100 Years of Healthy Habits: Secrets of Chinese Centenarians

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100 Years of Healthy Habits: Secrets of Chinese Centenarians | Everyday Health.

Did you know that research with twins has shown than long life is only about 25% genetic and about 75% healthy personal habits?  That should give us great hope that every day we can make better choices that will improve our health and give us a longer life.

In this article a heart doctor visits a well-known village in China, known as the Longevity Village, where many people have lived to be over 100.  Here are some tips from a Chinese man (Boxin) who is 115 years old.  First and foremost he recommends, breathe clean air (many cities in China have terrible pollution, but not in this village).  He says if you smoke, stop!

*Be physically active throughout the day– by doing simple things like cleaning your house, gardening, pushing your grandchild in the stroller, etc.  He says to just move constantly-  it doesn’t have to be strenuous.  Did you know, keeping active slows the build up of plaque in your arteries?

*Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.  Beans, peas and lentils, are eaten often by those who live to be 100 (even for breakfast).  These centenarians eat no processed food.  If it grows in their garden, they eat it.  They also eat plenty of fish, which has low fat content, compared to other meats.

*Get “restorative” sleep, or a good night’s sleep.  For example, if you have sleep apnea, then you are at greater risk for a number of other health complications, that can shorten your life.

*Manage your stress.  According to this article, 80% of emergency room visits are triggered by stress.  Life can be stressful, but its how you deal with it that matters.  According to this article, even the food we eat can cause stress to build up in our bodies.  (Try eating nothing but “junk” and sugary foods for a few days and see how crummy you feel….)

*Finally, stay connected to other people.  In the Chinese culture, people who live to be 100 are similar to young celebrities in the US;  they are famous.  They often live with their younger family members (in a multi-generational setting) and are a valuable member of the family.  Even in old age, they have some type of job to help the family (like tending to the garden).  These centenarians are confident that they still have a purpose in life.

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