Are you planning on living to 100? There are actually around 450,000 centenarians in the world, 72,000 of them in the US. Longevity, is about a whole slew of factors. Genes naturally play a role. So do the armies of free radical agents that rummage inside of us. Other factors include antioxidants, exercise and nutrition, negative attitudes, brain health, and mitigating stress.
Living to 100 relies on those thousands of mind-blowing parts and systems inside the body that operate in sync and keep us functioning harmoniously – homeostasis. The point about homeostasis is that any blockage to that glorious orchestration of cells, organs, and systems can throw us into disrepair—and a shortening of our lifespan.
Oxidative Stress, Antioxidants, and Aging
The Free Radical Theory of Aging (FRTA) stipulates that aging is the continuous battle between oxidative stress (akin to what makes a piece of metal rust when left in the open) and antioxidants. In that raging “wear and tear” war, stress is a powerful enemy, and antioxidants (berries, leafy veggies, nuts, red wine, dark chocolate, etc.) fight back and support our longevity.
And although we conduct this battle gallantly day in and day out, the best we can is try to live as long as possible—perhaps living to 100 and beyond.
The Genetic Factors For Living To 100
According to Thomas Perls, Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University, 50% of those who make it to 100+ have in their ancestry people who also aged beyond the norms. In other studies, we learn that perhaps up to 25% of the longevity factor is due to our genes.
Although many other family studies associate longevity with both genetic and non-genetic factors, recent findings showed that even the offspring of those with abnormally long lifespans are likely to live long and less likely to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. No need for alarm though, for there are hordes of centenarians whose parents only lived to their 70’s or 80’s.