How to live a longer life
How to live longer is something that the majority of the population wants to know. Is it exercise? Is it nutrition? Is it down to our genes? Current stats tell us that a newborn baby boy can expect to live to 79.2, while a girl can hope for 82.9 years, which gives the impression that gender also has a role to play.
Doing the hard work for you, we’ve taken a look at the latest facts and stats, to try to work out just how we can live to a truly ripe old age.
YOUR PLACE IN THE FOOD CHAIN
The quickest way to achieve a longevity boost is to avoid the animals higher up the food chain. For every 3% increase in energy you get from plant proteins, you’ll be rewarded by a 10% decrease in the likelihood of death, found a paper by JAMA Internal Medicine.
However, if you reverse the equation by increasing the amount of animal protein you eat by 10%, you’ll only get a 2% increased likelihood of death from all causes.
That means being vegetarian doesn’t automatically increase your lifespan. Giving up food for two to four days every six months, instructs your body to kill older immune cells and create new ones which can replenish and strengthen your immune system, says research in Cell Stem Cell.
You could take the risk of moving close to sites prone to seismic activity because volcanic soil does sport more nutrients than all others, but that might also be counter productive to your longevity goals.
Instead, grow your own where you can and try to shop locally at farmers’ markets to make sure the food is seasonal and hasn’t lost nutrients in transportation.
IS IT IN YOUR GENES?
Why can some folk puff through 20 cigarettes a day, barely exercise and still reach the ripe vintage of 100 years old?
It stands to reason exercise, working hours and socialising come into play, but lucky genetics do play a role according to a paper in Science Advances. It found a unique genetic mutation is in fact linked to a 10-year increase in lifespan in certain men.
So yes, your DNA does have a big part to play, but other factors include no smoking, enjoying alcohol at moderate levels, being a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
GENE THERAPY FOR LONGEVITY
This cutting edge science sounds like something out of a dystopian novel, but it’s fast becoming the norm. It’s when doctors alter or replace the genes in your cells to treat or stop a disease. While it sounds safe, there can be drawbacks.
The Mayo Clinic says this therapy might create unwanted immune system reactions, could target the wrong cells, tumour growth can be triggered and an infection could be caused by a virus.
Currently, the only way you can try this is by involving yourself in a clinical trial, so it’s tough to know if a virus caused by a recipient of gene therapy could infect someone else and therein lies the ethical conundrum.
Does making one person better warrant the risk of making someone else sick via a new type of human created disease? This kind of medicine is going to be the reserve of the wealthy. Whether they care enough about the little guy will remain to be seen.