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7/29/09

Move To A Greek Island To Live Long

Generally speaking, there is no reason people cannot live to 115 years old. Some have lived beyond that age. There is the famous case of Jeanne Louise Calment (1875-1997) who at 13 met Vincent Van Gogh. She later described him as "dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable," and "very ugly, ungracious, impolite, sick." She died at 122 as the oldest person on record. At 90 she signed a reverse-mortgage contract with a lawyer. Age 47, André-François Raffray would pay her 2,500 francs monthly until she died. After that, he owned the apartment outright. He died at 77. She kept on living. She wound up with more than the equivalent of $180,000, over twice the apartment's value.*

Then there is Calorie Restriction. In the 1930s Clive McKay found that he could greatly increase the life span of rats by cutting back on their calorie intake but without under-nourishing them. They far outlived the control group of rats. Today, Calorie Restriction is practiced by far-sighted people as it has been tested on a wide variety of animals and has been found to be the only proven method of extending life spans.

Recently, Icaria, a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, has made the news. There, the inhabitants regularly live to 90 and beyond.

Dan Buettner "and a team of demographers work with census data to identify blue zones around the world. They found Icaria had the highest percentage of 90-year-olds anywhere in the planet—nearly 1 out of 3 people make it to their nineties."

" 'Our life spans are about 20 percent dictated by our genes,' Buettner says. The rest is lifestyle. People in Icaria live in mountain villages that necessitate activity every day. 'They have gardens,' he says, for example. 'If they go to church, if they go to their friends' house — it always occasions a small walk. But that ends up burning much more calories than going to a gym for 20 minutes a day'."

Buettner explains that their diet "is very high in olive oil as well as fruits and vegetables." Of the 150 kinds of greens growing wild on the island, he points out they have about 10 times the antioxidants in red wine. More
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* At 85, Calment took up fencing. At 100, she was still riding a bicycle. At 117, she gave up smoking.She claims to have eaten 2 pounds of chocolate a week. When asked why she had lived so long, she mentioned garlic, vegetables, cigarettes, red wine, and avoiding brawls.

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