Expert Commentary: Dr. Micozzi, M.D. May 8, 2009

Living to 100 plus. That's the goal. Live a long time and be healthy along the way. How to do that? We have come a long way in understanding the basics for a long life. It's not a magic bullet, not special vitamins though there is mounting evidence that certain supplements do seem to have the ability to protect us from many serious diseases.

Still it comes down to basics. Basics we’ve heard before – and basics we will hear again – and again – and again. Because no matter how much we hear it, most of us do fall off the wagon. Though it’s nice to hear the First Lady of the country, Michelle Obama, taking up the message.

So Thomas Perls’ study of centenarians at Boston University sums it up as well as anybody.  Here is his list with my spin on it.

Don’t retire. Staying active is key. Having a purpose to live, gives you a reason to live. It makes a difference.

Floss daily. Healthy gums, healthy life. Bleeding gums give access to bacteria that may induce inflammation in the heart and other parts of the body. 

Exercise. It doesn’t take much. The difference between a little and nothing is huge. The difference between a little and a lot of exercise not as much. 

Eat a breakfast, rich in fiber. A piece of grandmotherly wisdom still holds, but without the eggs and bacon.

Sleep at least 6 hours. More and more research demonstrates the importance of sleep – and the difficulty in getting it in today’s high-anxiety world is a looming health problem.

Eat whole foods. The core premise of a healthy life. You are what you eat. 
De-stress. Easier said than done. Even if you think you are a cool cucumber, stress can get to you. Barack looks cool, but we are all are watching how quickly his hair is turning grey.

Model the Seventh Day Adventists. While a nice prescription, it’s hard to say with any specific group whether genetics is a factor. 

Stick to routines. In other words, keep in balance. The advice for a good life that dates back to ancient Greece (e.g. the “golden mean”).

And finally, Stay in touch with people. Friends, lovers, husbands and wives. We love them, we hate them… but it does make the world go round.


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