While diet fads change like the wind, there is one certain way to judge the effectiveness of nutrition advice.  Look at people who have lived long and healthy lives and see how they did it. People who live 100 years or longer often have a “common denominator” that helps account for their longevity.

Take Bernando LaPallo for example.  He is 109 years old, looks about 30 years younger than that, and still gets around just fine.  His diet consists of primarily raw foods and fish with a once-yearly treat of meat.  Yup, you read that right – once a year he treats himself to meat! Not quite the “Paleo” way of life that we’ve chronicled in the past few weeks.

In addition to eating raw fruits and vegetables, he walks a mile and half every day. and he’s 109 years old!

But wait . . . 109 is just a kid compared to this next guy.

Walter Bruinig is an impressive 114 making him the oldest man in America.  His diet consists of vegetables, fruit, beans for protein, nuts, and cinnamon tea. The majority of his food is leafy green vegetables, usually raw. If he cooks them at all it’s very lightly sautéed.

Um, yeah. What do you think about that Paleo people?

So what are the common denominators between these remarkable centenarians?

The first is raw food.

It’s no secret processed food, which many of us eat several times a week (if not daily) is laden with chemicals that will shorten your life. Diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease are often the result of making processed food a dietary staple. High fructose corn syrup is one of the biggest culprits found in food processed for convenience and it can absolutely wreck your health.

Another common denominator is the absence of animal protein.  

Shunning all animal protein remains a controversy and obviously it works very well for these men.  But before you decide to slash meat from your diet you’d do well to make sure you understand your own biochemical needs.  Too many people jump onto the vegetarian bandwagon before they do their homework first.  The result is depriving the body of nutrients it simply can’t get from plant sources, which can set you up for disease.

Both of these men avoid sugar and grains as well.  

We all know that sugar is bad for you, though not everyone understands just how bad it really is.  White sugar has been linked to various cancers, nerve disorders, obesity, diabetes, and more.  Many experts believe grains are just as bad because they have a negative impact on insulin levels.

Staying mentally and physically active is also a ticket to a long, healthy life.

You can have the healthiest diet in the world, but if you don’t exercise your body and your mind you’re trading in many years of a healthy life in the process.

The good news is it’s never too late to start living right.  No matter what age you are right now, you can transform your diet and lifestyle and still reap tremendous benefits from the change.

Despite the myths out there, dementia and cognitive decline are not normal aspects of aging.  One of simplest methods of boosting your brain function is to continue to learn something new.  Not just “book learning” but learning a new language, or a musical instrument, or simply traveling to explore new cultures can affect the structure of brain cells and the connections they make.  Simply stated, the more active you are in body and mind, the longer you’ll live.

So, if you’re feeling inspired by these two amazing men and want to make a few significant changes in your life in addition to a healthy diet and exercise, here are some good places to start.

  • Limit your exposure to environmental toxins.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Consume plenty of raw food.
  • Get enough reparative sleep.
  • Get enough sunlight exposure or take vitamin D supplements.
  • And manage your stress and emotional traumas as well.

While obviously no one will live forever, doing all you can to safeguard you physical, mental, and emotional health is the golden ticket to a long and satisfying life.

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