Yesterday, many of us made a resolution to adopt some healthier habits for 2020. And while I’m all for making sensible, positive changes for your health, I always caution against following overly restrictive diets and compulsive exercise programs.
For one, these restrictions and compulsions just aren’t enjoyable! Plus, the science shows you don’t actually need to go to extreme measures to achieve optimal health. In fact, according to the renowned 90+ Study, keeping three supposedly “bad” habits may actually help you live longer!
Let’s take a look…
90+ Study busts major myths about longevity
Up until the early 1980s, we knew very little about so-called super-agers who live well into their 90s and beyond. Except that they tended to have more so-called “risk” factors…
They drank more. They smoked more. They ate more foods with fats and salt. And they exercised less than normal-agers.
At the time, most mainstream researchers just shrugged their shoulders and chalked the reason why up to “genetics.”
But they failed to consider or acknowledge the other possibility…
That the presumed risk factors are NOT actually risk factors at all, at least not for everybody. Instead—they may actually be reasons why these people live longer!
Thankfully, researchers with the University of California’s (UC) Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders took it upon themselves to dig deeper into the science and get to the bottom of the conundrum by starting the renowned 90+ Study.
The study initially came out of a 1981 survey involving 14,000 men and women who lived in a retirement community in California. The survey asked the residents about their diet, activities, vitamin intake, and medical history.
About 20 years later, the UC researchers located 1,600 of the original group, who were then 90 years old or older. And they began assessing the 90-plussers’ cognitive, neurological, psychological, and physical function every six months. Researchers also analyzed their physical activity, diet, medical history, and medication use.
And they came away with three initial findings…
3 powerful secrets of super-agers
After more than 16 years of following these super-agers, three major findings emerged…
1.) They drink more alcohol
The mainstream likes to blame all kinds of chronic, deadly diseases on consuming any alcohol—including cancer.
But it turns out that men and women who drink moderate amounts of any type of alcohol actually live longer than teetotalers.
Specifically, the UC researchers found that the 90+ people in the study who drank about two glasses of wine or beer daily had an 18 percent lower risk of early death. And—this beneficial effect was even stronger statistically than the life-preserving practice of moderate exercise!
It makes sense to me that the study didn’t pinpoint a specific type of alcohol, either—such as red wine—as the one and only type of beneficial drink. In my view, drinking any type of alcohol in moderation is beneficial because it lowers stress, the No. 1 hidden cause of heart disease.
So, go ahead and enjoy a glass or two with dinner. Or—enjoy a nice hot toddy by the fire to help stay warm!
2.) They drink more coffee
The mainstream also likes to talk about coffee like it’s some kind of crutch or vice. But I stopping buying that nonsense 35 years ago. Because—as I often report—studies show that coffee has dozens of health benefits.
Like alcohol, coffee contains many powerful, healthy constituents, including antioxidants and polyphenols, that benefit your health. So it’s no wonder that men and women who regularly drink moderate amounts of coffee live longer than those who don’t!
(Of course, at this time of year, an Irish coffee with some added whiskey sounds mighty good, too!)
3.) They weigh more
The mainstream also likes to scare you about the supposed dangers of carrying some extra weight. And perhaps you made a New Year’s resolution to shed some of it in 2020.
Well—let me share some good news…
In this study, people who were “overweight” in their 70s also lived longer than those who were underweight —or even normal weight—at that age.
This finding may come as a surprise to you, given the kinds of commercial ads and marketing images we see all around us these days.
But this study, as well as plenty of others, clearly shows that carrying a bit of “extra” weight is actually protective. Especially as you get older. In fact, being underweight at older ages could be sign of chronic illness, which of course, is associated with shorter lifespan.
Live like a super-ager in 2020
Clearly, longevity is not all about avoiding every so-called “risky” behavior! And it’s not even just about your good genes.
So, as we move forward into 2020, live like a super-ager and follow this simple, healthy advice:
- Don’t worry so much about the number on the scale. Instead, eat like some of our grandparents did with a balanced, Mediterranean-type diet filled with fresh, organic vegetables and fruits; free-range, grass-fed and -finished meats; wild-caught seafood and fish; full-fat dairy (such as cheese, milk, yogurt, and eggs); and nuts and seeds.
- Go ahead and enjoy alcohol—of any kind—in moderation. I always recommend one to three glasses, depending your body size.
- Exercise—but only in moderation. Aim for 150 minutes per week. And remember, don’t overlook the benefits of a daily walk in Nature. Which brings me to my next tip…
- Spend time in Nature whenever you can. Because as it turns out, Mother Nature has a “secret weapon” for health and longevity.
- Keep a positive outlook on life by seeking spiritual enrichment or practicing mindfulness meditation. To learn more about meditation and how to fit it into your busy life, check out my book with Don McCown, New World Mindfulness.
- Stay active socially by spending time with your family or joining a dinner club or book club. Most people need some social interaction to stay mentally and emotionally healthy. And as I’ve written before, isolation and loneliness can kill—so keep your social contacts intact and remain part of your community. I also recommend keeping a pet! By doing so, you’ll have a faithful companion by your side. In fact, having a pet is one of the top-10 simple health changes you can make to improve your overall well-being and longevity.
Most of all, enjoy life. It is indeed good.
P.S. For more simple, common-sense strategies for staying vibrant, youthful, and healthy as you age well into your 70s, 80s, and beyond—I encourage you to check out The Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age.” To learn more about this innovative online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!
“The 90+ Study.” UCI Mind, 12/16/19. (www.mind.uci.edu/research-studies/90plus-study/)