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9 Ways to Live a Longer Life

Longevity expert Dan Buettner is a New York Times best-selling author and National Geographic Fellow. His TED Talk How to live to be 100+ has been viewed over 2 million times and he’s now in the news for his book, The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer.

Experts say that with the right lifestyle, chances are that you may live up to a decade longer. Buettner traveled across the world to uncover the best strategies for longevity found in the Blue Zones: places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy remarkably long, full lives.

We leaf through his book to give you 9 lessons to live a long life. Start today!

1. Eat well. There’s no one food that is going to assure you’ll live longer or healthier; it’s about the combination.   In the Blue Zone of Costa Rica, we found almost the perfect food combination in corn, beans and squash—these three provide all the proteins necessary for life.  In Okinawa, sweet potatoes—high in beta-carotene—fueled centenarians for nearly half of their lives.  And in Sardinia, a sourdough bread, leavened with lactobacillus, actually lowers insulin response to a meal. Cook mostly vegetarian meals that are heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, 100 percent whole-grain bread, oatmeal and avocados. Eat meat and fish sparingly.

2. Tank up on water. Clean water is the best longevity beverage on Earth.  The Adventists believe you should drink seven glasses a day—which can keep your arteries flowing better and organs functioning higher.

3. Drink coffee. Coffee may get a bad rap every now and then, but it has a lot going for it. “It’s one of the biggest sources of antioxidants in the American diet.”

4. Skip juices. “The glycemic index on that is as bad as Coke. For eight ounces, there’s 14 grams of sugar. People get suckered into thinking, ‘Oh, I’m drinking this juice.’ Skip the juicing. Eat the fruit. Or eat the vegetable.” You should also ditch protein shakes.

5. Hold the fats. “My view is that butter, lard and other animal fats are a bit like radiation: a dollop a couple of times a week probably isn’t going to hurt you, but we don’t know the safe level.” Use olive oil instead.

6. Carbs can be good. There’s no need to avoid carbs if you add freshly baked loaves of bread to a meal. “A true sourdough bread will actually lower the glycemic load of a meal. But it has to be a real sourdough bread.”

7. Say cheers. It’s fine to drink red wine. “A glass of wine is better than a glass of water with a Mediterranean meal.” Also, it’s not just about what you eat, but how you eat, and how much you and your friends enjoy a meal together: “The secret sauce is the right mix of friends.”

8. Not all exercise is good. High-impact exercise may do as much harm as good. “You can’t be pounding your joints with marathons and pumping iron. You’ll never see me doing CrossFit.” Instead stick to activities like biking, yoga and, yes, walking. Go for long walk instead.

9. Bye-bye cow’s milk, hello soy milk. Made from soya beans, soy milk is a popular milk alternative for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Since it comes from plants, it is naturally free of cholesterol, low in saturated fat, and contains absolutely no lactose. Soy beans and soy milk are a good source of protein, calcium (when fortified), and potassium.

As Buettner writes: “The calculus of aging offers us two options: We can live a shorter life with more years of disability, or we can live the longest possible life with the fewest bad years. As my centenarian friends showed me, the choice is largely up to us.”

Live healthier to live longer!

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