Have you noticed how often health experts are speaking to us today as if our entire Gen will be full of centenarians? First I heard Mike (RealAge) Roizen on a PBS pledge special last week (links below). Then today, on Today, Terri Trespico from the magazine Body+Soul did a meaty, yet concise, segment with her Top 10 tips for healthy aging. None of it depends on radical regimens, either; all are saying that a few simple lifestyle shifts can radically improve the odds of our own lively longevity.
Spoiler alert: I am going to summarize Terri's top ten tips below, but it's still worth clicking through on the links at the end to watch or read the whole segment from the show.
The first suggestion was for bananas, papayas, potatoes, and all those great leafy greens like kale. Potassium eaters over 65 kept 3.6% more lean muscle mass in old age.
2. Keep smiling
An upbeat attitude not only makes daily life more pleasant, statistics show it also adds years to the lifespan due to less damage from stress hormones such as cortisol.
3. Breathe deeply and often
Exercise is inversely related to age at death. Aim for 20-30 minutes of brisk activity 5 days per week. Meanwhile learn to breathe deeply several times a day (make your navel rise while inhaling, says Roizen). It oxygenates deep organs and tissues.
4. Swallow a few good bugs
Probiotics, such as found in yogurt or capsules, improve immunity and decrease risk of colon cancer. Other fermented foods such as tempeh are excellent too. (See article link below for more detailed suggestions).
B12, found in seafood and poultry or supplments, is especially good for the brain, and people who get plenty of it suffer less brain shrinkage. Vegans and others who don't eat meat should consider supplement pills.
6. Fish Food
We've all heard of Omega 3's, but not as many know its two essential elements by name, EPA and DHA. These healthy fats lower cardiac risk and also protect the brain and eyes. Try to eat small fatty fish like herring, sardines, anchovies or wild salmon 2-3 times per week. (Mike Roizen also notes that avocados are another excellent source of these protective, healthy oils.)
7. Love what you like
Keep up with people and activities you enjoy, whether face to face or online. Centenarians tend to be friendly folks who keep engagement going.
8. Do the D
Vitamin D decificiency correlates with a shorter life. This may be because it helps protect against damage from hypertension or cardiac disease, as well as from some cancers and autoimmune disease. 1,000 IU daily is suggested. (Note: Even in AZ we need our D, since we are usually wearing sunscreen.)
9. Tai Chi
Mind-Body disciplines such as Tai Chi ease effects of stress, lower BP, ease pain, and slow bone loss.
10. Reduce the Red (Meat)
Limit red meat to once a week. Not only does the saturated fat clog arteries, it increases cancer risk. It also has more iron than an aging body needs, which ups the risk for Alzheimer's Disease.
When you consider all the youthful 80 and 90-somethings we already see on TV looking lively, it sure seems plausible that as a group, we ourselves will be pushing that envelope.
- Today segment from Body+Soul:
Click below to read the transcript or watch the video:
- Andrew Weil (drweil.com)
- Mike Roizen MD (realage.com)
- Ken Dychwald (AgeWave.com)