The Best Advice for Living to 100, According to 100 Centenarians
Including drinking three Dr Peppers a day and some other unexpected tips.
One in three babies born today will likely live to see their 100th birthday. The world is indeed becoming a healthier place to live well into our golden years. But, how can you ensure you get there, too? It’s simple: Stay positive, eat sweets, and enjoy a cocktail or two a day.
OK, so living to 100 isn’t that simple, but that’s the advice some of the 100 people who lived to 100 or more gave in previously published interviews, which have now been compiled in a new project for A Place for Mom titled, "How to Live to 100."
In the project, A Place for Mom analyzed which advice was given most often. According to the site’s findings, 29 percent of centenarians said they ignored traditional nutritional advice, while 25 percent conversely said adhering to a healthy diet helped them reach the birthday milestone.
“I saw the doctor and he said, ‘Are you careful about what you eat?’ and I said, ‘Certainly not, I drink three Dr Peppers a day,’ and he said, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s too much sugar. You will die if you keep drinking that,’” Elizabeth Sullivan shared on her 104th birthday in 2015. “But 10 years later he died and I had to change doctors. So I’m still drinking three Dr Peppers a day and people said that’s bad for me but you know, not very many people live to be 104. So I guess the sugar in the Dr Peppers have kept me alive all this time.”
An additional 22 percent said remaining active helped them add a few more years to their lives, while 18 percent credited their long years to having a healthy attitude.
"I watch my weight - no sugar, honey. If life’s not good today, forget about it. Tomorrow, it will be better. Look at it that way. Let it go by. Keep yourself occupied and busy. Do that all the time,” Mary Todisco, aged 103, noted in January.
As for the other top 10 ways people said they lived to 100, 16 percent said they drank alcohol regularly, while 12 percent said they never drank or smoked. Ten percent credited keeping strong relationships for their age, nine percent said getting a good night’s sleep was the key, another nine percent said being nice to others was also critical, and an additional nine percent credited their faith.
Though many of these lifestyle choices seem silly, it turns out they can have a big impact on how many years are left in our lives.
“Our genetic makeup and lifestyle habits influence longevity, but the impact each element plays is a hotly debated topic,” David J. Demko, a clinical gerontologist, explained. “The current ratio suggests that genetic risk factors control 25 percent and lifestyle risk factors control 75 percent, but this ratio fluctuates in line with new research on factors reported to reduce risks to morbidity and mortality. Regardless of the precise weighting of this ratio, it’s clear that a long life boils down to far more than simply smart genes and dumb luck.”
But really, in the end, it’s more about the life in our years, not the years in our life, right?