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    STEPFANIER   55,560
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Want to Live Longer? Me, Too!

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Ever wonder why some people live longer?

So did researcher Dan Buettner, whose recent book is "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest." With help from National Geographic and the National Institute on Aging, Buettner found four areas of the world where people reach age 100 at higher-than-normal rates and live longer.

We can stop blaming our family for our life span. As it turns out, life expectancy is only 6 percent based on gene and 94 percent based on environment.

So where are these places that are seemingly equipped with Fountains of Youth?

They're in Southern Okinawa in Japan, the mountain highlands of Sardinia off the Italian coast, the Nicoya peninsula of Costa Rica and Loma Linda, Calif., (specifically the Seventh-Day Adventists who live there, not the general population). [Seventh-Day Adventists adhere to a vegetarian diet rich in whole grains and nuts, and they abstain from alcohol and smoking.]

Buettner says food is about 25-30 percent of the reason why these people are living longer.

Most of them eat a plant-based diet with minimal processed foods and plenty of built-in cultural mores to keep from eating too much.

The Japanese, for example, follow a principle called "hari hachi bu," which means eat until you're 80 percent full. (Because by the time your brain catches up with your stomach, you will be full.)

Here are more tips, from people who live the longest:

  • They eat off smaller plates.
  • They never have a TV in the kitchen, and families eat together.
  • Good food is on display and easy to eat.
  • They have very active lifestyles, with plenty of walking and gardening.

While you can't pick up and move to rural Central America, there are some things we can all do to help extend our lives (and maybe even shrink our waistlines).

Eat from a smaller plate or bowl. A standard 3-ounce serving of protein (the size of a deck of cards) is dwarfed by our 12-inch plates. A half-cup of pasta (the size of a billiard ball) barely covers the bottom of our oversized "pasta" bowls. Use a small bowl (or even a coffee mug!) and a salad plate for your meals, and you won't feel deprived. (Do this even if you're eating takeout. It's much easier to portion control when you're not eating out of a box or a styrofoam tray.)

Eat less meat. You don't have to swear off meat completely. Just forgo the beef, chicken or pork one or two nights a week. You'll save money and likely consume less fat and cholesterol. (See my previous blog post www.sparkpeople.c
om/mypage_public_journal_i
ndividual.asp?blog_id=1263681
for more tips on eating less meat.)

Keep healthy food around and ready to eat. Wash and chop up veggies, display fruit on the counter in a bowl, and cook healthy whole grains in batches so they're ready to eat. Keep dips and salsas on hand for guilt-free dipping. Veggies and low-fat dip or hummus are suddenly more appealing when you can just grab them and go.

Clear off the table. If your house is like mine, the dining room table becomes a resting place for everything from mail to computers. Clear it off, step away from the TV and eat dinner at the table. When I lived alone in Korea, I found it rather depressing to eat by myself, until I switched off the TV and actually sat at my dining room table. From then on, I'd get out a real plate and chopsticks no matter what I was eating, and I'd spend 20 minutes really savoring my food. I enjoyed my food more, and I stopped overeating.

Eat whole food. Sure, processed foods are tasty and easy to prepare, but think about what you're eating. A good rule of thumb: The closer a food is to its original state, the better it will be for you. You can make pasta with a fresh tomato sauce in the time it takes to make a box of macaroni and cheese, but you'll feel much better after you eat it.

With a few small changes, we can all add years to our lives. Sounds like a great idea to me!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNRISE14 3/26/2010 7:58AM

    very good! emoticon

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SANDIERED 3/10/2010 11:39PM

  I have been trying to do my best and cut down on the meat. I mostly eat fish, chicken, and turkey. Also, I am eating more veggies and smaller portions. Thank you for the good advise. I love your spark page. It is very calming. Relaxing too. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUDIQUE57 3/2/2010 11:36AM

  it sounds like a plan for me. I do eat at the table now with my family. we set it and dress it and it feels better to all of us.I HAVE already bought smaller plates that I love. very colorful too.I dddo NOT eat meat much. I have gotten away from cooking it even for my husband on a daily basis. He's not missing it either.I find I have to chew for sooooo long if I have any meat.so I love fruit and have fruit trees. I love veggies. I have to get on a daily schedule of several small meals in several hours.and MORE exercise. I can do this.

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JUDIQUE57 3/2/2010 11:36AM

  it sounds like a plan for me. I do eat at the table now with my family. we set it and dress it and it feels better to all of us.I HAVE already bought smaller plates that I love. very colorful too.I dddo NOT eat meat much. I have gotten away from cooking it even for my husband on a daily basis. He's not missing it either.I find I have to chew for sooooo long if I have any meat.so I love fruit and have fruit trees. I love veggies. I have to get on a daily schedule of several small meals in several hours.and MORE exercise. I can do this.

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LEROYJL 2/27/2010 5:12PM

  Thank you for this information! emoticon

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MOTHBALLS 2/19/2010 6:11AM

    Thanks for the great info

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AMESKIE15 2/17/2010 7:08PM

    Definitely good info. thanks.

