Okinawa (an island in Japan), Bama (a county in southern China), Campodimele (a village in southern Italy), Symi (an island in Greece), and Hunza (a valley in northwest Pakistan) all include some of the areas of the world centenarians call home. These locations have much in common. Many of the factors which facilitate longevity in these areas have always just been a way of life rather than a conscious choice to live life healthfully. For example, most of these families grow their own organic produce in clean rich soil, unlike the produce in the United States that is heavily sprayed with pesticide. We don’t realize the harsh accumulative affect chemicals have on each and every one of us. It is also true that environmental factors, rather than good genes, are a primary factor for the youthfulness of these people. Scientists now agree that we all have the potential to achieve maximum life expectancy of around 120 years. With adopting diet and life styles from these unique areas of the world, we can live into old age looking and feeling years younger than we are, rather than being sick and frail. The best news of all is that it is never too late to start. Even if we are getting older and feeling ill and tired, by making a few of the following changes below, we can become biologically younger, reverse damage and add many healthy years to our lives.
1. Common sense and good lifestyle changes are what it’s all about. It’s no secret. We all just so easily get headed in the wrong direction. Delicious, fresh, organically grown and caught foods are key. That is all the centenarians in these areas have access to. It’s a fact that if these people ate the average American diet, they would start to suffer a lot more of our common diseases. If you live in areas that you can have a garden and raise your own animals to insure superior nutrition minus the horrific additives in most all available foods that are not organic, go for it! Otherwise Organic is simply a must, to follow in the footsteps of those around the world that remain young and strong years beyond us!
2. The following is a list of foods that are critical to include in your diet if you wish to take after centenarians. Keep in mind centenarians do not over eat. We often make ourselves ill with over eating. Okinawans eat around 40% less calories than we do in the US on an average daily basis. To overeat is to wear out our organs early, digestion is the hardest job our bodies have. Include as many of the following always organic foods in your diet: raw fruits (like prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries) which are all particularly high in antioxidants, lots of leafy greens and all vegetables, whole grains, raw nuts and seeds, hemp seeds, sweet potatoes, seaweed dishes, garlic, capers, herbs, flax oil, olive oil, live yogurt, Kefir, clean lean meat sparingly, fresh clean fish, a glass of red wine with dinner, green teas, and lots of water.
3. We need to get in lots of fresh air and sunshine, outdoor activities such as sports, walks, going to the beach, playing board games outside, and long relaxing lunches outdoors are all great ideas. And for goodness sake, send the kids outside to play, too. In the United States, we do not have leisure time. We mostly work to pay for our possessions. Try to simplify — be happy with less so you can have so much more! Time, once it has passed us by, is one thing money can never buy us. The parts of the world where longevity is common, leisure time is of the utmost importance.
4. If you want to live a long and healthy life, it is of paramount importance that you have a positive approach to life. Be happy, smile, and spread joy to others. The people who take a positive stance, even to life challenges, are those who have the edge. Stop stressing out. Just do your best and let it be and longevity and health will be yours.
5. Exercise is key. Many centenarians have been fortunate in daily life to have work that includes and requires much movement — and best of all movement that’s outdoors. So many of us are trapped inside all day behind computers. Get up from your desk and stretch out. Go outdoors during your lunch hour and power walk in the fresh air, even in the winter, just bundle up. Eat your healthy lunch at your desk so you have your entire lunch hour outside being active! In other parts of the world it much more common for hobbies to include is active sports, dancing, singing and so on rather than video games and movies watching. If you can’t get in physical activities combined with work throughout the day, then regular visits to the gym are a must.
6. We must greatly respect the elderly. In areas of the word we are discussing now, the elderly are looked up to rather than sidelined, so they have a strong sense of purpose in life. They are applauded for having made it, and longevity is praised. One always tries to be first to greet the elderly in these cultures as they pass by out of respect and interest. Friendships with the elderly are looked at as precious opportunities. Take time to learn and grow from those who have walked before us. Listen and learn from their life experiences and, in turn, you will live a richly rewarded life free from many mistakes made that could have been avoided had we taken the time to listen. Spend time with your grandparents and make new friends, realize that the age between you really does not exist because within we are always the same, some just a little wiser. We will all reach every age when our time comes. Flock to show attention, hear stories and learn. Unite with family, like the cultures of centenarians do, and longevity will be yours as well.
In closing, I would love to one day move to an area like the above mentioned, live off the land, breath in the fresh clean air, and learn hands on a way of life and healthful living from locals. A way of life that so often gets lost in the shuffle of modernism and daily demands! How about you?