Can Science make us immortal?

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If you’re alive in 20 years, you may be able to live forever.

In 1786, average life expectancy was just 24 years. A hundred years later (1886) it doubled to 48. Right now a newborn can expect to live an average of 76 years. With recent discoveries in biology, many scientists predict that life expectancy will continue to triple-digits. In fact, if they are correct, humans shouldn’t have to die at all in the future. Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 11.02.10 AM

“Over half the baby boomers here in America are going to see their hundredth birthday and beyond in excellent health. We’re looking at life spans for the baby boomers and the generation after the baby boomers of 120 to 150 years of age.” — Dr. Ronald Klatz of the American Academy of Anti-Aging.

Today’s quest for the fountain of youth is taking scientists inside the genetic structure of cells and paying less attention to the role of stress and diet on life spans. Would-be immortals flock to anti-aging clinics and shell out as much as $20,000 a year for treatments that include hormone therapy, DNA analysis, even anti-aging cosmetic surgery. These experimental therapies offer no guarantees of immortality — just the promise of prolonging life.

“Anti-aging medicine is not about stretching out the last years of life. It’s about stretching out the middle years of life… and actually compressing those last years few years of life so that diseases of aging happen very, very late in the life cycle, just before death, or don’t happen at all.” — Dr. Klatz.

Why do we age and die?

The cause of what we call “aging” is now being understood. This new understanding may soon move anti-aging cosmetics and surgery to the ranks of snake oil and Siberian yogurt as life-extension fads — but not yet. There are a few obstacles that need to be addressed.

Just when you thought that holographic TV and outer space travel were on the future horizon of modern technology, immortality has silently been revealing itself to scientists like Doctor John Langmore [right] of the University of Michigan’s Department of Biology.

Dr. Langmore and his group looked inside human cells, at the very essence of human life: the DNA molecule. Specifically, Dr. Langmore looked at the tips of the DNA molecule — a previously overlooked part of the double-helix molecule — that contain a kind of chain of repeating pairs of enzymes.

 

 

 

 

Called telomeres, these molecular chains have often been   compared to the blank leaders on film and recording tape. Indeed, telomeres seem to perform a similar function. During the replication process the spiral DNA molecule must split in half and reassemble a copy of itself. Protecting the vital DNA molecule from being copied out of synch, telomeres provide a kind of buffer zone where mis-alignments (which are inevitable) will not result in any of the important DNA code being lost.

Perhaps the best analogy I have heard is to compare the telomeres to the white margin surrounding an important type written document. In this analogy, the printed text is the vital DNA code while the white space is the “blank” telomeres. Imagine that this paper is repeatedly slapped on a copy machine, a copy is made, and then that copy is used to make another copy. Each time the paper is subject to errors of alignment and these errors accumulate. After enough copying, it is probable that the white space will diminish and some of the actual text will not be copied. That’s what happens inside our cells and it is the reason we get old and die.

As any cell gets older, it is under attack by oxides and free-radicals in the body and environment. We survive as living beings because our cells have the ability to duplicate and replace themselves before being killed by these natural causes. Each time our cells divide, the DNA molecule makes a new copy of itself.

DNA is a complex molecule that resembles a spiral ladder. When it divides, it splits along the “rungs” then each half of this “ladder” rebuilds the missing half — viola! — two DNA molecules. Now the cell can divide. The old cell dies and the new cell continues on.

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But the procedure is very complex and not perfect. Usually a small portion of the DNA molecule is lost, misaligned and not copied. Since errors are more frequent on the ends of the DNA molecule, this area, the telomere, does not contain any important DNA information and the effect is insignificant.

Telomeres — programmed to die!

Scientists observe that the length of telomere chains becomes shorter as we grow older. Eventually the telomeres become so short that cell replication produces lethal errors or missing pieces in the DNA sequence, ending the cell’s ability to replace itself. This point, when the cell has lost vital DNA code and cannot reproduce, is called the Hayflick limit. It’s the measure of how many times a cell can copy itself before it dies.