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MICKIELEEC 2/13/2010 12:37PM

  great emoticon

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MARYJOANNA 2/12/2010 5:28AM

  Good ideas. I have a meat lover husband so it would have to be me alone going without meat for one or two days.

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KUSHTER 2/11/2010 1:47PM

  Very good advice. Thanks, I'll try! emoticon

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KUSHTER 2/11/2010 1:47PM

  Very good advice. Thanks, I'll try! emoticon

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KUSHTER 2/11/2010 1:46PM

  Very good advice. Thanks, I'll try! emoticon

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SPENCEMOMOF5 2/10/2010 8:23PM

    I am going to add 'Keep the table clear' to my short list of goals in 2010.

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TIFFANIE150 2/10/2010 2:43PM

    These are great tips. Thank you.

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-POLEDANCEGIRL- 2/4/2010 9:17AM

    Great info! I really try to keep that kitchen table cleared off :o)

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MARYJOANNA 2/2/2010 5:40AM

  Very interesting article. There are certainly a variety of areas in the world where you find people with longevity.

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1WALKINGMAN 1/30/2010 11:51PM

    Thank you for the information. It will be very useful.

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EWEINHISPASTURE 1/29/2010 11:24PM

    Thanks for posting emoticon

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PURPLELABRADOR 1/27/2010 11:34AM

    Thanks for posting! Great summary of simple changes.

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MORGNSGRL 1/26/2010 10:14AM

    Great guidelines, thanks!!

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CICCISR 1/25/2010 12:55PM

    Thanks

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MYFAIRLADY5 1/20/2010 2:42PM

  emoticon
Good one...upbeat and positive.

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NEWPORTBAY 1/20/2010 9:33AM

    Thankyou for sharring this blog.

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SAMGERBINE 1/10/2010 11:17PM

    A very nice reminder of what we should be doing :)

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PRAYDANCRUNLOVE 1/10/2010 10:17PM

    thanks....great information

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GRANDMO1 1/7/2010 7:42PM

  Good info.

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MYCUTEGIZMO 1/7/2010 9:40AM

  WEll simple meals brings along a long life..

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BECKMOMSP 12/13/2009 10:51PM

    Great guidelines to follow! Thanks!

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MKELLEY913 12/11/2009 12:04PM

  THANKS FOR NEW CHALLENGES TO LIVE BETTER, LONGER!

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KIDSATHART 12/7/2009 7:59PM

    This is a great blog :) Thanks for sharing!

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CHRISLEWIS 12/5/2009 2:54AM

    Very cool!

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MENT2BE 11/27/2009 10:38AM

    Good to know! Thanks!! emoticon

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CFRITZFIFP 11/9/2009 11:03AM

  This is so interesting, I'd like to read more like this!!

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TERRIJ_1 11/5/2009 11:09AM

    Extremely Helpful Thanks

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STORMTMB 11/1/2009 8:26AM

    I need to try to have more meatless meals. I will work on that this month!

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LOUMARG 11/1/2009 4:41AM

    Great Info. Thanks


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SUNSET09 10/30/2009 10:00AM

  It seems traveling there would be a great idea however, it doesn't seem that you have to as these tips can be adhere to anywhere. Good things to add into our lifestyle, that is, if we want to live long, healthy lives, thanx for sharing!

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CHAMBER6647 10/24/2009 3:49PM

  Great tips thanks!!

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UKANNIE 10/19/2009 1:47PM

    most informative thank you. emoticon

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JMONTIE 10/18/2009 8:21AM

    Very helpful, thanks.

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FABULOUSK1 10/16/2009 10:24PM

    Thanks for the info, great!!! emoticon

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PRAYDANCRUNLOVE 10/10/2009 2:34PM

    Great post....thanks!

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NOT-LEASE-LISE 10/5/2009 5:39PM

    Good information...and you added a personnal touch!
I'm a vegetarian so a day to celebrate it for me is 365 days...
I KNOW it helps me be healthier...too many facts to prove otherwise.
...oops!...I do eat fish the odd time too!...
...so make it 299 days to celebrate...lol...
Lise
> emoticon

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DEBBIEK60 10/3/2009 2:16PM

    I eat meatless about 3 or 4 days a week, without doing so deliberately, and it does help to lower my intake of the bad fats. I didn't know about vegetarian day, but I will observe it next year.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DORSKI 10/3/2009 1:32PM

    I eat meatless a few meals a week, i will try to make it a whole day.

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SHELLPRO 10/2/2009 4:44PM

    I've found out that Living Longer is over-rated if you don't find ways to improve the Quality of Life you'll be living it in! Do any of us want to spend it bed ridden or in a hover round? emoticon

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LESLIE56 10/2/2009 1:37PM

    I'll try to go meatless for the rest of the day, and I could try it, more often as well.

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ON2VICTORY 10/2/2009 12:42PM

    great information

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MARYMAC45 10/2/2009 11:24AM

    Thanks for this great info. I will definately go meatless a few days a week. emoticon

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ELIZABETHAN1 10/2/2009 9:20AM

    Excellent information. Thanks. emoticon

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