Supercentenarians, people who live to be 110 years old or more, have long fascinated scientists and the general public alike. One of the most well-known researchers in this field is Dan Buettner, who identified regions in the world where people live exceptionally long, healthy lives. Buettner's research, known as the Blue Zones project, found that supercentenarians do not avoid red meat or saturated fat; but they do tend to consume a fiber-rich diet. This is in line with Paul Jaminet's work, which emphasizes the importance of a nutrient-dense, whole-foods diet for optimal health.
In addition to their diet, Buettner's research found that physical activity is also essential for the longevity of supercentenarians. They tend to stay active throughout their lives by engaging in activities such as walking, gardening, or farming, and they maintain a level of physical activity that keeps them strong and mobile even in old age. This is in line with Jaminet's emphasis on the importance of movement for optimal health.
Furthermore, Buettner's research found that social connections and a sense of purpose are critical for supercentenarians. They often live in close-knit communities where they have strong relationships with family and friends, and they have a sense of purpose, whether it be through work, volunteerism, or hobbies. This is consistent with Jaminet's work, which emphasizes the importance of social connections for overall health and well-being.
There is some discussion about supercentenarians eating lower protein. However, adjusted for body mass, the intake is not significantly lower. As far as researchers can tell, they do obtain sufficient amounts of all essential nutrients, particularly vitamins and minerals, which seems to contribute to their longevity.
Getting nutrient sufficiency, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining strong social connections, finding a sense of purpose, and ensuring a balanced diet with all essential nutrients may contribute to a long and healthy life. While genetics may play a role in longevity, prioritizing a healthy lifestyle is critical for maintaining physical and mental health as we age.
Buettner, D. (2008). The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest. National Geographic Society.
Jaminet, P. (2010). Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat. Scribner.
Willcox, B. J., Willcox, D. C., & Suzuki, M. (2014). Demographic, phenotypic, and genetic characteristics of centenarians in Okinawa and Japan: Part 1--centenarians in Okinawa. Mechanisms of ageing and development, 145, 88-97.
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