Some cells in our body have a very high hayflick limit. Cells that line the inside of your mouth and intestines, for example, are constantly being worn away and replaced. Indeed these cells appear to have the ability to regrow telomeres even in aged bodies. Scientists were curious why some cells shut down telomere growth with age, and some do not.

Dr. Langmore used physical, biochemical, and genetic techniques to study the structure and function of telomeres. His group developed a cell-free system to reconstitute functional model telomeres using synthetic DNA, and studied the mechanism by which telomeres normally stabilize chromosomes and how shortening of the telomeres could cause instability.

The protein factors responsible for stabilizing the ends of chromosomes are being identified, cloned, and studied. Electron microscopy is used to directly visualize the structure of the model telomeres. Dr. Langmore’s group used new enzymatic assays to determine the structure of telomere DNA in normal and abnormal cells grown in vivo and in vitro, in order to address specific hypotheses about the role of telomeres in aging and cancer. It’s exciting research, for sure, and there have been some promising discoveries.

Scientists have discovered an important enzyme that can turn the telomere production on the DNA molecule “on” and “off.” It’s called telomerase. Not surprisingly, it seems that as we get older, the amount of telomerase in our cells decreases.

The Cancer Problem

You might be wondering why biologists don’t simply find a way to keep our body’s telomeres long. This would prevent replication errors and humans could live indefinitely. The big problem is cancer.

Usually, if a cell makes an error in copying itself, the error will prevent the cell from duplicating itself in the future. So the mistake is limited. But with cancer, cells with errors somehow “turn on” the production of telomerase and make the mutant cell immortal. Now, aberrant cells can reproduce unchecked and outlive normal cells. This is the process that creates tumors.

Since we all have mutant, pre-cancerous cells in our bodies, nature has decided to shut off the telomerase as we age, thus preventing these mutant cells from growing telomeres. It’s a kind of programmed death — a trade off to reduce our lifespan in order to save us from being riddled with tumors. Nevertheless, some pre-cancerous cells manage to re-activate their telomeres and this has caused the research to focus more on blocking telomere production rather than trying to extend it.

[Right: A 3-d rendering of the telomerase enzyme.] The molecular structure shows an interesting “groove” (show in green) where the enzyme attaches to the end of the DNA molecule.

Ant-cancer researchers believe that by introducing a molecule to block this groove, the telomerase would become unable to attach itself to the DNA and thereby limit the length of telomere production. While this work holds hope for stopping tumor cells from reproducing forever, it does little to extend healthy cells from being rejuvinated. However, if the molecular “blocker” could specifically target only cancerous cells, without blocking telomerase activity in healthy cells, it could be a step towards human life extension if and when a pharmaceutical can be developed that activates telomerase in the human body. [4]

Interview with Dr. LangmoreViewzone asked Dr. Langmore to give us his thoughts on the role of telomerase, and the possibilities of using it to repair and lengthen telomeres in human cells. His comments follow:

Telomeres are special, essential DNA sequences at both ends of each chromosome. Each time chromosomes replicate a small amount of the DNA at both ends is lost, by an uncertain mechanism. Because human telomeres shorten at a much faster rate than many lower organisms, we speculate that this telomere shortening probably has a beneficial effect for humans, namely mortality. The telomere hypothesis of aging postulates that as the telomeres naturally shorten during the lifetime of an individual, a signal or set of signals is given to the cells to cause the cells to cease growing (senesce). At birth, human telomeres are about 10,000 base pairs long, but by 100 years of age this has been reduced to about 5,000 base pairs.

Telomerase is actually an enzyme (a catalytic protein) that is able to arrest or reverse this shortening process. Normally, telomerase is only used to increase the length of telomeres during the formation of sperm and perhaps eggs, thus ensuring that our offspring inherit long “young” telomeres to propagate the species.

