Getting older is inevitable, we are all aware of that. Still, that doesn’t mean we cannot live a really long and happy life, does it? There are many different theories available about why certain people, often of specific origin, live long, healthy, happy lives while others don’t.
The island of Okinawa in Japan, for instance, is the best place on earth if you want to live longer and age successfully. The Okinawans have:
- more people over 100 years old per 100,000 population than anywhere else in the world
- the lowest death rates from cancer, heart disease and stroke which are the top three killers in the US
- the highest life expectancy for both males and females over 65
- females in Okinawa have the highest life expectancy in all age groups
Aging is something that everyone, on some level, wants to avoid. For centuries, there have been rumors of “secrets” that can slow or even reverse aging. Studying the Okinawans has shown that living a healthy lifestyle, with a bit of help from your genes, will not only help you live longer but disease-free too.
Further studies on other centenarians have concluded that lifestyle changes can add healthy years to your life, making you feel better now and when you are 100 years old. Eating healthily, exercising more and controlling your stress levels are the perfect starting steps towards a longer lifespan. .
Still, what better source of advice for a long and happy life than from the experts; the longest-lived people on the planet.
Jessie Gallan, 109 years old
Miss Gallan, who lives in a care home in Aberdeen, is the oldest living person in Scotland. She started working hard at the age of 13 milking cows and seldom took a holiday. According to her, the secret to a long life lies primarily in “staying away from men. They’re just more trouble than they’re worth.” And she continues “I also made sure that I got plenty of exercise, eat a nice warm bowl of porridge every morning and have never gotten married.” Source: Daily Mail
Gladys Hermiston-Hooper, 112 years old
Mrs Hermiston-Hooper from Ryde on the Isle of Wight is the UK’s most senior supercentenarian according to the Gerontology Research Group records. She has lived through two World Wars, the sinking of the Titanic and the reigns of five British monarchs. When asked about her secret to longevity she replied that always staying active and busy has kept her young, as well as helping others as much as you can. Source: BBC
Misao Okawa, 116 years old
Mrs Okawa is the oldest living person on earth. She was born when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, the Spanish-American War was raging and Horatio Kitchener triumphed in the Battle of Omdurman. Her husband died in 1931 which means she has been a widow for 83 years. She attributes her longevity to eating well, her favourite meal is sushi, particularly mackerel on vinegar-steamed rice. Sleeping at least eight hours every night, with the occasional nap thrown in is also vital according to her. “Eat and sleep and you will live a long time,” she said, “you have to learn to relax.” Source: The Telegraph
Emma Morano, 115 years old
Ms. Morano is the oldest person in Europe and the fifth oldest in the world. Her elixir for longevity consists of raw eggs, which she has been eating, three per day, since her teens when a doctor recommended them to counter anemia. She is also convinced that being single for most of her life, after an unhappy marriage that ended in 1938 following the death of an infant son, has kept her kicking; “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone,” she said. Source: The New York Times
Gertrude Weaver, 116 years old
The second-oldest person in the world also is America’s oldest person. When asked how it feels to be the oldest person in the United States right now, Mrs Weaver said, “I don’t know. I’ve never been this before.” Her secret to long life is all about how you interact with others. “Kindness. Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you,” she said. Nowadays, her weekly highlights are manicures, Bible study and “wheelchair dancing,” Source: TIME
Susannah Mushatt Jones, 115 years old
Mrs Jones doesn’t have a secret to longevity. “Believe in the Lord,” she says. She never had children, never drank or smoked, and to this day she sleeps at least 10 hours a night. Her eating habits, however, have been less than healthy as she simply loves barbecue chicken but her real favorite is bacon. Every morning she will eat four strips of it, followed by scrambled eggs and grits. Source: TIME
As there is no magic pill for longevity, these centenarians prove that some of the secrets to well-being and lifelong happiness lie in simple truths that we have always known, loving relationships, a commitment to personal health (mental and physical) and, that came as a surprise or maybe not after all, being single!