Secrets of Chinese centenarians: Six ways to live longer

The number of centenarians in the village of Bama, in the southeast of China, has exceeded 90 people. As a result, tourists and gerontologists flock there to try to learn the secrets of a long life.

Scientists are still can’t agree about the reasons for this phenomenon in the village. However, the villagers themselves see the clue to their longevity in adhering to simple health habits, which they advise everyone to adopt. In this article, we will share with you with six healthy habits for longevity.

Six healthy habits for longevity from Chinese centenarians

Here are six healthy habits shared by some of China’s centenarians.

1) Do less exercise and more movement

Of course, nobody is suggesting you give up fitness and physical education. But sometimes there is not enough time for the gym. People in Bama carry out a lot of physical activity, but most of this is agricultural work and normal walking over significant distances. 

Many residents of the village work by hand with minimal use of technology and walk around the area through necessity. Scientists confirm a strong link between physical activity and longevity. And it’s not just exercise and fitness that are important, but the actual movement, such as walking, running, and physical labor. 

Every day you need to move for at least 15 minutes actively. This is necessary for the health of your heart and blood vessels. The less mobile your lifestyle is, the faster the walls of your arteries become covered with atherosclerotic plaques, impairing blood flow to your heart.

2) Consume less alcohol

It is no secret that alcohol can seriously damage your wellbeing; in severe cases can also lead to death. People who have lived for 100 years or more do not abuse alcohol or any other harmful drinks. For them, natural tea is enough to get a boost of energy.

The number of alcohol-induced deaths in the US every year is shocking and needs to be addressed for the health of the population. And to try to help, the American government offers no or low-cost treatment facilities for people with alcohol problems.

For example, in Los Angeles, more than 37,000 people are currently getting state-funded addiction treatment. But not many people know that this exists as an option. So if you also want to live a longer life and quit alcohol addiction, you can contact any rehab center in Los Angeles or a center near you, for guidance and help.

3) Eat more vegetables

Residents of the ‘village of longevity’, Bama, are absolutely in agreement with the opinion of the majority of modern nutritionists about the irreplaceable benefits of vegetables in the human diet. Usually people who are not vegetarians eat vegetables once a day – for dinner or for lunch. 

However, if you want to extend your lifespan, China’s centurions say you need to increase the number of vegetables you consume. They eat vegetables with all three daily meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their staple foods also include fruit, corn, bamboo shoots, nuts, rice, barley, and fish. They also eat these foods either on or close to the day they are harvested, for maximum freshness and nutritional value.

Centenarians do not eat fried foods, and their daily soups are often seasoned with hemp oil. Local tea and rice wine contain beneficial enzymes and proteins. Long-livers have a special love for legumes, too. These vegetables, including beans, peas, and lentils, are a major part of the villagers’ diets. So if you don’t already have a diet plan that includes plenty of vegetables, you may decide to make some changes.

4) Stress less

Stress is an incredibly harmful state for our body to be in, and centenarians try to avoid stress as much at they can. They strongly advise giving up the habit of being nervous or getting angry over little things. This weakens your body, making it vulnerable. To overcome stress and negative emotions, centenarians turn to nature, family, and friends.

There are many married couples in Bama who have been married for over 70-80 years, and it is not always very easy maintaining a relationship over such a long period of time. According to the long livers, their main secret is making the effort to keep a good daily mood, no matter what happens. 

5) Cherish and care for your loved ones

According to statistics, about 74% of Bama’s inhabitants are very closely related by family ties. Four to five generations of the same family often live under one roof, helping each other. Young people care for the elderly, and old people, in turn, can help with wise advice, share life experiences and look after young children.

This social support has tremendous benefits for both physical and mental health. Numerous studies of gerontologists around the world prove that the more social support and connections a person has, the longer and more prosperously they can live.

It’s quite common to experience stress and discomfort sometimes when different generations live together, but with patience and acceptance, loving and caring for each other, as well as these three wise commandments, you can help to avoid them:

  1. Do not complain about fate
  2. Avoid quarrel with anyone
  3. Follow the natural course of things

6) Enjoy clean air and water

Poor ecology and constant noise are not the best companions for a healthy lifestyle. These problems do not exist in the village of the centenarians. To get to the nearest town, residents have to travel by bus for about five hours. Therefore, the noise and harmful emissions of chemicals do not harm the residents. They themselves prefer not to use transport but to walk around the neighborhood on foot.

Another important factor is that practically no one smokes in the village, so no one is poisoning the purity of the air with tobacco smoke. And one piece of advice given by old-timers is very simple – to give up this bad habit as soon as possible, be in the fresh air more often, and be alone with nature.

Can you adopt healthy habits that will help you to live longer?

As you can see from the advice above, there’s no ‘magical’ secret to living a long and healthy life. Instead, longevity can be encouraged by introducing some simple daily habits into our lives.

Of course this isn’t a guarantee that you will live to 100 – accidents and disease can happen to even the most careful and healthy-living people. But you can certainly increase your chance of living to a ripe old age, and enjoying better health and fitness by looking after yourself now. And it strikes us that these six tips from China’s famous centenarians is as good a place to start as any.