ViewZone: How is mortality in non-germ line cells a beneficial effect?Dr. Langmore: The telomere hypothesis of cancer is that the function of telomere shortening is to cause cells that have lost normal control over growth to senesce (i.e. stop growing) before being able to replicate enough times to become a tumor, thus decreasing the frequency of cancer.

Immortal cells like cancer have an unfair advantage over normal human cells which are designed to senesce. But nature seems to have planned this human telomere shortening perhaps to prolong life by hindering the otherwise unchecked growth of non-immortal or benign tumors. Malignant, or immortal tumors can simply outlive the rest of the organism.

Malignant cancer cells are being studied because they appear to have altered the shortening of telomeres by turning “on” the telomerase. Thus it appears that some cancers and aging are both connected with the biology of telomeres.

It is possible that increasing telomerase activity in normal cells might stop the biological clock of aging, yet the side effect of this intervention might be an increase in the rate of cancer. Further understanding and refinement in the telomere hypothesis might lead to a way to slow the aging process and prevent or arrest cancer.

However telomeres function, they are an integral part in the very complex process of cell growth, involving many other factors as well. Telomerase might be the Achilles Heal of aging and cancer, but as our understanding of factors that interact with telomerase, factors that are responsible for telomere shortening in the first place, and non-telomerase mechanisms for increasing the length of telomeres, we might find that one of these factors is more easily manipulated to slow aging or prevent cancer. Also there are additional factors that affect aging and cancer, which might prove in the end to be more important than telomeres and telomerase.

ViewZone: Are telomeres unique to individual DNA? If so, does this preclude any universal treatment for aging?

Dr. Langmore: Different individuals have telomeres with exactly the same DNA sequence but of different lengths. It is too early to say whether there is any relationship between telomere length in an individual and his or her life expectancy, or whether a treatment that would artificially lengthen telomeres would arrest (or reverse) the aging process. One problem is that even in one individual the telomeres of different chromosomes have very different lengths. Therefore an individual might have on average long telomeres; but, he might have one chromosome with a very short telomere that could affect cell growth.

ViewZone: In the work of Shay and Wright (see below), increased telomere length was positively associated with telomerase. How significant is this?

Dr. Langmore: Shay, Wright and all their many collaborators stimulated telomerase activity in normal cells. This was expected to 1) Increase the length of telomeres and 2) Prolong the lifetime of the cells in tissue culture. The treatment did both, in perfect agreement with the telomere hypothesis of aging.

ViewZone: How much was cell lifetime prolonged due to this treatment that reactivated telomerase?

Dr. Langmore: The increased proliferation of the cells was perhaps equivalent to hundreds of years of human life.

Dr. Langmore received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago in 1975. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge and at the University of Basel.

 

[Above:] One of the more surprising developments in telomere structure was the discovery by collaborative efforts from Jack Griffith’s and Titia de Lange’s groups that mammalian telomeres looped back on themselves to form large lariat-like structures, called t-loops (Griffith et al., 1999).

This structure may help to conceal the end of the molecule from DNA damage surveillance mechanisms and guard against recognition of the chromosome terminus as a double-strand break.

More links to cancer

In the March 15 issue of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Journal, Dr. Jerry Shay and Dr. Woodring Wright, both professors of cell biology and neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, report manipulating the length of telomeres to alter the life span of human cells. Shay and Wright are the first to report this important finding. They received an Allied-Signal Award for Research on Aging to explore this line of research last year.

“By lengthening the telomere, we were able to extend the life of the cell hybrids,” Wright explained. “This study is strong evidence that telomere length is the clock that counts cell divisions.”

“The expression of the enzyme telomerase maintains stable telomere length. Telomerase is not detected in normal cells and telomeres shorten and then the cells stop dividing and enter a phase called cellular senescence.”

