How to Live to Be 100

Dan Buettner is quietly confident on the screen in a video of a speech he gave at TED, the gathering of genius that’s held each year in California.  He spoke about three areas of the globe where people have been found to live the very longest and where there are the highest numbers of centenarians.  But before any readers begin hoping to reach three figures, bear in mind that only one in 5000 of us will get there. Still, these pockets of the very old have certain characteristics that appear to account for their long lives.

In Sardinia, the oldsters live on a diet that’s mostly plant-based, with some meat and regular though limited alcohol intake. Having a group of either relatives or very close friends who spend your whole life with you is a huge factor, Buettner said. In addition, these Italians move frequently, either because they walk to the store,  pull weeds out of garden, or do other physical things–but few of the ever see the inside of a gym.

Okinawa Japan is another pocket of very long living people.  Here their diet consists of a large amount of tofu as well as limited meat and the people sit up and sit down all day long from stools–again they ‘naturally physical.’  One group of six Okinawan women was pictured who had all been friends for more than 100 years already!   Other traits the longest livers share is a sense of purpose, they all have meaningful work and a really good reason to get up in the morning.

The third ‘blue spot’ on the globe was a comunity of Adventists in Loma Linda California. Here their weekly ritual of spending 24 hours a week in sabbath lock down, with a complete cesation of all work, social and other tasks in order to pray and meditate is a very important part of making it into very old age.

The conclusion is that having a sense of purpose, spending at least 15 minutes a day in meditation and supreme relaxation, tending a garden, eating a mostly plant based diet are the keys. And that circle of very close relatives and friends who influence one another to abstain from unhealthy habits and keeps tabs on each other is another factor.