COULD YOU LIVE to be 100? |

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COULD YOU LIVE to be 100?

While a checklist to guarantee a long, healthy life is still a far-off dream, studies have identified groups of people in locations known as the Blue Zones who regularly live to be 100. So can their diet and lifestyle habits help us, too?


life style


WE ALL WANT TO KNOW the secret to staying younger for longer. A flick through any glossy magazine will highlight our obsession with youth. But although there’s no magic bullet when it comes to fighting the signs of ageing, there’s a lot we can do to stay healthier for longer.

Our chances of long-lasting health are, of course, partly to do with our genes. But they’re mostly determined by the lifestyle choices we make every day – and there’s a raft of evidence at our disposal to help us make the best decisions, whether that’s how much exercise we do or the types of food we eat.

According to Dr Michael Greger, author of How Not to Die, up to 80% of the top killers in the UK – including cancer, diabetes and neurological diseases – may be down to lifestyle choices; the rest are determined by our genes.

‘Statistically speaking, our genes are not our destiny,’ says Michael. ‘With the discovery of a field called epigenetics, we now know we can turn the disease-causing genes on and off. This discovery has been a game changer.’

The long and the short of it

IN PARTICULAR, it’s the discovery of structures called ‘telomeres’ that has allowed scientists to have a better understanding of the relationship between a healthy lifestyle and longevity. Telomeres are found on the ends of each strand of DNA, where their job is to protect the strands from damage (a bit like the plastic tip at the end of a shoe lace). Each time cells divide, these telomeres become shorter. Eventually they become so short that they can’t do their job properly and so the cells age, in turn causing our body to age.

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