A clear conscience, good genes, hard work... Scientists have listed the signs of centenarians

A clear conscience, good genes, hard work... Scientists have listed the signs of centenarians

22 January , 17:09SocietyPhoto: theweek.com
Stanford scientists have published The Longevity Project, reporting on the results of 80 years of research on aging. One of the conclusions is that the type of personality strongly influences life expectancy: as a rule, conscientious and responsible people live longer.

Scientists of various specializations are engaged in aging problems: genetics, physiologists, psychologists. Here's what science knows about the factors that help you live long and disease-free.

Clear conscience

The authors explain that this is the type of "reasonable, stubborn, methodical person, like a scientist-professor, a little boring and not at all carefree." It's easier to assume that relaxed niggas live longer, but this is not the case. People who are conscientious and judicious are more likely to do things that promote health: they choose the right partners for life, find a good job, quit smoking, do not violate traffic rules and follow the instructions of doctors.

Reducing meat in the diet

People who live in the so-called "blue zones", where there are especially many centenarians, eat in a certain way. For example, red meat is rarely eaten. Meat is iron, and high blood iron levels shorten healthy life years. The amount of iron depends on both genetic characteristics and diet, and its abnormally high or low levels can lead to age-related diseases like Parkinson's disease and a decrease in the body's ability to fight infections. What long-livers' diets have in abundance are fruits, vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats like olive oil.

Good genes

If your ancestors lived to be 100 years old, this does not guarantee the same for you, but it still increases the chances. There are aging genes: if they are completely or partially turned off, a person lives longer. These are, for example, genes that encode receptors for hormones, and enzymes that regulate the activity of proteins. The so-called life genes are also known - the life span lengthens when they are activated. These are genes that code for enzymes that repair proteins and DNA. How long those genes work in the body of a particular person depends on how long he will live.


Education level correlates with longer life. It was found that people with higher education live about nine years longer than people who did not graduate from high school. The more years a person has spent studying (we are, of course, not talking about repeaters), the higher the likelihood that he will live to deep gray hair. There is evidence that education in this sense is even more important than race and income level. And this is understandable: educated people find it easier to get a good job, plan their future and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Hard work

Work stress isn't all that bad. If you work hard and enjoy it, the stress at work won't kill you. Skeptics may doubt that many working people are able to enjoy life, write the authors of the same book The Longevity Project, but research shows that productive and non-lazy people, even in old age, feel happier, healthier and needed than their peers, not suffering from workaholism.


There is evidence to suggest that mindfulness - the ability to live in the present without regretting past mistakes or fearing the future - can affect life expectancy. For example, one study found that people who practice mindfulness practices such as meditation have an average of 30% higher activity in the aging-related enzyme telomerase. The conclusions are preliminary, but this is further evidence that the mind does affect the body.

"Positive thinking", but in moderation

It would seem that always a good mood implies a lower level of stress, and therefore health. However, research on longevity shows that "positive thinking" is not always that beneficial. People who are very optimistic and, in principle, do not accept the probability of failure, the ability to withstand failure and illness is lower.


Close contact with other people is unambiguously associated with a longer life. Women tend to be more outgoing, and this may be one of the reasons women tend to live longer than men. Taking care of loved ones teaches you to take care of yourself. Some studies even suggest that immune function improves when we are around our friends, and that they help regulate stress.

Refusal to sit out of place

Sitting still is the first way to dig your own grave ahead of time. Studies show unequivocally that prolonged sitting puts people at risk of shortening their life expectancy. One study, for example, demonstrated that every hour people over 25 years old spend watching TV leads to subtracting 22 minutes from total life expectancy.

Fast walk

Doctors have long used the rate of walking as a marker of health and aging in older people. It is known: those who walk slowly at 70 and 80 will die faster than their "faster" peers. Curiously, on the aging scale, slower people are older than their reactive peers in many ways: even their lungs, teeth, and immune system tend to be in worse condition than people who are accustomed to moving quickly. They also have a lower total brain volume.

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