What Does It Take to Live to Be 100?

Only one in 10,000 of us will live to see 100, according to this fascinating video segment aired recently on Nova. How would you like to beat those odds? It may be a lot easier than you think, based on research analyzing the hows and whys behind extended longevity.

For one, scientists found cutting the food intake of just about any organism by up to 30-40 percent extended its life by as much as 60 percent. Why? Calorie restriction reduces insulin levels and triggers the production of sirtuins that are produced as part of an intricate stress response that kicks an organism into survival mode (which beefs up DNA repair and prevents cells from dying).

You can obtain similar benefits of calorie restriction if you limit your calories to foods that will not raise your insulin levels. That means lowering grains and sugars, the foundation of my Total Health Program.

Another variable that triggered the production of sirtuins and the longer lives of flies, worms and likely mice: The presence of the antioxidant resveratrol, found in natural sources like whole grape skins.

Just a reminder, stay away from red wine as your primary source for resveratrol. Not only does the alcohol contained in red wine have the potential to disrupt your delicate hormonal balance, it is a neurotoxin that can poison your brain.

Nova Science Now January 9, 2007