Tag Archives: longevity

The Lifestyle Of Longevity On Ikaria

There’s a Greek island off the coast of Turkey, called Ikaria, whose inhabitants live about 10 years longer on average than the rest of Europeans. They also have a better quality of life, with 60% of those over 90 years old being active, as opposed to 20% elsewhere. Levels of depression and dementia are low, and problems like cancer and heart disease arise about 10 years later than normal. Naturally, these facts piqued the interest of researchers, who set out to see what’s different about life on the island. They don’t have a clear answer, but they made a number of observations:

  • The lifestyle on the island is slow-paced and easy going
  • The people are friendly and very sociable
  • They eat a lot of fish, vegetables and goat milk
  • They don’t eat much beef, pork or chicken
  • They use a lot of wild greens and herbs for both food (e.g., tea) and medicine
  • They don’t eat much processed foods
  • Most food is cooked in olive oil
  • They get a lot of fresh air
  • They get a lot of exercise, even just by having to walk through the island’s mountainous terrain
  • They drink a moderate amount of wine
  • Rates of smoking are low
  • Rates of midday napping are high
  • The elderly are given important roles in society
  • There’s natural radiation in the island’s granite rocks

The village of Armenistis in Ikaria

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From BBC, via Neatorama

The People Who Live Long Are The Happy Ones

According to a study from Yeshiva University of hundreds of very old Ashkenazi Jews (who make up 80% of Jews worldwide), the ones that are almost 100 years old have a positive outlook towards life and are emotionally expressive. Specifically, they are optimistic, easy-going, outgoing, they laugh a lot, express their emotions openly and avoid bottling them up, and are less neurotic and more conscientious than the general population.

Students in the library at Yeshiva University


Details of the Study

The scientists wanted to find genes which help people live longer, so they looked at Ashkenazi Jews from the university’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Longevity Genes Project. That group was an easy choice for a few reasons: they already had the people’s info, Yeshiva is a Jewish university and most importantly, due to centuries of Jewish mothers asking “is she Jewish?”, the Ashkenazi are among the most genetically similar of any group worldwide. As a result, it’s easy to spot traits in the population that arise from genetic differences and therefore lots of genetic studies have been done on them. The researchers were curious if any of the personality traits that very old people possessed were inherited, so they gave them personality quizzes and ranked them on a scale of positivity which ran along the lines of two accepted personality models: the Big Five and the Life Orientation Test. What they found was that the centerians were positive and emotionally expressive people.

As we’ve seen before, scientific studies should be taken with a grain of salt, and while the study is relatively large and the effects significant, the subjects were not diverse at all, the individual trait scores were self-reported via questionnaires, the researchers used their own scale, and confirmed their feel-good hypothesis that happy people live longer. Nevertheless, this is one more notch in the belt of a large body of research showing that positive people lead healthier lives.

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From The Impact Journal On Aging, via Medical Daily and Slashdot

How To Live Forever And Avoid Regrets

How To Live Forever looks like a great new movie — trailer below.  And in keeping with the theme, here are the top deathbed regrets, so make sure to not do these things:

  • Lived the way others expected, not how they wanted
  • Worked too hard and missed out on relationships with family and friends
  • Didn’t have the courage to express their feelings
  • Didn’t stay in touch with good friends
  • Didn’t try hard enough to be happy

From SingularityHub and Inspiration and Chai, via Neatorama