Shay and Wright have shown in earlier studies that telomeres maintain their length in almost all human cancer cell lines. This correlated with inappropriate expression of telomerase and as a consequence allowed the cell to become “immortal.” Cell immortality is a critical and perhaps rate-limiting step for almost all cancers to progress. Previous work by the UT Southwestern investigators showed that in a special group of advanced pediatric cancers the lack of telomerase activity correlated with critically shortened telomeres and cancer remission.

Naturally, the exploration of this enzyme is now the focus of much investigation, but for now the research is aimed at understanding how to turn telomeres “off” to limit the spread of “immortal” cancer cells.

Abnormally high levels of telomerase have been found in cancerous breast cells and have been evident in many kinds of tumors.[1]

Consequently, an idea gaining momentum is that the ability to measure and perhaps alter telomere length and/or telomerase activity may give physicians new diagnostic and treatment tools for managing the care of patients with cancer.

Shay and Wright tried to alter already-immortal cells by attempting to inhibit telomerase activity and cause telomeres to shorten. “Unexpectedly, we found the opposite result. Rather than inhibiting telomerase, our treatment caused the immortal cells to develop longer telomeres,” Shay explained. “Although we were surprised with the result, we now know there is a causal relationship between telomere length and the proliferate capacity of cells.

“Essentially, we combined the tumor cells containing experimentally elongated telomeres with normal cells and extended the life span of those cell hybrids compared to similar hybrids using cells without experimentally elongated telomeres.”

Shay and Wright said the mechanism that causes telomeres to lengthen is still unclear. However, Shay said, “Our observations increase confidence in the hypothesis that immortal cells and reactivated telomerase are essential components of human tumors. Ultimately, we may be able to regulate tumor cells by inhibiting telomerase activity.”

The potential implications for research on human aging also are significant. “It is still speculative, but understanding the role of telomere shortening in cell aging may give us the information we need to increase the life span of an organism,” Wright said. (News Releases from UT Southwestern)

 

 

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Some data from the WHO for the elderly

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Adaptation in the kitchen for Elderly and Handicaps

By reflecting about the logic that cooking is an habit, and that this habit can be hard for elderlies and handicaps, the German Designer Dirk Biotto developed a completely adapted kitchen that attends to the needs of those populations. Check it out!

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Entitled ChopChop, the modern kitchen has adjustable legs for different heights, as well as the distribution of the utensils. Therefore, either a handicap in the well chair or an elderly with limitations in their movements can access all the utensils, manipulate objects and use the sink.

In the sink, an extensible hose allows to use water from different distances.

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There is also a clamp close to the faucet that facilitates to open glass jars, cans and bottles. By developing the clamp, the German Designer thought about handicaps amputees, who cannot use both limbs to perform tasks in the daily basis.

For those ones who face difficulties in holding the food and also cutting them, there is an apparatus that keep fruits and vegetables stable to be cut, as well as a grinder for cheese and other foods held with screws on the table, facilitating the manipulation of objects with only one hand.

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The German project of the accessible kitchen is still a prototype, but we look forward to seeing it for sale!

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My favorite things (about aging) by Julie Andrews

‘My Favorite Things’ about Aging By Julie Andrews Geffen Playhouse's Annual "Backstage At The Geffen" Gala - Arrivals

This is yet another perspective on age and aging!

To commemorate her 69th birthday on October 1, actress/vocalist Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was “My Favorite Things” from the legendary movie “Sound Of Music.”

However, the lyrics of the song were deliberately changed for the entertainment of her “blue hair” audience. Here are the lyrics she recited:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things..

Cadillacs and cataracts and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak,
When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets, and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heat pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinnin’,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,
And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache,
when the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and with an encore.

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Infographic for Brain Exercises

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Let`s understand better about our Circadian Rhythm

ritmo circadiano

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You must try these exercises to get rid of your Double Chin

As we age, we all lose firmness of our facial muscles. Due to this reason, even skinny people can have double chin.

