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Ten ways to live to 100

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1) Breathe pure oxygen

Pop star Justin Bieber could live to a grand and healthy old age if a breakthrough research study is to be believed—or is that beliebed? Bieber has installed hyperbaric oxygen chambers in his home and recording studio, and that could be a wise move, according to scientists who have discovered that breathing pure oxygen in these pressurized chambers reverses the aging process as measured by telomere shortening and senescent cell growth, two key biological markers of aging.

Telomeres are caps on the end of chromosomes, our DNA strands, which can shorten—and so lose their protective abilities—because of stress or chronic inflammation, or if we’re overweight or a smoker. As a result, our DNA can be damaged, and healthy cells stop regenerating, which can trigger many chronic health problems including cancer and Alzheimer’s. When our chromosomes are damaged, “zombie” senescent cells are created, and these block the growth of new, healthy cells.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy could be the holy grail that can reverse those processes, say researchers from Tel-Aviv University. They saw dramatic improvements in the biological age of 35 participants who had five, 90-minute sessions a week for three months. By the end of the trial, their telomeres had lengthened by 20 percent, which had been their length 25 years ago, suggesting their “biological age” had gone down. The researchers also saw the participants’ levels of senescent cells fall by 37 percent.


2) Eat pomegranates

There have been plenty of contenders for the superfood crown, but when it comes to aging, the pomegranate could win the prize.

The fleshy fruit contains a molecule that kick-starts flagging mitochondria—our cells’ powerhouses—back into life. This gives new energy to tissues and muscles, which can weaken over the years.

A pomegranate-derived precursor molecule is transformed into urolithin A, which is an anti-aging agent, by microbes in the gut. So, yet again, it all comes down to having a healthy gut.


3) Drink red wine

There’s something in red wine that can trigger anti-aging processes. The wine activates an anti-aging protein called SIRT1, which rejuvenates cells in our immune system.

The protein revives cytotoxic T cells, which kill cells infected by a virus and block cancer cells. 

As we age, our cells lose the SIRT1 protein, and this can start inflammatory processes, which lead to heart disease and some cancers.


4) Start dancing

Any exercise can reverse signs of aging in the brain—but the best of all is dancing. 

Learning dance routines gives new life to brain areas that usually decline with age, such as the hippocampus, which plays a key role in memory and learning. Dancing also improves balance
and flexibility.

Researchers put a group of older volunteers with an average age of 68 through 18 months of weekly dance lessons where they learned new steps and routines, and positive changes in their brains were measured by MRI.


5) Take Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin holds the mantle of anti-aging super-supplement. It’s a powerful antioxidant that is also found in marine animals such as salmon, shrimp and crab and gives them their pink hue.

It’s been proven to protect us against a range of health problems usually associated with aging, including dementia, failing eyesight, wrinkles and fine lines on our skin. It may also protect against cancer, improve heart health and boost fertility.

The optimum daily dose is 2–4 mg, and it’s best to take after a meal that includes fats. It’s also a good idea to take it with healthy fats such as olive or flaxseed oil.


6) Eat dark chocolate and zinc (yes, together)

Zinc is a mineral that has anti-aging qualities—and this gets a rocket-charged boost if you take it with a piece of dark chocolate. It doesn’t have to be chocolate; anything that contains polyphenols will do, and that also includes cocoa powder, berries, nuts, vegetables, wine and beans.

Whatever combination you choose, it will combat the effects of aging, including wrinkles and lines, and reduce inflammation and the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.


7) Eat less

Fasting—either by eating fewer calories every day or limiting the window of time when you can eat—could help you live longer.

There’s not enough evidence to categorically prove it helps people live longer, but fasting helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system—and with heart disease being the number one killer, that must help with longevity.

When we fast, a molecule called beta-hydroxybutyrate is produced by the liver, which has an anti-aging effect on the health of our arteries and blood vessels.


8) Be social

Being in any social group—whether it’s a church or the local amateur dramatics society—has a big part to play in longevity. Community is one of the cornerstones of health and wellbeing, and that has an impact on just how long we live.

One study of more than 300,000 participants discovered that those who engaged in any social activity were 50 percent more likely to live a long life.


9) Turn off the light

Around 75 percent of the world’s population is exposed to artificial light during the night, and this interferes with our circadian light-dark cycle that helps regulate and maintain
good health.

 Many of the signs of aging that we put down to advancing years could have more to do with us rarely experiencing total darkness. Unsteadiness, frailty, muscle loss and osteoporosis are all a consequence of an interrupted circadian cycle, researchers have discovered.


10) Stay positive

Living a long life isn’t just down to eating healthily and exercising—your attitude to life is just as relevant. Researchers have discovered that keeping positive and optimistic is as important as the food we eat.

People who remained optimistic were nearly twice as likely to reach the age of 85 as others who were more pessimistic and world-weary, according to one study.

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3) J Exp Med, 2018; 215: 51–62

4) Front Hum Neurosci, 2017; 11: 305

5) J Nat Prod, 2006; 69: 443–9

6) Nat Chem, 2018; 10: 1207–12

7) Mol Cell, 2018; 71: 1064–78.e5

8) PLoS Med, 2010; 7: e1000316

9) Curr Biol, 2016; 26: 1843–53

10) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2019; 116: 18357–62

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