’t significantly spike your blood sugar. Eat them Okinawan-style – added to soup or seasoned with turmeric, a potential cancer fighter.

4. Improve Your Social Life
Okinawans commonly form “moais” – a support group of four to five friends. These moais meet daily or weekly just to chat. Your move: Prioritise regular hangouts with your buddies. A recent American study showed that older adults with subpar social lives were more likely to die of heart disease and cancer than those with more connection.

Secrets From Nicoya, Costa Rica
At 60, Nicoyan men are twice as likely to reach the 90-year mark as men in most developed countries, says a Costa Rican demographic expert.

5. Avoid Stress To Toughen Up Your Chromosomes
Experts analysed blood samples from elderly Nicoyans and found they had longer-than-average telomeres, the ends of the chromosomes that dictate how many times cells can divide before dying. Longer telomeres have been linked to longer life, so avoid anything that may shorten them – stress, for example.

6. Have Fewer Belongings
Having fewer belngings is an easy way to reduce stress. So, instead of buying things, devote disposable income to doing things. In a 2010 American study, people felt less satisfaction and more regret after looking back on material purchases than they did after investing in experiences.

7. Do Gardening
Switch to locally grown food. One payoff is more nutrition: Produce stored for one week can lose vitamin C as well as B vitamins, according to a study review. For even more benefits, grow your own container garden. Vegetables like bean sprouts and tomatoes can thrive in 4- to 8-litre containers. Recent US research found that older home gardeners were more active and satisfied with their lives and, not surprisingly, ate more vegetables than non-gardeners.

Secrets from Ikaria Island, Greece
Locals on this Aegean island know exactly what to eat and when to sleep.

8. Eat Fish To Beat Depression
Depression, which has been shown to shorten life, is exceptionally rare among Ikarian men: A 2010 Greek study found that Ikarians who ate about 300g of fish a week were 66 per cent less likely to battle the blues. Their diet of sardines, gilthead (a bream) and tope (a shark) is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA, which may speed transmission of mood-regulating brain chemicals. Go for fatty fish, such as salmon, herring and tuna, which pack the most omega-3 punch.

9. Take Naps
Eighty-four per cent of the oldest Ikarian men – and everyone over age 90 – take daily afternoon naps, another Greek study found. And in an analysis of 23,000 people in Greece, researchers found that regular napping can slash heart disease deaths by 37 per cent. The ideal time to doze? Shortly after lunch. You’ll add onto sleep from the night before rather than subtracting from sleep you’ll get tonight, says an expert.

Secrets from Loma Linda, California
This little-known city is populated with Seventh-Day Adventists, who avoid smoking, boozing and caffeine. In the US, studies show that male Adventists live about seven more years than other white male residents. Here are certain aspects of their lifestyle worth emulating.

10. Be Religious
In a 2008 study, people who devote time to their religion at least once a week were less likely to die over the next 8½ years than those who don’t. If your worship has waned, you can still tap into the effect. Regularly meet with likeminded people to nourish your soul. Volunteering, for example, can help beat depression, a 2010 Israeli study found.

11. Rest To Beat Stress
Adventists designate a day of rest every week. Re-examine your downtime: Are you truly relaxing? Or are you bar-hopping, working from home or running a taxi service for your kids? You don’t have to set aside a full day – a midday walk once a weekend works. A 2010 study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that a walk outside is more invigorating than a walk indoors.


