Early in the year, we lost a centenarian at our church. A few more however will reach the century mark in a few years. In the United States, there are more than 72,000 of them, which is a 44 percent increase since 2000. In the July/August Reader’s Digest issue last year, Alyssa Jung shares some signs you could be a good candidate for this elite group. They are the following:
1. You don’t feel your age. You may be 60 but you’re feeling like you’re 50 or 55. Studies show that those who felt three or four years younger than their age were less likely to die over an eight-year period than those who felt their age or older. On the other hand feeling older was linked to a 41 percent risk of dying.
2. You love eating fruits and veggies. A University of Michigan study of 700 women in their 70’s showed that those who consumed the most veggies and fruits had a 46 percent lower chance of dying over a five-year period compared with those who ate them infrequently. Okinawa, Japan has the most centenarians in the world (ratio-wise) and older Okinawans have eaten a plant-based diet most of their lives and almost all grow or once grew a garden.
3. You are joyful and optimistic, relatively free from worries and anxiety. In a 2012 study of 243 volunteers published in a journal Aging, near centenarians share common characteristic and personality traits. Rosanne Leipzig, MD, PhD, professor of geriatics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City says “being adaptable and flexible helps people avoid stress and anxiety which can increase longevity.”
4. You eat a lot of fish. A Harvard study found that older adults with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids lived two more years on average than did those with lower blood levels. They didn’t take fish oil supplements. They simply ate a lot of fish, which is packed with omega-3s.