Today’s Solutions: April 21, 2024

Currently, the oldest person on the planet is an impressive 118 years old. However, new research suggests that we could theoretically live up to 150 years. Imagine all the things we could accomplish with that kind of time! 

To increase your chances of a long and healthy life, take some notes from the experts on how to increase your health span (which is the amount of time you spend feeling spry and healthy). The best part? Their recommendations are actually quite easy to follow! In fact, some of the most delicious drinks are also the best for promoting longevity. 

According to Dan Buettner, a researcher of Blue Zones (places where people live the longest without chronic disease), people in these zones tend to drink coffee, green tea, black tea, water, and even wine on a daily basis for decades or even a century. It’s not just a coincidence either— separate scientific research backs up the benefits of these beverages too. So, let’s raise a glass to a long and fulfilling life filled with all our favorite drinks!

The top 5 beverages for longevity, according to Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner
Green tea

Buettner claims that in Okinawa’s Blue Zone, people may fill up a 20-ounce jar of green tea leaves and drink it throughout the day. He gives two reasons why this may help them acquire centenarian status at a higher rate than the overall population.

“First of all, caffeine has come out as a net positive, and it’s associated with lower rates of Diabetes and Parkinson’s, lower rates of heart disease, and sharper focus,” he explains. That said, he warns against drinking it in the afternoon, as the caffeine content could interfere with your sleep.

The other reason green tea is a great choice for those looking to increase their longevity, according to both Dan Buettner and registered dietitian Neva Cochran, is that it’s high in flavanols, a type of antioxidant that has been linked to a reduction in bad cholesterol and better cardiovascular health. 

Additionally, the catechins found in green tea, along with its caffeine content and l-theanine, protect the brain and have been linked to better attention, memory, and improved mood. Green tea has also been linked to lower fasting blood sugar levels, which could be protective against the development of type 2 diabetes, as well as improved bone and gut health.

Black tea

Many of the same benefits apply to black tea as they do to green tea. Caffeine, antioxidant polyphenols, L-theanine, and flavonols are also present. As a result, it protects against the development of a variety of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Plus, it’s actually better for the gut and digestion than green tea.

Coffee (black)

Good news for the coffee lovers out there: your daily cup of joe is not only delicious but also packed with beneficial antioxidants and essential nutrients that can improve your health and well-being. According to Buettner, coffee is the primary source of antioxidants in the American diet and its consumption is linked to improved risk for various diseases, including type 2 diabetes, depression, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and liver disease.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Coffee is also rich in essential nutrients like vitamin B5, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin.

Water

Water is one of the most healthful beverages that you can drink! It’s vital for our bodies, and it’s incredibly refreshing without any additives or chemicals that can cause harm. As Buettner shares, in all Blue Zones, people drink water with their meals, and it’s not a complicated concoction of fancy drinks. According to him, the water in Blue Zones may be even more healthful than other places because of its cleanliness.

“If you ask a centenarian what explains the longevity of the area, they’ll say good food, clean air, and freshwater,” Buettner explains, emphasizing the importance of water for a healthy life. In Costa Rica, for instance, the water that bubbles out of the earth in the Nicoya Peninsula is rich in calcium and magnesium, which can be beneficial for bone health and heart function. Buettner notes, “When you have high levels of calcium and sunshine, those two conspire to make your bones stronger, so people have fewer fractures and fewer fatal falls.” 

Red wine

Alcohol has been a controversial topic when it comes to its health benefits. However, Buettner, who has extensively studied the Blue Zones, suggests that a moderate intake of alcohol can contribute to a longer and healthier life. Despite acknowledging the risks associated with drinking, Buettner suggests that in all five Blue Zones, people consume a small amount of alcohol daily, and it positively impacts their quality of life.

Moderate alcohol consumption is linked to higher flavonoid or antioxidant absorption, which can lower cortisol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Moreover, drinking in moderation fosters social connections, which are a vital aspect of longevity.

Although alcohol is not for everyone, Buettner emphasizes that drinking in moderation, specifically one drink per day can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Buettner encourages consuming alcohol with a plant-based meal to maximize its health benefits.

 

 

We are highlighting this piece as part of our annual “Best Of” roundup of articles published at The Optimist Daily this year. Today’s focus is on the top Lifestyle solutions of 2023.

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