(Comments may take up to 15minutes to appear)
A recent paper published in Biodemography and Social Biology found that shorter men lived longer. This is a well done study and is consistent with other Sardinia studies. In addition, there is much supporting evidence which is highlighted below. The press release for this study is also included below and has been widely reported on the internet. Evidence supporting shorter or smaller people live longer 1. Many scientist have reported that within a species the smaller individual tends to live longer than the bigger one. Examples: dogs, mice, rats, ponies vs horses, and Asian Elephant vs the African Elephant. Sources: Bartke, Alex Comfort, Speakman, Maier, de Maghalhaes, and others. 2. Shorter women live longer than men. (A study of Sardinian men, who are the shortest in Europe, found that men live as long as women.) 3. Centenarians tend to be short and lean (Chan, Suzuki, Yamamoto, Roth, Ingram, Lane, Vosto, and others) 4. Over 12 longevity studies found that shorter men and women live longer (Samaras, Miller, Krakauer, Holzenberger, Salaris, and others) 5. Over 20 mortality studies found shorter people have lower mortality. One study was based on 18 million deaths. 6. In 2001, I found that the six populations with the highest life expectancy ranked 3.5 from the top. The six tallest Western European populations ranked 28 from the top. 7. Biological mechanisms explain these findings when you compare shorter and taller people of the same body proportions and socioeconomic conditions. For example, shorter people have much lower DNA damage compared to taller people. They also have lower blood pressure and their hearts are more efficient (each stroke pumps a higher percentage of blood into the blood stream). The heart of a smaller person has a smaller load on it because it doesn't have to pump blood as far or as high. Most human cells can only duplicate themselves 50 to 70 times in a lifetime. Since bigger bodies need more cells and have to maintain these cells over a lifetime, fewer potential cell doublings are available to replace defective or dead cells. A Dutch study (Maier, Van Heemst, Westendorp) found that at 90 years of age, short people had a greater number of cell doublings left compared to taller people. In addition, the shorter people lived longer. Taller people have more cancer (Green). The argument that we are taller and live longer today is a misleading one. For example, we are also fatter today and live longer. Does this mean fatness increases longevity? The reasons we live longer include improved standard of living and sanitation, lower infant mortality and infections, and greatly improved medical technology. These factors offset the negative aspects of a diet that promotes rapid growth, obesity, increased height and chronic disease. Barry Popkin in his book The World is Fat blamed our high animal protein and processed food diet on our health problems. In recent months, researchers have written about the advantages of smaller human size (Liao, Sandberg, and Roache, NYU and Oxford) and Walpole,Prieto-Merino, Edwards, Cleland, Stevens, and Roberts, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, WHO, etc.) I have researched this area for 37 years and my 40 scientific and medical publications on this subject are listed in my website: Tom Medical News Today publishes remarkable report on Height and Longevity. MNT is the number one search engine for medical news. Press Release Reventropy Associates, Diego, Ca June, 2012 Immediate release A new study of Sardinian men finds height is a factor in longevity. This new study supports over 12 previous longevity and over 20 mortality studies that have found that shorter height promotes greater longevity. Sardinia is known as a blue zone because it has a remarkably high percentage of long-lived people. Sardinians are shorter than people in the rest of Europe and tend to live longer. Within Sardinia, there is a group of 14 municipalities that exhibit higher longevity compared to the rest of the island. In addition, as height declines among these municipalities, longevity increases with the shortest municipaliity, Villagrande Strisaili, having the greatest longevity. Professor Poulain, University of Louvain (Belgium) and Dr. Salaris, University of Cagliari (Italy), led a study to determine whether there was a relationship between height and longevity among almost 500 males born between 1866 and 1915. Thomas Samaras, a SanDiego longevity researcher, coauthored the paper. Their research found that shorter men lived about 2 years longer than taller men. The results of the study were published in the journal, Biodemography and Social Biology (4/26/12): Doi:10.1080/19485565.2012.666118 This Sardinian study is consistent with a study conducted in Spain by Dr. Holzenberger. This study tracked 1.3 million men through a 70-year period and found that longevity increased with reduced height. Similar results were found in an Ohio study by Professor Dennis Miller based on about 1700 men and women. Samaras, a longevity researcher, found similar results based on baseball players, California veterans, football players, basketball players and famous people. Professor Krakauer also found that shorter elderly Swedish men and women live longer. A recent review by Professor Bartke appeared in Gerontology which supports these findings as well: DOI: 10.1159/000335166 The researchers of this study noted that women are shorter than men and live longer in virtually all populations. However, Professor Miller found that when he compared men and women of the same height, their longevity was about the same. Contrary to what was expected, Poulain and Salaris found that men live as long as women in Villagrande. A number of scientists have observed that within a species, the smaller individual tends to live longer than the bigger one. This is illustrated by smaller dogs who live longer than medium and large size dogs. Smaller mice, rats, ponies and monkeys generally live longer as well. The Asian elephant also lives longer than the larger African elephant. The study also provides a number of biological mechanisms that explain why smaller bodies tend to live longer. These include lower DNA damage, greater cell replacement potential, higher heart pumping efficiency, decreased C-reactive protein and higher sex hormone binding globulin. Salaris and Poulain reported that height is only one factor in how long anyone will live. It probably constitutes less than 10% of anyone’s longevity profile. Regardless of height, anyone can extend his or her longevity by healthful nutrition, low body weight, exercise, good medical care, a positive and happy spirit, and good social relations. Therefore, tall people have the potential to reach 100 years under the right conditions. During the last 20 years, Reventropy Associates has been involved in evaluating the ramifications of body size and height on longevity and other factors in human society. The contributors to the Sardinia study have published over 40 peer reviewed papers and books on human body size and its relation to longevity, resource consumption, and long-term human survival. Contact: Thomas T. Samaras, Director, Reventropy Associates. email:, tel: 858 576 9283, 11487 Madera Rosa Way, San Diego, Ca. 92124; website:

New study on height and cardiovascular disease Being shorter than average may be good for the heart. A review of over 30 international studies found that shorter people have lower coronary heart disease compared to taller ones. The study, published by the Cardiological Society of India in the Indian Heart Journal, finds that shorter people have an inherently lower risk of coronary heart disease because of a variety of biological factors. The article is titled: Shorter height is related to lower cardiovascular disease risk—a narrative review The study found that populations with the zero coronary heart disease are short (men 4’8” to less than 5’5”). Examples, based on 20th century studies, include Solomon and Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Kalahari bushmen and Congo pygmies. No country of tall people in the Western world could meet this record. Shorter people with lower heart disease included the US mainland and Hawaii, China, India, Sweden, Sardinia, and Japan. Shorter people benefit from several biological mechanisms that lower the risk of heart disease. One advantage is a greater potential for cell doublings in later life. Because bigger bodies require the creation and maintenance of more cells, cells run out of the ability to reproduce themselves with age because they have a fixed number of times that they can duplicate themselves. There are many harmful effects from the reduced potential for cell replication, including damage to the cardiovascular system. If we compare short and tall people of similar body proportions and lifestyle, other advantages of smaller bodies include lower blood pressure, lower DNA damage, fewer free radicals, greater heart pumping efficiency, lower work load on the heart, lower risk of blood clots, and lower atrial fibrillation. The human findings in this study are consistent with the very low heart failure in small dogs compared to large dogs. In addition, the findings complement over 100 studies involving short height and lower mortality from all-causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Centenarians tend to be quite short and light and it is unlikely that they would reach 100 years of age if they had heart problems. The author points out that many studies conflict with his findings. However, these studies are corrupted by many factors outside of height that can bias the findings. For example, poor people tend to be more obese and shorter than higher income people who tend to be taller and eat healthier. It’s interesting to note that early in the 1900s, coronary heart disease was rare compared to today. Yet, people were a few inches shorter in 1900. Before the 1970s, higher income, taller men had more heart disease than shorter working class men in the US. Another problem for the “taller have less heart disease” supporters is that coronary heart disease was rare before the industrial revolution when people were shorter than in the 20th and the 21st centuries. Samaras, the author of the study, emphasizes that regardless of whether one is short or tall, avoiding heart problems is mostly related to following a healthful diet and lifestyle. For example, a plant-based diet, regular exercise, low weight for height, good medical care, not smoking, higher socioeconomic status, social networks, and effective stress management are more important than one’s height. More information on height and longevity available from: Contact: Thomas T. Samaras, author of paper: tel: 858 576-9283 11487 Madera Rosa Way, San Diego, Ca. 92124 USA

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