Recently one of our customers told me about a comic he saw. It showed a drawing of an old and sickly looking man who was seeing his doctor. The doctor said “you know those extra 15 years you were told you would get by eating a healthy diet and exercising? Well this is it”. This is a common myth in America. That the people who follow a healthy lifestyle will live longer, but it will be additional years of disability and major health problems added to the end of their life. The reality is quite different. The same healthy approach to nutrition, exercise and a healthy lifestyle will not only lengthen life it will also greatly improve quality of life.
The Blue Zones is a book by Dan Buettner about 4 places where there are an unusually large number of centenarians. Those people are over one hundred years old and still typically active and healthy even at that advanced age. Unlike so many Americans that end up shuffling around a nursing home with a walker at the age of 75 or 80 and sitting in bed most of the day watching television they are enjoying life and able to live independently. Of course there are people everywhere that are genetically gifted with long lived parents and grand parents. If they follow the Western diet of unhealthy foods they may still live to an old age, but they will likely be in very poor health with a low quality of life. Most people would prefer a high quality of life over a longer life, although we now have the scientific knowledge about how to achieve both.
The 4 locations are in Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California and the Nicoya Penninsula, Costa Rica. In each place there are groups of people with excellent nutrition who get lots of exercise and follow a healthy more relaxed lifestyle. They also tend to have many friends and family member that they spend a lot of time socializing with. The book is available on Amazon.com in paperback for less than $10 so you might want to buy a copy.
The lesson is that we do not have to accept old age. If we are willing to do some work to eat healthy and exercise we can choose to stay young and enjoy life even as we add more chronological years to our age. This is also an exciting time because we are uncovering the fundamental causes of aging and developing therapies and nutraceuticals to help increase our quality of life and lifespan even beyond what is possible with a healthy diet and exercise alone. But, it all goes together. Although supplements can help you stay young and live longer you will get better results by combining them with a healthy lifestyle.