Can we live forever? Part 3

Most of us are hoping to live long and healthy lives.

Right now there are 55-thousand people in the U.S. who are 100 years old, or older.

In fact, people older than 100 are the fastest growing age group in the country..

So what are their secrets to longevity?

Frank Di Paolo, Jr. is 100 years old.

"I am honestly, 100, and a half years old."

And he doesn't miss a beat! He drives to work every day, working in the office of a state senator.

"I honestly believe that if you get enough rest, exercise some, you eat well, you're going to live."

One secret he believes to living a long life is wine.

"I think this has a lot to do with getting old," he says.

In fact, red wine contains polyphenols, chemicals that some research has shown can ward off heart disease.

Dr. Thomas Perls has studied centenarians for more than a decade.

"We like to study people like you and their families to and figure out," he said. “Why they live so long?”

Want to know how long you'll live? Take a look at your relatives. Dr. Perls believes 30% of how well you'll age is in your genes.

"Our studies show that exceptional longevity, that is living to 100 or older, runs very strongly in families," Dr. Perls said.

Centenarians also tend to have certain personality traits.

"Many of them had very, very stressful lives, but what seems to be the key to them is that they seem to manage it so very well. They don't hold on to stuff, they don't dwell on it."

They are rarely depressed.

"I just be me,” says Ellen Doble.

Genetic variations also slow down the aging process. In fact, 20% of centenarians, like Ellen, had children after the age of 40, their fertility a marker for the rest of their body.

"The older you get, the healthier you've been," added Dr. Perls.

Studies show centenarians have 60-percent lower rates of heard disease, stroke and high blood pressure

"One of the reasons centenarians are rare is because not of a rare one factor, but rather, it's the combination of factors that makes them rare. It's a bit like winning the lottery,” Dr. Perls commented. “If you have one or two numbers, it's pretty easy, but getting seven numbers, that makes you rare."

That combination of luck, lifestyle and genes can add up to a very long live.

“You know, I got it in here that I'm going to live about ten more years," Di Paolo says.

Dr. Perls’ study shows Seventh Day Adventists have the longest lifespan out of any group in the country.

They are vegetarians, they don’t drink—don’t smoke.

They exercise and set aside time for spiritual activities.


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