The exercises bellow should be performed daily, and it may help you to strength facial muscles and get rid of the double chin.

Check it out!

1. Warming up the muscles

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Just like before any other workout, you’ll want to warm up your facial muscles.

For this purpose, move your lower jaw forward and backward and then side to side. All movements should be performed slowly and smoothly without sudden jerks. Repeat the exercise 8-10 times.

2. The Scoop

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Open your mouth, and roll your bottom lip over your lower teeth. Imagine that you need to scoop water with your lower jaw. Move your head down in a scooping motion, and close your mouth while lifting your head.

While performing this exercise make sure that the corners of your lips are completely relaxed. Repeat 5-7 times.

3. Touch your nose

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A double chin is also associated with weakness of the hyoid muscles. That is why they also need to be strengthened.

Stick out your tongue as far as possible, and try to reach your nose with the tip of your tongue. Keep your lips relaxed. Repeat 5 times.

4. The perfect oval face

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If you want to return the shape of your face to a younger look and pull your cheeks up, do the following exercise: turn your head to the left, and pull your lower jaw forward, straining the muscles of your neck. You should feel the muscles on the left of your neck stretching. Then turn your head to the right and do the same movement. Repeat 5 times on each side.

5. “Kiss the giraffe”

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Imagine you need to kiss a giraffe (or someone who is very tall).

Lift your face up, and look at the ceiling. Slightly bring your lower jaw forward, and pucker your lips as if you are going to kiss someone. If you are performing the exercise correctly, you should feel a strong tension in your neck. Hold the position for 5 to 8 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times.

6. Resistance

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For this exercise, you need to make two fists and place them directly under your chin. Then begin to move your lower jaw slightly down on your fists, and strain your muscles while overcoming the resistance. The pressing force should gradually increase. When you reach maximum resistance, hold for 3 seconds. Then relax, and repeat the exercise 5-7 times.

7. Smile

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Clench your teeth with your mouth closed, and try to stretch the corners of your lips as wide as possible. Now push your tongue against your hard palate, gradually increasing the pressing force.

If you feel a strong tension in your chin muscles, then you have performed the exercise correctly. Hold this feeling of tension for 5 seconds, and then relax for 3 seconds. Repeat 5-8 times.

8. Puffy cheeks

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Inhale deeply with your mouth, and fill it with air. Close your mouth, and puff up your cheeks. Now press your palms on your cheeks so that you feel tension in your muscles. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then release the air and relax. Repeat the exercise 5-6 times.

9. Bellow, you can watch a video that demonstrates the exercises above

 

Source: ladyformula, brightside.me
Illustrator Daniil Shubin, Photographer Roman Zakharchenko, Model Olga Zakharchenko for BrightSide.me
Based on materials from fitnesshealthzone, huffingtonpost

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Place a clothespin on your ear for 5 seconds. The unexpected effect will surprise you

In your lifetime, you are bound to feel aches, pains, tiredness, and that is okay. We are human, and cannot always feel our best. But, sometimes with a little “kick” to our organs, they can release health benefits that will surprise you.

There is an interesting and unconventional way people can bring on increased health onto their organs, helping you feel renewed, and at your best. The method is by using clothespins and placing them on various spots on your ears. Why specifically your ears Each ear contains a complete reflex map of the body, rich with nerve endings and multiple connectors to the central nervous system.

There are 6 different spots on your ears that target specific regions/organs in your body. Place a clothespin on the area of your choice, and unlock the health benefits.

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1. The Upper Part Of The Ear

The uppermost part of your ear has a direct connection to your back and shoulders. By applying pressure to this spot for a minute each day, you will help reduce built-up tension in those areas.

2. The Top Of Your Ear’s Curve

This spot on your ear is connected to your organs. Therefore, if you are feeling internal tenderness or discomfort, place a clothespin on this spot for relief.

