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How to Live to Be 100+
By Susan Merenstein

I am grateful to have just returned from on a short vacation from the brutal Polar Vortex. My husband and I declared this a “moving vacation”, miles of beach walking, good healthy food, minimal alcohol, and just enough sun exposure to make lots of vitamin D!

Another benefit of vacation is my ability to set aside precious research and discovery time. This time, the far reachable, sometimes unattainable longevity and life expectancy. This is a fascinating You Tube TED talk from Dan Buettner: How to live to be 100+

There are 3 main areas of longevity in the world or Blue Zones where there are 10 x the number of Centenarians as compared to other parts of the world.

America’s Blue Zone is Loma Linda California where the average lifespan is 89 for women and 87 for men. They follow a Bible diet of green plants and legumes, little meat and they treasure their Sanctuary Time which is from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

During this time all work is halted, family time is of the utmost importance and they spend time walking in nature.

The ground zero of longevity are the Okinawan islands (where the oldest living female population live AND the largest disability free life expectancy in the world ). Also the Okinawans live 7 good years longer than the average American and have 1/5th the rate of breast and colon cancer and 1/6th the rate of cardiovascular disease.

The last Blue Zone covered in the talk is the Island of Sardinia 125 miles off the Italian coast (where the men live longer than women and there is a wine with 3 times the polyphenol antioxidant content of any wine in the world called Konenow). All of these areas have the following similar lifestyle mantras:

  1. Move Naturally
    - Physical Activity-steady moving lifestyle with regular low intensity sustained physical activity.
    - No Conveniences (i.e. yard work, parking, taking steps)
    - Walk (the only proven way to stave off cognitive decline), gardening, dancing
  2. Right Outlook
    - Downtime is crucial
    - De-stress whenever possible - 15 minutes a day can change us from inflammation to anti-inflammation state in the body
  3. Sense of Purpose - can add 7 years of longevity
    - Ikigai - This is the Okinowan word for “the reason for which you wake up in the morning”
    - Activate brain with giving to and teaching others.
    - In Okinawa there is no word for “retirement”. They keep working.
    - In the U.S. we have 2 phases of our adult lives ... work phase and retirement phase where we sit all day and stop being purposeful. If an older person is treated with respect and appreciation, life expectancy goes up 4-6 years.
    - Activate your pleasure centers to increase endorphin production, the body’s natural Morphine.
  4. Eat/Drink Wisely - No diet in the history of the world ever works for more than 2% of the population.
    - Colorful Plant based diet
    - Eliminate burdensome food (i.e. gluten, cow dairy, genetically modified)
    - Organic/home grown-no pesticides, Aspartame, or other known food poisons
    - 80% rule - stop eating when 80% full-goes back to Confucius saying that Okinawans abide by daily all of their lives.
  5. Connection
    - Family first and care for the elderly in the family
    - Belong to a faith based community-adds 4-14 years extra life expectancy if do it 4x a month
    - Right tribe-good influences of friends on health and wellness “Isolation kills”

I would like to add that there are no pills or proven treatments that can slow aging. We have 35 trillion cells in our bodies that turn over every 8 years and each time damage builds up. A 65 year old ages 120 times faster than a 12 year old. Best science shows our lifespan capacity is 90 years. Average in the U.S. is 78 years.

Take from my list what feels right to you and make your own “elixir of longevity”.

Be open to modifications.

Balance your hormones as they are the foundation of health.

Have a wonderful day filled with purpose, courage to follow your dreams, surround yourself with your support team (family and friends), love and allow yourself to be loved, move and eat wisely, practice daily solitude when you hear God, be humble and grateful for what you have!

This work is never done, so keep on living!

Susan Merenstein, Pharmacist and Owner, Murray Avenue Apothecary, can be reached at (412) 421-4996. For more information, visit www.maapgh.com-www.labnaturals.com-www.yourgoddessroom.com.

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