So I have been writing a lot about the importance of having a mission in life, having a sense of purpose and what gets us up in the morning. This has become of real interest to me.
Another interest of mine is how can I live the longest, healthiest life possible?
What do I need to do to live to 120?
I recently watched a TED Talk on this topic. The researches located ‘blue zones’ that were essentially areas in the world where there were a high percentage of centenarians. But they weren’t lying in a hospital bed suffering with arthritis and dementia. They were riding their scooter to their friends house who was cooking lunch.
This really inspires me and I think it is fascinating that there are specific areas of the planet where there seem to be a higher number of people living this quality life.
So – what’s the secret? Do they have those lucky genes we so frequently use as an excuse for why our friends can get away with things we can’t?
Well according to Passarino, a geneticist at the University of Calabria, “genes probably account for only 25 percent of longevity. It’s the environment too, but that doesn’t explain all of it either.”
What did the team of scientists researching the blue zones come up with?
They discovered there were some clear common themes in these small populations. They all:
- Had a sense of purpose
- They all moved naturally – meaning they went on long walks, they gardened, they built there own fences and sheds. They just had active lives.
- Ate wisely – interestingly they tend to have a plant based diet
- Had a positive, healthy outlook on life
- Had the right tribe – born in to or proactively surrounded themselves with the right people
- Had a sense of belonging
- Prioritised their loved ones
I think this is really interesting – while they didn’t dig deep in to the nutrition of these communities it seems clear there is much more to living a long healthy life than we might have thought about.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Chris Kresser:
“There’s more to health than food and there’s more to life than health”
He goes on to say:
“Of course we all want to be as physically healthy as possible. There’s nothing wrong with that pursuit. But the cold, hard truth is that not all health problems are solvable. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, we don’t have full control over all of the conditions of our lives.
What we do have control over is how we relate to ourselves and these conditions. In my opinion, this – more than anything else – is what determines our happiness and sense of well-being.
It’s possible to be physically healthy, but live in a constant state of struggle and dissatisfaction. Likewise, it’s possible to be ill, in pain, or physically disabled and be happy and at peace.”
This is important to acknowledge. Spend some time thinking about how you approach life, your health, your nutrition and see whether a change in perception may actually be the most powerful tool in your tool kit.