3. The Upper-Middle Part of the Ear

This part of your ear is connected to your joints. Apply pressure on this spot to relieve your joints of stiffness or pain as a result of a long day at the keyboard.

4. The Lower-Middle Part of the Ear

Pinching the lower-middle part of your ear will bring you relief in your sinuses and throat. This can come in very handy when you want to get a good night of sleep, but have a stuffy nose, or are feeling congested.

5. Just Above the Earlobe

The spot just above your earlobe is associated with digestion. By applying a clothespin here, you can help reduce digestive and stomach pain. You can use this as a means of preventing such discomfort.

6. Your Earlobe

This spot is connected with your head and heart. Apply pressure here to promote your heart’s health and also relieve migraines and pressure headaches.

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Why do Japanese people live so long?

And what you can do to live a long time too!

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Japan has the oldest life expectancy in the world. That means people in Japan live a really long time. In average, men live to 79 years old, whereas women live a little over 86 years old. 

After WWII, Japan had one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, which suggests it is not genetics that keeps them alive for so long. It is not even that Japanese people visit doctors 12+ times a year. The answer is something else, and it is something you can do as well to increase your own life expectancy (and get healthier, too).

The Japanese Diet

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Fish Vs. Red Meats: Japanese people do not eat nearly as much red meat. Red meat has a lot more cholesterol than fish, which causes you in your later years to have a much higher chance for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and other unfortunate things. In Japan, fish is the primary “meat” to eat, which means not only do they keep their cholesterol lower, but they also get healthy fish oils, too. Now, there is probably something to be said about the nasty stuff that can come with fish (i.e. mercury), but no matter what you eat you are going to be getting something “fun”. Red meats also come full of hormones that the animals eat throughout life.

Less Milk, Butter, Dairy: Most Japanese people are lactose intolerant. In fact, people who can drink milk after becoming an “adult” are mutants anyways. People are not really meant to do dairy their whole life. Although non-fat milk is pretty healthy, a lot of people drink 1% and 2% milk. The amount of fat and cholesterol in those is pretty astounding and will kill you slowly. Japanese people do not really do dairy all that much, lactose intolerant or not, which means they avoid all the extra cholesterol.

Rice: Rice is eaten with almost everything and is high in nutrients (there are special rice strains in Japan that have been created to have more nutrients than normal rice, even). It is also low in fat and helps fill you up. Now, to make this even better (for yourself), you should try to mix in some brown rice as well. A lot of people do not like this, but it will help you get some more whole grains.

Lots of Soy: Tofu, bean sprouts, and so on are awesome for getting you proteins and help reduce heart disease and high blood pressure. Soy products are very healthy, and an awesome alternative to meats and milks, but be careful, because now, most of the soy sold in regular supermarkets are GMO products, and transgenic food has been related to cancer in the intestines and other organ dysfunctions.

Tea: Japanese people drink a ton of tea. While there is something to be said in regards to “everything in moderation”, I feel like one cup of tea is going to be better for you than one cup of coffee, especially when we are talking about large amounts. Green / Oolong Tea is full of antioxidants (good for preventing cancer), and apparently helps break up oils in the digestive system, keeping those bowels happy.

Seaweed: Mmm, seaweed. It is full of iodine and other nutrients you do not get as much of anywhere else. So incredibly healthy. Also supposed to help fight against many kinds of cancers, too.

More Vegetables: Vegetables tend to be a big part of every meal, not an afterthought or “oh, I should add a vegetable to this steak dinner” kind of thing. Everyone knows that vegetables are healthy and good for you. What else is there to say?

Smaller Plates: Here is a trick. If you are looking to lose weight, get rid of your big plates. Small plates cause people to eat smaller portions, which causes people to eat less. So many studies have been done on plate size and how much one eats, and there is a surprising correlation between the two. Japanese tend to serve food on smaller plates which means they do not overeat and get fat, which, of course, reduces chance of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and other ailments.

