We Live Longer. How Can We Live Better?

Sep 29

Average Americans live longer today – the lifespan has grown from about 45 years in 1900 to over 75 years today. But is it the length of years lived that we should focus on, or the quality of those years? Even though we die older, we also live longer with diseases. 

Healthspan is a part of a person’s life during which they are generally in good health. So how can we focus on both longevity and healthspan?

How can you increase longevity and healthspan?

Have you heard about the world’s Blue Zones? They are the five areas in the world with the highest percentage of centenarians. These zones include Nicoya, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, California. 

Based on the research, only 20% of how long we live is dictated by our genes, leaving the rest of 80% to be dictated by our lifestyles. 

As you age, the ends of your chromosomes become shorter, making you more likely to get sick. But can you make them longer again? Yes! By changing your lifestyle, you can boost an enzyme that makes them longer. Plus, studies show diet and exercise can help protect them. The bottom line: healthy habits may slow aging at the cellular level

Recently, researchers found remarkable similarities in these Blue Zone population’s diets:

  1. Greater than 90% plant-based diet
  2. Emphasize various seasonal vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  3. Consume legumes – including beans, chickpeas, and lentils – daily
  4. Eat meat only sparingly – as a small side or on a special occasion
  5. Avoid processed foods and refined sugars
  6. Choose water combined with small amounts of tea, coffee, or red wine

9 principles of a long and healthy life

According to Dan Buettner, who led the expedition to uncover the secrets of longevity, not everyone can live for 100 years. Still, many individuals have the capacity to make it to the 90s and largely without a chronic disease. 

There are 9 evidence-based principles among the world’s centenarians that are believed to slow this aging process. 

Let’s dive into them:

  1. 🏃Move naturally. You don’t have to become Usain Bolt – just continue getting your heart rate up daily (walk, cycle, do yoga, garden, etc.).
  2. 🧐Purpose. Every centenarian has figured out a reason why they wake up in the morning.
  3. 🧘Downshift. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, which is associated with every major age-related disease. Routines such as naps, prayer, or hanging out with friends help to destress.
  4. 🕰️80% rule. Fast or be mindful of what and how much you eat. Remember to stop eating when you don’t feel fully satiated – this feeling will come later.
  5. ☘️Plant-forward. Beans, veggies, fruit, and berries are the basis of most centenarian diets. They eat meat in moderation, in many cases just a couple of times per month.
  6. 🍷Moderate drinks. Most people (except for the Adventists) would enjoy a glass of wine with their dinner with friends and family.
  7. 🙏Belong. The majority belonged to one of the many faith-based communities. It seems that attending s services 4 times per month will add 4–14 more years.
  8. 👪Loved ones first. Successful centenarians keep aging parents close, find a partner, and have a strong bond with their children.
  9. 🌐Right tribe. Strong social networks within your community are a must if you want to live longer because they support healthy behaviors.

Longevity market

How do these principles translate into the health and wellness industry?

The global longevity and anti-aging therapy industries were valued at $25.1 billion in 2020. The numbers is are going to grow – it will likely reach $44.2 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 6.1% from 2021 to 2030. 

Gene therapy is one of the leading applications, especially in North America. High investments into the field by both public and private sectors, chronic heart disease prominence, high demand for anti-aging products, and better overall healthcare access will impact these numbers.

Over the past 20 years, the longevity and the anti-aging market has grown steadily, as life extension biotechnology has kept getting huge investments in recent years. Everyone wants a part of this industry – from large businesses to billionaires.

Crunchbase shows that 2021 has set many records for new startup unicorns, such as Valo Health and Insilico Medicine. Also, biotechnology startup Altos Labs had a record-breaking funding round with $3 billion raised from such investors as Jeff Bezos. The company creates solutions for rejuvenating the cells and reversing age-related diseases.

Looking forward

The longevity and healthspan industry is growing, attracting more investors, establishing new startups, and involving more and more researchers and scientists to discover the secrets of anti-aging. As the industry continues to grow, more options are available for consumers to choose their longevity plans. 

Being in control of your lifestyle and being able to build habits that make you happy and healthy might be a way of becoming a new centenarian. And this power of controlling your lifestyle makes longevity and longer healthspan available not only for Jeff Bezos.

Each and every one of us has the capacity to enjoy a long-lived and healthy life, you just have to take control of it.

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Agne Belopetrovic
Kilo Ventures Manager and Kilo Outsider Founder
A mixture between chaos and structure, childish and grandma-ish, Bob Marley and Frank Sinatra. You are just as likely to see her moonwalking on stage as presenting health and wellness news on camera. Her daily routine is researching, collecting, analyzing, and sharing her findings with the world. Oh, and she teaches dance classes every Tuesday through Thursday.

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