What? He’s how old? I think that was my initial reaction when first reading the article about Cliff Richard and viewing a current photo of him where he looks absolutely wonderful. It’s true, I could not believe my eyes when I looked at the photo and saw a healthy looking body, one that also looked natural as far as I could tell, and one that would cause all of those who have attempted to gain a similar look through plastic surgeries, to breath in deeply and take a seat as they sigh in despair. Cliff’s face has also defied the usual aging process because although there are lines here and there, those look appropriate, albeit they are definitely not age appropriate in this unique case. To further upset those who stare at him with envy, he is as healthy as an ox, and enjoys playing tennis on a daily basis. Did I mention that he will be seventy-years-old this coming October?
To date I have yet to see someone else, whether man or woman, who have reached age seventy, with or without the aid of plastic surgery that have achieved similar results. Further reading revealed to me that Cliff Richard sticks to a strict diet of two glasses of red wine per day and he also uses Lecithin, a food supplement derived from soya beans, meat, and eggs. It’s believed to help restrict the body’s ability to form fat. He no longer eats wheat or dairy products either.
In my own quest for staying healthy, I have read about the many diets that people adhere to, and I also happened to remember a few years ago reading an article in the paper about three different communities around the world that have defied the normal aging process. I researched the article and was lucky to find it and read it one more time. The article was written by Denise Winterman from the BBC News Magazine; he had stumbled upon three isolated communities known for their higher number of centenarians than anywhere else in the world. One of those places is the Japanese island of Okinawa, the other is the Sardinian town of Ovodda, and another is Loma Linda California, I know, that one came as a surprise to me as well. Strangely, all three places adhere to different lifestyles and diets so there is not one successful formula to follow and some of the reasons for their longevity may come as a shock or at least surprise to some of you. In Okinawa the scientists have deduced that the people age more slowly than almost anyone else on earth (apart from Cliff Richard). An average seventy-year-old really has the body of a fifty-year-old, and most of them are healthy until the very end. The scientists were able to concentrate on the hormone DHEA, a precursor of estrogen and testosterone that is produced in the adrenal glands and usually decreases with age, but with the people of Okinawa it declines at a lower rate. They go on to explain that the reason for this is their diet which consist of tofu and soya mostly as well as plenty of vegetables and fruits, all rich with anti-oxidants. They also adhere to a strict rule of only eating until they are 80% full.
Residents of Ovodda for instance do eat meat and still many of them live to 100. They adhere to a Mediterranean diet, but the scientists have concluded that intermarriage in this little isolated place has been their reason for staying healthy and living longer. Shocking but true, intermarriage in many cases is the cause of genetic diseases, but surprisingly here it has had positive results, “The limited gene pool has provided a unique opportunity to discover specific genes that are associated with long life,” says Professor Deiana.
In Loma Linda, California, people live longer than anywhere else in the US for a completely different reason; many of the residents are Seventh Day Adventist. Those who follow this spiritual path have lived between 5-10 years longer than the average citizen. Their religion steers them away from drinking and smoking and many of them are vegetarians. Dr. Gary Fraser has said that “It does certainly raise the question if there’s something about spiritual life that also has an impact on longer life.
Interesting facts I thought, it all boils down to good genes or a combination of a unique diet and a stress free life with religion as the chosen outlet for some. As far as I’m concerned I realize that at some point we all show our age, and whether we choose to age at a slower pace by adhering to a specific diet is a matter of very strong will power. There are those who are more successful than others and then there are those who take a short cut by altering their bodies with the help of surgeries, but that is all superficial and does not dictate the quality of their health one bit. Personally, I rather find a balance for those things that I can live with, that work for me, and keep me healthy more so than anything else. I have to say that as far as stress is concerned, I find that in my forties, I tend to get less angry or stressed even though there is much to be angry about or plenty of stressful situations. I choose to ignore so many of the things that bothered me once upon a time, and that is something that I can easily live with. As far as my diet is concerned, it could stand for a lot more improvement, there are the chocolates and pastries that I like to eat, but I’m not going to stress over those even though I know that healthier eating will promote my health and longevity…well at least that’s a start in the right direction…