Formula For Living Over 100 Years!

by Amish Shah

This article first appeared in and is written by Dr. Joel Kahn

Long ago, I was given the advice that if you want something in life badly enough, find people who’ve accomplished that goal and learn from them.

As a cardiologist deeply committed to teaching strategies for longevity and vitality, I’ve studied the lifestyles of communities whose members frequently reach age 100 and beyond. (I’ve been particularly interested in centenarians who are still active and independent.) The current thinking is that lifespan is determined by 10% genetic makeup and 90% lifestyle (with some good luck thrown in).

So: What can we learn from the lifestyles of the ultra-elderly?

The most widely-known research on this topic has been done by Dan Buettner, a reporter and author, and has been published in several editions of a book called The Blue Zones. Working with National Geographic, Buettner researched and then visited communities where people who have lived the longest reside. He highlighted disperse areas (dubbed “The Blue Zones”) where people live to be 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States. They are: (1) Okinawa, Japan; (2) Loma Linda, California; (3) Sardinia, Italy; (4) Nicoya, Costa Rica; and (5) Ikaria, Greece.

Common patterns were found among these 5 zones of excess centenarians, even though they are far from one another. These include:

  • An absence of smoking
  • Daily physical activity centered on walking
  • A plant-heavy diet with very small amounts of animal protein
  • Strong family connections, and strong social connections.
  • Processed foods, fast foods, junk foods…? Forget about it!

Different areas had unique health habits. In Loma Linda, for example, where the Seventh Day Adventist Church is based, it’s common to honor the Sabbath as a day of disconnecting from technology and visiting friends and family. Vegetarianism is a celebrated lifestyle, and eating nuts is common. Drinking alcohol is rare.

In Okinawa, it’s taught that you should eat until you are 80% full, and the average daily food intake there is hundreds of calories less than in other parts of Japan. Sardinians are known for their cannonau wine reinforced with as much as three times the polyphenols like resveratrol than other regions growing red wine and consume a high amount of fava beans.

Costa Ricans consume many oranges and their water is hard and rich in minerals. Ikarians eat a classic Mediterranean diet rich in home grown vegetables. They enjoy herbal teas daily, and fast frequently. Another reason for their longevity and heart health? Recently boiled Greek coffee, which is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols.

Are there lessons we can incorporate into our lives drawn from 5 corners of the world where people age more consistently, more gracefully, and with more vitality? Buettner and others have summarized lessons to adopt including:

  • Play daily
  • Walk often
  • Move naturally in work (for example doing yard work manually instead of using mechanical devices)
  • Live with a purpose (for helping others)
  • Find ways to reduce stress through rest, prayer, and/or humor
  • Eat less
  • Eat fewer animal products and use legumes as the core of a fiber rich diet
  • Drink in moderation if it’s acceptable to you
  • Let faith have a role in your life
  • Emphasize family and loving relationships
  • Have social networks

The resident scholar of longevity in the United States, George Burns, was asked about his formula for living over 100.

His response?

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”

Yoga is an ancient practice for reducing stress and anxiety so I wish you Namaste.


Dr. Kahn has launched a campaign to prevent 1 million heart attacks through healthy living. He is the founder of the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity.

The post Formula For Living Over 100 Years! appeared first on Project Yourself.

Amish Shah

Also in Project Yourself

The Vinyasa Of Gratitude & Abundance
The Vinyasa Of Gratitude & Abundance

by Puja Shah

The holidays are here. Full of gratitude and warmth. As we focus on the ways we can give this holiday season, consider the idea of giving gratitude. The more energy you create in your heart around joy for others, the more joy and abundance fills you and your life as well.
Read More
Can We Be Grateful For 2020
Can We Be Grateful For 2020

by Puja Shah

The holidays are a time of gratitude.

And even in a year of pandemics, natural disasters, and political and economic uncertainty - there is still much to be grateful for.

The fact that you’re now here reading these words is already a cause for gratitude. Not to mention all the loved ones, blessings, opportunities, and natural wonders that still surround us.
Read More
This Holiday Season, Love Is The Gift Humanity Needs Most
This Holiday Season, Love Is The Gift Humanity Needs Most

by Puja Shah

Love heals: and the world needs healing now more than ever.

But how does one tap into the vibration of love - particularly during times of disruption and uncertainty?

Read More