With aging, scientists have always seemed to study things that decline, but how about those lucky individuals who seem to stay vital well into their 80s and beyond? Here’s some of their latest research advice & six ways how you can add years to your life.
#1 is no surpise – STOP EATING SO MUCH
In Okinawa, Japan—home to some of the world’s oldest people—centenarians stop eating when they’re 80 percent full, says The Blue Zones author Dan Buettner, who studies longevity all over the planet.
They’re onto something: Scientists at St. Louis University found that, while both exercising and eating less led to weight loss in the study’s volunteers, cutting calories also lowered production of T3, a thyroid hormone that slows metabolism. The researchers believe that lower T3 levels may also slow the aging process.
#2 – MORE SEX
This might be easier and more fun to follow. And who doesn’t want to live longer? This does not apply to the ones who don’t enjoy it. Just skip to #4. Women who enjoy sex live longer says Mehmet Oz, MD, professor and vice chairman of surgery at New York Presbyterian–Columbia University and co-author of YOU: Being Beautiful. In fact, doubling your amount of satisfying sex can add up to three years to your life, he says. “Sex gives you the Zen moment you can’t find throughout the day otherwise.”
And you know what they say….more Zen, more Men! (No, I just made that up).
Dr. Geula, who has studied 80-year-olds who perform at the same level as people in their 50s on neuropsychological tests, has found that the superaged have fewer brain tangles—deposits of protein linked to Alzheimer’s—suggesting that their brains have some sort of protection that normal brains don’t. While scientists puzzle this out, there’s a lot you can do to keep your own synapses firing. Learn Italian, take up the cello—even driving a new route to work can wake up sleepy brain cells.
Darn, I’ve been learning the wrong language! I’m in trouble because I don’t even drive to work. Hope walking counts for something because you can walk so many different routes.
#4 – POUR YOUSELF SOME MERLOT
Now we’re talking – something I can follow! You’ve probably heard a lot about resveratrol, a compound in red wine and grape juice that seems to slow aging. One recent study found that resveratrol-fed mice had stronger bones and better motor coordination, and showed fewer “old age” problems like heart disease, inflammation, and cataracts. The jury is still out on whether resveratrol has the same effect on humans, but nutritionists say drinking red wine in moderation (and grape juice for those who can’t) does have heart-healthy benefits. The question is, what is moderation?? Pour me!
#5 – LOSE THE MUFFIN TOP
In one large study published in 2009, researchers who tracked 6,583 people for more than 30 years found that having significant belly fat in midlife can nearly triple your risk of dementia. No wonder so many people suffer from it.
#6 – EAT MORE PLANTS
They should have specified. I tried eating my fern and got sick.
In his study of centenarians, Buettner found the longest-living people tend to eat less meat and more beans, soy, and nuts (but no ferns). This is where it’s good to be a vegetarian.