Health experts offer advice on living to 100

In a companion piece to U.S. News‘ e-book How to Live to 100, three experts from the publication recently provided advice on living a long and healthy life. As one might imagine, a good nourishing diet ranked high on their list (the Mediterranean diet in particular). Ranking low were mentally unhealthy behaviors such as social isolation.

In the video, e-book author Phillip Moeller talks to a panel of experts that includes Nancy L. Keating, associate professor of medicine and health care policy at Harvard Medical School and an associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Anna Medaris Miller, Washington, D.C., health writer and associate editor of Monitor on Psychology magazine; and Jay Olshansky, professor of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=413i536DMN8&feature=player_embedded

Takeaways from the video

On the Mediterranean diet:

  • A recent study showed the participants who followed the diet — which is heavy in beans, legumes, fresh fruit, fish and “good fats” such as olive oil —  benefited from a 30% reduction of the risk of heart attack, stroke or death from cardiovascular causes.
  • Longterm, the diet is associated with lower caloric intake which is often associated with longevity.
  • No diet can guarantee you’ll live to 100, but it can help you live a happy and healthy life — a worthy aspiration.

Lifestyle behaviors likely to be linked with longer life in the near future:

  • Subgroups of the population that are highly educated and wealthy will add years of life over the next couple of decades. The opposite is expected to happen to those who are less-educated, not wealthy, have a poor diet and lack access to proper health care.
  • High intensity work outs aren’t as beneficial as we are led to believe. Rather, do whatever it takes to get up and move as often as possible, as a sedentary lifestyle is linked to many, many health problems.

The health effects of an active social life

  • Having strong social connections is linked to a full range of positive health effects like decreased risk of mortality, better pain tolerance and a stronger immune system.
  • This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, as human survival is dependent upon other humans.
  • Even so, living alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing — especially with access to technology that easily connects people.

Are there any other keys to living to 100 the experts didn’t address? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.

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