The secret to a longer life is unknown, but there is evidence to suggest what can help. Read on for five factors that could make certain people live longer.
1. They have the right genes
Studies have found that a long lifespan may be linked to genetics, making it a lottery for us all. One study from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine looked into 500 individuals who had lived to 95 or older and identified common genotypes, rather than lifestyle variables, that caused them to outlive others.
They included APOC3, which correlates to reduced risk of heart attacks, and IGF-r, which affects how the body regulates insulin-like growth factor 1, a protein linked to proper growth development.
CETP was also identified as a genotype that contributes to longer life, as it is tied to increased levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.1
2. Their mother is younger
There is other research that points towards younger mothers. It suggests that people whose mother gave birth to them at age 25 or younger generally lived longer than those with an older mother.
The exact reasons why are uncertain, but evidence does suggest that the healthier eggs of younger mothers is a contributing factor.2
3. They have strong friendships
Also linked to longevity is the strength of an individual’s social life and how lonely they feel. A Brigham Young University study concluded that loneliness and social isolation are just as threating to longevity as obesity.
This is especially true among younger generations, despite the connected world we now live in where social networks allow us to contact others over long distances.3
The connection between mental health and physical wellbeing is now widely known. Depression has been linked to a 67% increase in the risk of death from heart disease and a 50% increase in the risk of death from cancer.4
It’s a clear sign that if we all want to live longer, we need to look after our mental state as well as our physical health.
4. They drink lots of tea
Our food and drink habits have a big impact on our health, and tea gets a lot of good press when it comes to health benefits. This is backed up by an interesting project called Blue Zones, which began life as a study from National Geographic. It explores the lifestyles of communities that have the highest concentration of centenarians.
Factors such as strong social ties, close families and ample exercise were shared by the communities under the spotlight, but one other stand-out factor was tea consumption.5
Green tea is considered one of the best types as it is high in the anti-oxidant catechin which is closely associated with good cardiovascular health and a reduced risk of cancer.6
5. They’re physically stronger
Muscle strength has also been aligned with living longer. A study of more than a million Swedish teenage boys supports concluded that “low muscular strength in adolescents is an emerging risk factor for major causes of death in young adulthood, such as suicide and cardiovascular diseases”.
Those who scored above average during initial muscular strength tests were at a 20-35% lower risk of early death from any cause, including cardiovascular disease. They were also less likely to suffer from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression.7
Many people want to live as long as possible, and while we can all drink more tea and build strong friendships, some factors remain out of our hands. What you can do is make sure you're looking after your physical and mental health.
If you are worried about your health or think you're due a 'health MOT', get in touch to find out about our health assessments. We can give you tips on how to live happily and healthily as well as detecting medical issues as early as possible.
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