The secrets of longevity – Part 3

July 20, 2008

We have journeyed to the Japanese island of Okinawa and the Sardinian village of Ovodda, but now we are off to what can seem like the natural home of those seeking eternal life – California. Certainly no other nation spends so much time, money and effort in trying to look younger and live longer, but strangely enough their longest lived community subscribes to none of those ideas.

Loma Linda, in California, is a town that is home of a large community of Seventh Day Adventists and they are proving anyone can increase their chances of living a longer, healthier life – and it has nothing to do with your genetic inheritance.

On average, Seventh Day Adventists in the town live between five and 10 years longer than fellow citizens, and it makes them the longest living people in the US.

What is making the difference? For many of those living in Loma Lindo long life is a matter of their faith, and the simple explanation would be that the Church advocates no tobacco or alcohol and promotes a vegetarian diet. All of these are factors that will definitely improve health and prolong life, however,not all members follow this code and even they live significantly longer than average.

Research has previously shown that people that go to church regularly – whatever faith they have – live longer, and that fact has been known for the last 30 years. But why? According to Dr Gary Fraser, who is researching the community, it seems that regular churchgoers have significantly lower levels of stress hormones and so may be better equipped to cope with life’s upsets and challenges.

Dr Kerry Morton, who is involved in a longer-term study on Adventist health, certainly seems to agree. “Religion and connection to something higher than oneself, connection to the sacred,connection to a tight-knit religious community allows you to modulate your reactions and your emotions to believe there is a broader purpose. Therefore your body can stay in balance and not be destroyed by those stressors and traumas over time”.

Well there you have it, the three longest-lived communities in the world, and all with a different answer. Whether it’s faith, food, or family I think it comes down to attitude and how you feel about yourself and your life – whichever route you take make it a positive one.


Article by  


What do you think of this health article by ? Join the discussion...