It is definitely a curious case… that is, of course, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Born an old man, but dies as a baby. This remains in the fictional part of the library because it’s impossible- it defies the laws of science.

Although many may wish that they were younger- or felt younger -I don’t believe the life of Benjamin Button is one which is generally desired. Although he became younger, his age eventually led to a decrease in the quality of his life. So, although different in some ways, Benjamin was truly still subjected to the basic and fundamental laws of science–just like us.

You see, Benjamin Button’s life ended just like anyone else’s- a gradual loss of social intelligence, memory, and most of that which was previously known to him.

Super-Agers

However, perhaps the more beneficial parts of Benjamin Button’s life can take effect in our’s, as well. For example, maybe the improved social intelligence, memory, knowledge, etc. that Benjamin at first experienced, can be “glorified” and/or enhanced in our life as well within the realm of sound science!

What do I mean by this?

Let me tell you!

Scientists and medical researchers are now beginning to coin the term “super-agers.”

This new term is generally defined as someone with either the physical or mental capabilities of someone much younger than them.

There are multiple ways that scientists believe may lead to a “super” aging ability. But first, it’s important to know why we should study this subject further. Other than the obvious fact that everyone wants to live a longer life and have the look and brain of someone far younger, there are also more practical reasons for further research into this ground-breaking topic.

According to medical doctor and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, Oscar Lopez, “The number of people living after age 90 is going to be huge. We need to know very fast how we can help these people live healthy.” In other words, with life expectancy ever increasing, scientists are now concerned with how to make those extra years that we’ll now possess, full of both physical and mental health.

So, now that we answered why this research matters, let’s look at the methods and ways we can become super-agers.

Thanks to Dan Buettner, an explorer, award-winning journalist and producer, and a New York Times bestselling author, we have an idea of what it takes to age amazingly. Buettner teamed up with National Geographic to locate and identify five “Blue Zones.” These zones were home to the highest percentage of the world’s longest-lived people. Also, it’s interesting to know that many diseases- cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.- were rare in these zones as well. The five zones identified were Nicoya, Costa Rica, Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy, Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California.

Six common dietary and lifestyle practices were noticed among these communities (as listed by WebMD, “Longevity Secrets of ‘Super Agers'”):

  1. A plant-based diet including beans, whole grains, veggies, nuts, etc. (the Sardinians also would engage in drinking moderate amounts of red wine and ate a lot of pecorino cheese, which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids)
  2. Felt a sense of purpose
  3. Belonged to a faith-based community
  4. Took daily naps and/or resting time
  5. Didn’t overeat and consumed relatively small portions
  6. Took advantage of opportunities for natural movement, i.e. walking, herding, gardening, etc.

This study has now morphed into a project known as the “Blue Zones Project” in which communities are adopting exercise and healthier dietary lifestyles. Communities who have taken on this project are beginning to see similar results as those located in the original five Blue Zones.

However, what about the brain? All these physical aging improvements are great, but what about keeping the mind sharp? Well, interestingly enough, medical doctor Claudia Kawas, has been researching whether exercise and diet can affect brain health, too. What she found was astounding! Kawas and her researchers believe that they have discovered a connection between a thriving heart and a lower chance of dementia. Additionally, many of her subjects have one or more things in common with the communities in the five Blue Zones. The subjects attended religious services weekly and…

For the rest of the research on how to have both physical and mental super-aging click here: How To Be A Super-Ager (Part 2)


Bibliography:

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-protect-brain-older-age-social-2017-4
  2. https://www.webmd.com/special-reports/anti-aging-science/20170404/super-ager-secrets
  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-aging/what-does-it-take-to-be-a-super-ager
  4. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-37348130
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