A 101-year-old California heart surgeon who retired just five years ago may be the epitome of "you are what you eat."
Dr. Ellsworth Wareham credits his vegan lifestyle with being his fountain of youth. He says it's why he is still sharp-minded, enjoys good balance and drives.
"I don’t have any trouble with my joints, my hands are steady, my balance is good, I don’t have to walk with a cane," he told CCTV America.
Wareham lives in Loma Linda, California, which is one of five so-called Blue Zones, so named by longevity researcher Dan Buettner because people tend to live longer, healthier lives within them. Residents of Loma Linda, many of whom like Wareham are Seventh Day Adventists, have a life expectancy that's nine to 11 years greater than that of other Americans. Seventh Day Adventists avoid smoking and alcohol, include exercise in their lifestyle and follow a vegetarian diet. The city of Loma Linda is also home to many retirees and has several community programs in place that support its older residents. Loma Linda men in particular live six to seven years longer than the average American man.
As for Dr. Wareham, he said he has "never cared for animal products," so maintaining a vegan lifestyle was "a very easy thing" for him to do.
He does draw the line, however, on making any connection between age and wisdom. "People associate age with wisdom and I think that’s probably unscientific," he told CCTV America.
But while what you eat certainly impacts your health, even Buettner has noted that the Blue Zones have other longevity-increasing factors. People in Blue Zones are encouraged to move their bodies a lot. They usually have active social circles where healthy behaviors are reinforced. They are generally committed to their families, feel part of a larger community and take time to de-stress.
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