Friday, 13 May 2011

Going for the big 100

Some people find it odd that one of my goals in life is to live to 100 years old - I think because people assume that by that age life isn't any fun anymore. But, whilst I doubt I'll still be partying into the small hours, the goal is more about making sure that I enjoy my old age as much as possible by staying healthy.

I think it is also seen as a bit unrealistic to live that old so I was much cheered when I read in an e-mail I received from that there will be 11 million people in the world who have reached or will be reaching 100 years old in the next few years. So I'll be in good company!

Although having good genes is pretty important for longevity (all my grandparents lived into their 80s) there's got to be more to it if that many people can manage it!

So what's the recipe to living long and living well?

Well firstly there are lots of important nutrients you need to slow down the ageing process and keep your cells young. In particular:

Antioxidants and fibre (fruit, veg and wholegrains)
Essential fats (Oily nuts and seeds)
Lean protein (fish, seafood, white meat, beans, tofu)
Pure un polluted water

Plus some other things you need in plentiful supply:
Relaxation - proper time out to switch your brain off
Sunlight and fresh air - we need natural light and oxygen to thrive
Daily exercise - it's important to keep your body moving

Then there are the baddies that speed ageing up and should be avoided:
Fried foods/anything cooked to a high temperature
Artificial additives
Saturated fats and trans fats
Sugar and refined foods - a big contributor in ageing and disease
Alcohol (in excess)
Smoking - an absolute no no

What's also important is to keep your mind sharp - you won't enjoy old age, even if you're fit and healthy, if you lose your mental faculties.  This is why it's important to keep your mind active as well as your body.

Whilst most of us fantasize about retiring early it's better for our brains to delay retirement - not that I'd suggest slaving in the city into your 80s, but. I'm sure a few of us will be on our second or third careers by then, and hopefully doing something a bit less stressful but still stimulating!

It's also important to keep stimulating the brain with new activities such as doing something creative like painting, dancing, writing, doing mind games, such as crosswords and sudoko or taking up a new hobby. By the time I'm 100 who knows what new skills I'll have acquired!

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