What You Can Do: Eating healthier is not always easy. We get used to what we eat, and making a shift is hard. One of the best things you can do, though, is to decrease the amount of red meats you eat. They lead to all kinds of problems later on, and it is pretty easy to avoid. You do not have to stop eating red meat all together, but if you can really decrease the amount, your body will thank you. Also, for all you addicted coffee drinkers out there, switch to tea. There is a reason why older people are being forced (by doctors) to quit drinking so much coffee. Tea also has caffeine and is generally just a lot healthier. Drink it every day!

Walking vs. Sitting

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The Commute: A large portion of Japanese people walk, bike, and take the train to work (or wherever they need to go). Cars are kind of a luxury, and it is almost easier to take a train anyways (train system is awesome). This means Japanese people are standing up for longer periods of the day, whether that means they are walking / biking to the train station, or standing up in the train because there is not room to sit down. There have been plenty of studies done showing the correlation between how long you sit down per day and how likely you are to die early. Basically, if you stand up more every day, you will probably end up living longer. In Japan, standing and walking is just a necessity. If you want to live longer, try and stand up for a few hours every day. 

Squatting While You Poop: Apparently, it is also healthier to squat when you poop. Although this is becoming less and less the case, many Japanese toilets require you to squat, which has its own health benefits (even if it takes some practice). Some researches claim that squatting helps with your digestive system and actually help you to avoid hemorrhoids. While hemorrhoids are pretty common in Western countries, they are nearly nonexistent in Asia, squatting countries. Back in 1978 they even got Jimmy Carter a squat toilet because his hemorrhoids were so bad. I do not want to talk too much about poop here, so if you want to read more you can.

What You Can Do: It is probably too hard to squat on top of your Western toilet when you poop, but you definitely can adapt it with a small step close to the toilet, performing the squatting pose while pooping. At the very least, try to stand up while you work (instead of sitting down). Just standing will help you stay healthy and live longer, even if you are not moving around. We are not made to be sitting around all day long.

Cleanliness

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Japan is probably one of the cleanest nations in the world. There is almost an obsession with it in some cases. There is no doubt that cleanliness leads to healthiness (we learned that in the great plagues back in the day). If you live in a clean house, and wash your hands, you should be okay. It does not always seem like a cultural norm in other countries to wash your hands and shower every day (especially depending on where you are), but keeping clean and living around clean people will keep you healthy and help you live longer. It will help you to avoid diseases (especially important when you are old) and keep you from getting sick.

What You Can Do: Just wash your hands when you get home, after using the toilet, before cooking or even in places that you go after walking in the street.

The Family & The Social

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Taking care of grandma (and sometimes grandpa): In Japan, the oldest kid is supposed to take care of the parents when they get old. The parent(s) live with the kid and help out around the house. Although this is changing a bit and fewer kids are helping out with their parents, it is still really common. Having your kid(s) around, and grandkids around has to be a pretty nice psychological boost for the old grandma or grandpa, urging them to live longer and enjoy their time with their family. Plus, since they are helping out around the house, it means they are moving around (walking is important, right?), doing things, and staying active. Being old and living in a retirement home would be depressing, and probably helps a lot of old people lose the will to live as long.

Hanging out and socializing: When it comes to business in Japan, employees are often required to go out and socialize, drink (you do not have to drink alcohol), and have fun after work. Although this takes away from sleep time (probably not as good for people who want to live long), socializing is really important for your psychological health. The better that is, the more you will enjoy life and keep on living. By doing this you make friends, know more people, build a network, and so on. This means you have more friends later on in life, which means you will enjoy life more when you are older too. When you enjoy life, you just want to live longer. It’s as simple as that.

What You Can Do: While you probably cannot force your kids into taking you into their home when you get older, you can get out there and make friends. The more you socialize the better you will feel about life and the more social support you will have later on.

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Silent Killers of Your Metabolism – information and tips

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