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?

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.

Live-longer tips
Add more veg: think of them as a main rather than a side; double up on the quantity you normally serve; and add a veg or fruit-based snack to your morning routine.

So what are the rules for an age-defying lifestyle? ‘There are some excellent long-term population studies that have taught us much about longevity. Some of these focus on ve geographic regions known as the Blue Zones (see overleaf), where the populations enjoy exceptionally long and healthy lives,’ says Michael. ‘Based on these, and other similar studies, we know certain behaviours are associated with a longer lifespan. These include eating a mostly plant-based diet, incorporating daily movement or exercise, not using tobacco, using little or no alcohol, and being part of a community.’

Here I interview Dr Michael Greger, author of How Not To Die, to delve deep into the secrets of the blue zones and how to apply the traits to our western lifestyle.