Leaving the English Way: Why People Live Longer in Great Britain?
Great Britain is an island whose second name can be the Island of Well-Being, and it has a high index of personal safety, wellness, income, and longevity.
The average life expectancy in Great Britain is 81 years: 83 years for women and 79 years for men. At the same time, the number of centenarians is continuously increasing. In 2019, this number reached the record level of 14.57 thousand persons, according to the research “Life Expectancy in the UK.“ Even Robert Weighton, the oldest person on the planet, had also been living on the territory of the United Kingdom and died at the age of 112.
Unfortunately, no one, including Britons, could guess the secret of longevity so far. But we will at least try to make an educated guess why the UK residents live longer than others.
Version one is from scientists
As we know, what we eat and move determines how we feel and how long we can live. The older we become, the stronger the dependency is. And although the Mediterranean diet is considered the best for health and longevity, the traditional British diet also has something to be proud of.
The traditional eggs with bacon or boiled eggs offered for breakfast in many British houses (at least, as described in classic and popular fiction) are delicious and satiating and very good for health. According to research “Associations of egg consumption with cardiovascular disease in a cohort study of 0.5 million adults,” published in the Heart magazine, just one egg per day decreases the risk of stroke by 26% and the risk of heart disorders by 11%. The research authors assume that this effect is achieved by the egg’s ability to increase the level of good HDL cholesterol, which protects the heart and flushes “bad” cholesterol from the body. Besides, eggs are rich in protein, which helps decrease the sugar level and maintain healthy body mass, reducing the risks of stroke.
Please bear in mind that these diseases are in the top five of the most widespread chronic illnesses found in people aged over 65 years and significantly increase the risk of premature death. So, if you want to live long, eat eggs.
Another traditional dish without which it is impossible to imagine Britain. Even if you don’t like or even despise it, try thinking about it this way: whole grain oatmeal is one of the most effective and simple ways to regulate the level of blood sugar, as supported by the research “The Metabolic Effects of Oats Intake in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Oats are digested slowly, controlling the speed of glucose entering the bloodstream, preventing insulin peaks, and maintaining a healthy glucose level in the blood. And since diabetes, which will most likely become one of our century’s most widespread diseases, also significantly influences longevity, there is no surprise why Britons live longer.
Of course, speaking of the Great Britain, one cannot miss the most popular English beverage, a cup of tea. Although the tea is rich in caffeine, it positively affects the state of the heart and blood vessels. Meanwhile, green tea even helps to control arterial blood pressure. According to the research authors, “Effect of green tea consumption on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials.” The tea’s most valuable asset is antioxidants, plentiful in tea leaves. Flavonoids, which are found in tea in significant quantities, can help to protect cells from free radicals and even neutralize or decrease the damage made by them and thereby increasing the lifespan of the cells as demonstrated by the research “Bioavailability and antioxidant activity of tea flavanols after consumption of green tea.”
The research by Harvard University experts made in 2018, “Don’t retire – and have plenty of sex! New study reveals the scientifically proven ways to live TEN YEARS longer,“ has confirmed that people who stayed sexually active after 60 have turned for medical help less often. They had fewer issues with blood vessels and heart, fewer issues with extra weight, and were coping with seasonal illnesses such as flu more easily.
- Love for walks
An Englishman can be rarely seen at home: Britons love sports and long walks. We remember classic fiction heroes who walked miles in forests, hills, and barren land in any weather (even in the most inconvenient outfits). They were right, as the abovementioned Harvard’s research has proven that two long walks per week result in a minimum of ten years of life and even more!
Version two is from personal stories
No one can tell about the secrets of longevity better than those who have celebrated their hundredth birthday. As mentioned, there are plenty of such people in the United Kingdom, and they are eagerly sharing their secrets.
- Less bad habits and a proper diet
Her Majesty Elizabeth II has not yet celebrated her hundredth birthday but is already over the average life expectancy. What is her secret for longevity? We can assume that, in the first place, it is the absence of bad habits despite the popularity of and even the fashion for smoking in the years of her youth. Apparently, Her Majesty is indifferent to alcohol. Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s former press secretary, has said in an interview with the BBC that Elizabeth drinks no more than one glass of wine per month.
The second secret lies in having a proper diet and being harsh to herself. The former personal chef of the Queen, Darren McGrady, has revealed that when she doesn’t accommodate guests, she prefers very simple dishes, for example, grilled chicken with salad. “She is very tough on herself. The rule is no starch, no potatoes, rice or pasta for dinner,” McGrady said.
- Fewer words, more actions
This is the rule lived by Madeline Dye, who recently celebrated her 108th birthday. The woman was never married and tried to do something every spare minute. Madeline worked, binding books all her life, and always walked to work. Even on the weekends, the woman didn’t rest but was gardening or knitting. In an interview, “Woman, 106, says key to long life is being single and not going to pub for 90 years,“ her niece said that every time someone was asking about recreations, Madeline Dye answered, “I don’t have them, and that is why I am this age.” Madeline went to a pub for the first time in her 90s, just out of curiosity. And went out convinced that she didn’t lose anything in life, “There are more exciting things than a pint of beer.”
- More champagne!
Dorothy Flowers from Northern Yorkshire, who celebrated her 108th birthday, states that she could live her age just because she has never refused a glass of champagne. Scientists agree with her, as the recent study results demonstrated, one-two glass of sparkling wine per day helps women manage stress better and live longer as a result. In a word, the story about alcohol and entertainment is so far very confusing.
- More sausage rolls
Meanwhile, Mary Emerson from Sussex claims that she has lived to 100 years only because she regularly ate her favorite dish — sausage rolls. She said that she treated her guests with freshly-baked sausage rolls for most of her life. “I still love cooking them, however now I need assistance,” the centenarian said. “It is this treat and positive mindset which have helped me to live into old age.”
- And never give up
Bob Weighton, the oldest citizen of Great Britain, who died at the age of 112 years, had explained his longevity simply by a habit of struggling and never giving up. “I have lived through the same fears as everyone. Lived through cold, flu, malaria, two or three operations,” Weighton admitted. “I was expected to leave this world long ago, but I am a fighter,” he said in an interview with Sky News. And honestly, we consider this advice of never giving up as the most effective.
So what is the secret?
We can hardly imagine that Britons or residents of some other countries know the magic secret of longevity but just don’t want to share it. In fact, life expectancy depends on our luck (genetics, circumstances where we live, political and economic situations in our countries, and the world) and efforts. And we think it’s a bad idea to miss a chance to live longer — even if all it takes is just to eat sausage rolls more often.
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