I first learned about centenarians—people who live to be at least 100—while watching a documentary about happiness on Netflix aptly named Happy. The film follows a variety of people who are inordinately happy in order to determine the secrets to the elusive feeling. According to the doc, a great number of these people are centenarians living in communities together in various places around the world.
One that stuck out most to me was a small community of happy, healthy elderly people in Greece who lived off the land, ate a Mediterranean diet, and drank wine every day. I decided right then and there that I wanted to move to Ikaria and live the centenarian lifestyle (a goal I've yet to achieve but haven't given up on yet). When a recent health and wellness event introduced me to a woman who studied why centenarians have the rest of us beat when it comes to longer living, I had to know more.
"These people are able to live with no disease, no medication, and are full of energy and vibrancy well beyond their years," explains Riley Rearden, a nutrition expert with a background in biochemistry who has spent years investigating the effects of various lifestyle habits on cellular aging. What's their secret to not only living longer but living well? According to Rearden, it comes down to lifestyle habits, stress levels, environment, and genetics. Ahead, she breaks down seven tips for living like a centenarian. See how many of their healthy habits you can bring into your own life.
1. Eat a plant-based diet.
2. Fast overnight.
Intermittent fasting has become a bit of a health trend over the past few years, however, it's long been understood as part of a healthy lifestyle. Rearden explains that it mimics caloric restriction without making you feel deprived and has been proven to improve lifespan. She suggests following the 16:8 rule, which stipulates that you stop eating after dinner and wait to eat breakfast until mid-morning. "This also gives your digestive system a necessary break as it works very hard during the eight hours that we do eat during the day," the nutrition expert says.
3. Exercise regularly at a moderate intensity.
4. Meditate regularly.
6. Make time for your passions.