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... How can a woman closing in on the start of her second century be so robustly,
almost defiantly, healthy, while men and women decades younger are languishing feebly in nursing
homes, plagued with failing bodies and failing minds and wishing they hadn't been so unlucky as to live
For most of human history, a long and healthy life has been shrugged off as a gift from the gods — or
maybe the undeserved reward for a lifetime of plain cussedness. But to gerontologists, the vagaries of
aging have become the focus of intense scientific research....
They want to understand why the Japanese islands of Okinawa are home to the world's largest population
of centenarians, with almost 600 of its 1.3 million inhabitants living into their second century — many of
them active and looking decades younger than their actual years...
Researchers are particularly interested in determining which factors allow up to 30% of those who reach
100 to do so in sufficient mental and physical health: a whopping 90% of centenarians, according to Perls,
remain functionally independent up to age 92. "It's not 'the older you get, the sicker you get,' but 'the older
you get, the healthier you've been,'" he says. "The advantage of living to 100 is not so much how you are
at 100 but how you got there."
...only about 20% to 30% of how long we live is genetically determined. The dominant factor is
Fill Up on 80 Percent
How many times have you put your fork down and thought, "Whew, I'm stuffed!" Well, you'd never hear
that in Okinawa. But you would hear the saying hara hachi bu, which translates literally into: "80 percent
full." "Hara hachi bu is sort of an insurance plan against feeling deprived," says Dr. Willcox. "It takes
about 20 minutes for the body to signal the brain that there's no need for more food. Hara hachi bu gives
the brain a chance to catch up."
To help her clients home in on when it's time to stop eating, Young advises using a hunger-rating
system. At various times during a meal, rate your hunger on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 is famished and 5 is
stuffed). "Just stopping eating to think about how you feel decreases the odds that you'll charge past the
comfort zone of 3," she says.
Spirituality also plays a major role in Okinawa, and may explain why centenarians are better than most
at letting go of daily problems. "Religion and faith in general are often what keeps many centenarians
feeling balanced and protected from life's troubles," says Martin. If you don't subscribe to a particular
faith, seek out other group activities with like-minded people -- a membership in a local theater club or
lecture series, for instance.
Originally posted by schmirror
How To Live To 100
... in August 2004.
I lived in Okinawa for 9 months back in 1996. Although the food is a big player in the aging, I would take dying at 90 over living past 100 if I had to eat that stuff every day. ehewewew (ernest style)
us 20yr old Marines could only stand eating in the restaurants post-saki. Big platters of food come out with all these little sections of slimy things. There is also a pitcher in the middle and you pour some into a bowl. The liqiud is hot soup of some sort, and then you choose and pick away at these raw slimy things from the sea.
....Not food part, IMHO, [color=#FF652E]the stress management and social structure are more pleasant than America. A few examples, because REMEMBER, the number one KILLER is STRESS!!
1. The children are a VERY protected and nurtured aspect.
2. ZEN.. Masters of Zen, ...a REAL zen garden.
3. Its simply a gorgeous place to live.. and all the bennies that come with it.
Environmental factors such as eating well and not smoking are big indicators of how well you will get to 70 or 80, but if you want to live to 100, then you have to have the right genetics.
I agree that bad habits such as smoking make it harder to live long ... especially when coupled with diseases like Diabetes Mellitus.
a number of characteristics in common:
Few centenarians are obese. In the case of men, they are nearly always lean.
Substantial smoking history is rare.
Good to know that you don't have to be crazy, lost or forgotten to live through the 90s in this lifetime...
A preliminary study suggests that centenarians are better able to handle stress than the majority of people.
Our finding that some centenarians (~15%) had no significant changes in their thinking abilities disproved the expectation by many that all centenarians would be demented.
We also discovered that Alzheimer’s Disease was not inevitable. Some centenarians had very healthy appearing brains with neuropathological study (we call these gold standards of disease-free aging). Many centenarian women have a history of bearing children after the age of 35 years and even 40 years. From our studies, a woman who naturally has a child after the age of 40 has a 4 times greater chance of living to 100 compared to women who do not.
It is probably not the act of bearing a child in one’s forties that promotes long life, but rather, doing so may be an indicator that the woman’s reproductive system is aging slowly and that the rest of her body is as well. Such slow aging and the avoidance or delay of diseases that adversely impact reproduction would bode well for the woman’s subsequent ability to achieve very old age. At least 50% of centenarians have first-degree relatives and/or grandparents who also achieve very old age, and many have exceptionally old siblings. Male siblings of centenarians have an 17 times greater chance than other men born around the same time of reaching age 100 years and female siblings have an 8½ greater chance than other females also born around the same time of achieving age 100.
Many of the children of centenarians (age range of 65 to 82 years) appear to be following in their parents’ footsteps with marked delays in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and overall mortality.
Some families demonstrate incredible clustering for exceptional longevity that cannot be due to chance and must be due to familial factors that members of these families have in common.
Genetic variation plays a very strong role in exceptional longevity (see below)
Based upon standardized personality testing, the offspring of centenarians, compared to population norms, score low in neuroticism and high in extraversion.