How to Live up to One Hundred Years: Five Tips from Countries Where People Live the Longest
533 thousand people on Earth have already had their one-hundredth birthday. Besides, during the last eighteen years, the number of long-lived people has increased four times as in the year 2000 there were only 151 thousand of them. Your chances to have your one-hundredth birthday are sharply increased if you are a woman (who accounts for 80% of all long-lived people), or, if at least one of your close relatives has lived up to one hundred years, or if you maintain an active lifestyle and follow the Mediterranean diet (three years ago it was officially recognized as the healthiest one contributing to high life expectancy). However, there is one more factor, which is the place of your residence. The average life expectancy all over the world is 71 years, but in some countries, this figure is considerably higher and the number of long-lived people there is bigger than in other corners of the Earth. We have tried to analyze the ratings of countries with high life expectancy and figure out what influences the longevity of their residents.
- Hong Kong: 84.7 years
In the year 2018, Hong Kong has, for the first time, become the leader in the rating of countries with the highest life expectancy, overtaking its eternal rivals — Japan and Italy. Women in Hong Kong can expect to live 87.3 years while men — 81.3. According to the doctors, the secret of such high life expectancy lies in the accessible and convenient infrastructure of Hong Kong, good social provision, and favorable ecological conditions. Moreover, as noted by the Ph.D. in Medicine, Dr. Go Chi Jui from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the longevity of the residents of Hong Kong is influenced by the habit of drinking tea often, eating low-salt foods, cooked by steaming, working as long as possible and exercising, especially at an older age, as well as by maintaining close communication with the family.
- Japan: 84.5 years
According to the data of the United Nations Organization, the average life expectancy in Japan is only several months less than that in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the island of Okinawa, located to the south of the country, is a world’s record holder in the number of long-lived people. The scientists, who study this phenomenon, assume that the longevity of the Japanese is influenced, first of all, by the traditional diet, including large quantities of soy cheese named tofu, sweet potato, and fish. Also, Japanese living in the older age groups, remain fully integrated into society, having an active social life, actively communicating, and exercising. All of this keeps the daily stress level down, which positively affects the state of health and, as a consequence, affects longevity.
- Switzerland: 83.6 years
Switzerland occupies third place in the rating of countries with the highest life expectancy while being the world leader in the life expectancy of men. On average, the Swiss live 81 years. In addition to excellent healthcare and social support, which can be expected by the residents of one of the most affluent countries of the world, the life expectancy is influenced by the heavy cheese diet (which, if eaten regularly, is considered to significantly decrease the risk of heart stroke and improving the health of cardiovascular system) and dairy products as well as a habit of having an active lifestyle and, in particular, taking long walks in the fresh air.
- Singapore: 83.5 years
The lowest infant and maternal mortality in the world, the healthcare, focused on prevention and early diagnostics (first of all, cancer) as well as a comfortable city environment, ideally suited for exercise and relieving daily stress — these are the factors that contribute to Singaporeans living a longer life. Some experts also assume that high life expectancy is also influenced by lower access to alcohol and cigarettes compared to other countries as the sales of these commodities are subject to a heavy tax so that they cost many times more than in other countries.
- Italy: 83.4 years
Another reserve of long-lived people is located in Italy. In the city of Acciaroli, the region of Campania, 20 percent of its residents have already reached their 110th birthday. The average life expectancy in Italy is 81 years for men and 95 years for women. Is it a favorable climate, one of the best healthcare systems in Europe, the habit of living in large families, or being socially active until late in life? Indeed, all of these have their effect, but the researchers are sure that the main reason for the longevity of Italians is the Mediterranean diet. Large quantities of fresh vegetables and fruits, olive oil, fish, dairy products, as well as nuts and red wine, which are the core of the Mediterranean diet, have a positive effect practically on all systems of the human body and allow it to remain healthy and active until old age, and actually prolongs the life.
After analysis of all factors affecting longevity in all of these countries, one can make his or her own recipe for longevity: keep the social connection with family and friends, find something you love to do which would also make you feel necessary even after retirement, go to sports and physical exercise, quit bad habits, and most importantly, remain optimistic. At the end of the day, the main reason for having a long life is being able to enjoy it.
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