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Want to reach your 100th birthday? Then follow our easy tips to ensure you get that telegram from the Queen, says Charmaine Yabsley.
Food may give you energy to live, but when it comes to reaching triple digits, less is more. According to research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in the US, kilojoule restriction in non-obese people means less oxidative damage in muscle cells. As oxidative damage has been linked to ageing, it may be that limiting your kilojoules by 20 percent a day could help you live longer. "It's not about drastically cutting your calories to lose weight, but living on healthier, more nutritious, yet less fattening foods," says Robert Cavanaugh, of the Calorie Restriction Society. "Eat less of the bad foods and more of the good foods that make up your regular diet. This usually results in fewer calories and a better nutrient profile. This is not a lifestyle where you try to see how long you can go with hunger cravings. The net result will be that you are eating foods you have always eaten and are used to, but you will be eating in better ratios and proportions."
Up your fruit and veg
To cut kilojoules, pile your plate high with fruit and vegetables. "Twelve percent of preventable illnesses and death in Australia is caused by not eating the recommended servings of five vegies and two fruits each day. So eat up and live longer," says Dr Ronald McCoy, spokesperson for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. And variety is the key. "Eat your colours: your greens, reds, purples, yellows, oranges and whites for a great variety of nutrients and antioxidants."
Volunteer and make a difference
Women who volunteer for about 40 to 100 hours a year, or one hour or so a week, live longer than those who are less altruistic. One study from the University of Michigan, and a more recent study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in the US, concluded that volunteering not only helps you feel happier about yourself, as well as more purposeful, but your social network will widen (see point 7), helping you feel less stressed. "Stress hormones increase the risk of cardiovascular problems or stroke, so those who reduce these hormones, through whatever means, will live longer," says Melbourne-based clinical psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack.
It may not actually make you live longer, but one perfume manufacturer of the citrus scent Ageless Fantasy by Harvey Prince found in trials that males believed the wearer to be eight years younger than they actually were. "Citrus essential oils are very happy, uplifting oils," says Hunter Valley-based aromatherapist Julie Nelson. "Grapefruit is a very confident oil." Nelson also suggests wearing bergamot essential oil, which represents "forever young at heart". "Spray it onto your clothes as it reacts to sunlight and ultraviolet lights and impress everybody with how youthful and vibrant you are."
For the full story, see the July issue of Good Health. Subscribe to Good Health and receive a FREE La Mav Intense Moisture Nightly Repair Nectar, valued at $69.95.