Thanks to improved general health, access to healthcare and better working conditions, one in three babies in the UK today will live to the age of one hundred.
While such longevity may surprise us, in parts of the world reaching one hundred in good health is nothing new.
Research by “National Geographic” explorer Dan Buettner has focused on five so-called Blue Zones where people live to an especially old age. This happens in specific communities in Greece, Japan, Italy, California and Costa Rica.
Some of the common threads in these communities are an active lifestyle, a certain type of diet, a sense of purpose, and strong connections to others. You can read more about this fascinating research online at www.bluezones.com.
World Health Day
The World Health Organization highlights that not everyone has the same access to health services than others and their theme for World Health Day is all about reducing global health inequalities.
Prevention is certainly better than cure when it comes to health, and there are certain things that we can all do to try to give ourselves the best chance of a long and healthy life.
Anne de la Hunty, Senior Scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) says in order to increase our longevity, one of the best things we can do is maintain a healthy weight. Obesity reduces life expectancy for people over forty by four to nine years for men, and three to eight years for women.
Increased physical activity, not eating more than you need, and eating a mainly plant-based diet can all help with a healthy weight, Anne agrees. These are patterns seen in the Blue Zones.
She adds that eating lots of fruit and veg, including pulses, nuts and seeds, having fish twice a week, cutting down on red and processed meat and eating sweet treats only occasionally may help, too.
You may have also heard that a daily glass of wine is good for health, but here the jury is still out.
The Department Of Health also advises that no amount of alcohol can be considered completely safe, and that we should drink no more than 14 units a week.
This is about one glass of wine a day.
If you’re looking for inspiration, the BNF website has lots of ideas for healthy eating.
Ageing well is also about staying connected, so family and friends can all help our sense of wellbeing.
Check in with friends, even if just over the phone.
For more health advice and tips from “The People’s Friend”, click here.