How to Live to Be 100 Years Old

How to Live to Be 100 Years Old

Dear Kosterina Family,

Change up your diet. Want to live to celebrate your hundredth birthday? It’s going to take a lot less birthday cake, and more fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. But don’t think you have to completely give up all the good things in life, the secret to a long life also includes wine and naps.

Years ago, author Dan Buettner traveled around the world on a mission to find places in which the inhabitants enjoy long, healthy lives. In 2008, he published his first book about the subject, Blue Zones, named after locations across the globe that have high populations of centenarians. In 2015, he wrote a second book, The Blue Zones Solution: The Revolutionary Plan to Eat and Live Your Way to Lifelong Health. The books chronicle the people he met during his travels, plus longevity tips that people can apply to their own lives.

So where are these blue zones? They are located in five regions in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the United States. But one notable place is Ikaria, Greece, a 99-square mile island 30 miles off the coast of Turkey, which Buettner discovered when Greek researchers contacted him after the first edition of his book was published. This island is picturesque with breathtaking, cliffs, coves, and olive groves, but the most special feature of this island is that its inhabitants live an average of 10 years longer than people in Europe and America.

Rather than drinking from a secret fountain of youth, or adhere to drastic diets and workout routines, Ikarians follow a joyful lifestyle. They take naps, drink wine, and have sex. To stay active, they don’t hit the gym for hours everyday, but their daily work keeps them moving—they knead bread by hand, walk to the store, harvest crops.

But the biggest reason for the Ikarians’ longevity is diet, particularly the Mediterranean diet. If we want to mimic the Ikarians’ lifestyle, we don’t have to move to the tiny island—our best bet is emulating their dietary choices. We’ve written before about the benefits of a Mediterranean diet—and the fact that you can still eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, wine, and extra virgin olive oil.

By simply opting to eat less meat, and more fruits, vegetables, fish, and eggs, you can change your diet for the better, which may lead to weight loss and lower the risk of heart disease or diabetes. Of course, a big part of the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. This ingredient is key in so many recipes—use it to sauté vegetables, dress salads, and much more. And now, we know that not every kind of olive oil is created equally. To get the health benefits from consuming the olive oil, you’ll need to ensure that it’s extra virgin. Instead of being fooled by all the fake labeled olive oils at the grocery store, you’ll always be assured that Kosterina extra virgin olive oil is 100% organic, premium, and high quality—completely made in Greece, from the olive growth to manufacturing.

So, eat like the Ikarians, and who knows—maybe you’ll live to be 100 one day, too. 

And if you can't get enough of this topic, here you'll find a video produced by the Olive Oil Times on Ikaria: