How to Live to 101
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How to Live to 101

2008, Science  -   44 Comments
Ratings: 8.38/10 from 42 users.

How to Live to 101The quest to live longer has been one of humanities oldest dreams, but while scientists have been searching, a few isolated communities have stumbled across the answer.

On the remote Japanese island of Okinawa, In the Californian town of Loma Linda and in the mountains of Sardinia people live longer than anywhere else on earth.

In these unique communities a group of scientists have dedicated their lives to trying to uncover their secrets.

Horizon takes a trip around the globe to meet the people who can show us all how to live longer, healthier lives. (Excerpt from

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44 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Umoren

    Every perception we have, has a direct influence on our imagination...

  2. anna miller

    why do people want to live so long in this weird, local reality?

  3. a b

    Now that western scientist and doctors have reached okinawa for research people will start dying of disease soon or there food or seeds changed to GMO . every thing western scientists and researchers have done is used for profits or things got bad then better. FUC*ing with natural law of universe of operating will only make things bad . these researchers are probably working for some pharma or drug company to find out how to make people sick around the world like in usa for profit

  4. RJohnstonAZ

    After having worked as a therapist for over 45 years, with overweight people, came to the conclusion that sugar is the most addictive substance on the planet. The reason is I believe, we have a desire for sweets, so that we get vitamin C, which the body does not store, so we need it daily. Thus, people who eat refined sugar products, do not get Vitamin C, so they have a desire for more, and more. It was easier to get addicts to quit using Heroin, Cocaine, Alcohol, etc than those addicted to sugar, to stop using sugar. What helped all addicts, was getting them in the habit of eating fruit, like grapes as a substitute as they can eat a few at a time, all day long. The more fruit they ate, the less desire for other sweets. As fruit is much healthier and is a complex sugar, they became healthier, having fewer colds or other illness and got rid of the excess weight.

    1. Krishi


      Thank you for sharing.

  5. kyle w

    Although it seems impressive that Okinawans are said to be the longest-lived people on Earth, it is still only marginal. Assuming that Okinawa Island has the same demographic structure as the rest of Japan, only 6% of the current population would be over 80. Since Okinawa has 1,300,000 people, about 78,000 would be over 80 years. Since Okinawan centenarians only number around 900, it would suggest that, even for locals, living to 100 is extremely rare.

    1. Daniel

      Whatever your math is, they are still the healthiest living human beings on earth so we should learn from them instead of underestimating their longevity achievements.

  6. HereHere2

    There wasn't anyone smoking pot in the documentary. Zach, are you over 100 by any chance? Or researched cannibis and longevity? Then, maybe you'd have some credibility. From the research that I have done, all combustion products contain small particulates, which are known to cause lung disease.

    As for the film, the younger Okinawans are getting fatter but the seniors only eat about 1200 calories per day, the Sardinians eat meat and cheese, and the 7th day adventists are mostly vegetarian. The seniors that are interviewed are all physically and mentally active but the film doesn't really provide much insight, especially for those who have done some credible study of health and/or longevity issues.

  7. Zach Fraser

    smoke a joint once a day to live to 100

  8. ASHU

    We can't live longer in this century because in environment and what ever we eat, it contains oxidant.

    1. Gabriel Michæl Anderson

      No. Just no. Until you even have a basic understanding of cellular biology, just shut up.

  9. Grizzly

    Digestion is a big deal. The whole point of eating is to get energy, and if you are eating a big and complex meal, your digestive system requires more energy to break down all this food. So in a sense, you are defeating the purpose eating like that. The Mediterraneans eating cheese, meat and drinking wine makes sense for this reason. The Okinawan s eating vegetable soup makes a lot of sense, because making soup is simulating the digestion that would take place in your stomach, so that you are getting more energy for less expenditure to acquire that energy. Vegetables or fresh foods replenish your body's cells. If you eat dead, decomposed or processed food, then you are feeding your body with dead or low quality material. Also, social life in those agrarian communities play a role too.

  10. Heathre

    So far watching this, I'm a bit annoyed. Why anyone would live a long time, is no f@#$%&* secret. It's common sense. However, when I say common sense, I mean vague wise. Eat well, get rest, have fun. As far as specifics go, such as food and fun, that is up to the individual.

    "Since Soy was mentioned on this Doc. to be a super food for longevity, and before everybody gets on the band wagon of eating soy products. Be aware that soy and soy products in USA. are GM foods engineered by Monsanto, as is Corn, Cottonseed and Canola, to name a few." I totally agree with that!

    You don't want to eat or drink anything and everything in moderation, only real foods and drinks. I personally believe it is what you eat more than how much. Why would anyone restrict them self? Quality over quantity.

    1. Always eat local, seasonal, organic.
    2. Quality over quantity. YOU decide when you are hungry and full.
    3. Listen to your body and self. Just because something does/doesn't work for some people does/doesn't mean it will work for you.
    4. You don't have to agree with everything various people say. I do recommend checking out Weston Price, Nina Planck, Nourished Kitchen, Food Renegade, etc...

    1. L L

      I would agree with you but also add that everyone is unique. It is true that there are correlations between a healthy lifestyle and longevity. There are, however, smokers who live longer than nonsmokers, obese longer than athletes. No one lifestyle guarantees life.

  11. T!TS

    i would just like to point out that soya is not digested well in westerner's digestive system and increases the chances of some forms of cancers due to us westerns not having certain enzymes produced unlike asians (a bit like them getting pissed and not being able to break down alcohol)

    also, when eating fruit after whole meals, they get stuck and ferment and create acids, due to whole meals being digested much slower than fruits

    also - don't mix fruits and vegetables. the different carbs and different proteins react differently, i'm not gonna write a novel here but if you're interested in these things then i suggest you go do some research

  12. Epicurean_Logic


    Fruit sugar is also good, just not as sweet. Getting sugars from fruit is probably the best way and if you mix it with some H*och; y'all, be dancing all the way to effing spidey heaven. Yee hoah.

  13. Achems Razor

    Epic Logic:

    Sugar is sugar, is sugar. doesn't matter if it is green or purple.
    All brown sugar is, that it has added molasses.

    @ Spiderman: have tried Stevia, to much of a hassle, so dropped it also.
    Pure natural occurring sugars in Fruit is all a person needs.

  14. DancingSpiderman


    I gree that attempting to eliminate added sugar and other glucose-increasing sweeteners is EXTREMELY difficult. I've managed to cut down slightly on the amount, but that's about all; not experiencing an increase in energy level because I'm still ingesting too much sugar. I'm getting a bit more of a muffin-top than I'd like to have due to my increase in beverage intake to stay cool and hydrated here in Phoenix AZ.

    As a substitute for sugar, my intake of liquid Stevia extract is a drop in the bucket. Stevia isn't always convenient, doesn't always work well or taste well with certain items.

    And here, I thot the cute little ants were attracted to me; but alas, they are only attracted to the excess glucose in my pee. Epicurean_Logic , kin I have a little bit o' yer moonshine?

  15. Epicurean_Logic

    @kem. You are right. I like to take a less severe approach unless it's something that really disagees with me like spicy food and msg.

  16. Epicurean_Logic

    @Achams Razor. Kudos for owning and using a distiller, I have to get one so that i can brew up some hooch from my uncles cherry crop, We missed out on the last crop in april! Silly me.

    I prefer brown sugar nowadays, it tastes better; the fake sugar is just disgusting.

  17. Kem


    The point of my comment was to disagree with the idea that the family in the documentary maintained health and longevity, while consuming WITHOUT restriction and not incorporating fruits and veggies. Obviously, this doesn't describe your family at all.

    Moderation is relative. One person's "just not all the time" might be once a month or once a week for another. Just because I eat certain foods in moderation doesn't mean I wouldn't feel MUCH BETTER if I would just eliminate them completely.

  18. Achems Razor

    @ Epicurean_Logic:

    Correct, I combined Atkins diet with veg's, lot of fruit, pure distilled water, have my own distiller,
    Dropped 50 lbs. in three months, blood work 100%.

    The key though is drop all sugars, that was the hard part, sugar addiction is worse than all addictions combined together, major withdrawal symptoms, off all sugars, breads, anything that makes instant glucose for the body, trying to get off of those poisons almost drove me nuts, but now everything copacetic!

    1. kyle w

      I'm no scientist but isn't fruit almost all sugar? I think fruit is great, but in your comment you don't discriminate between good sugars and bad sugars. There is a difference.

      BTW, "Atkins Diet" LOL. What a croc! Good for losing weight and increasing heart disease, bad for keeping weight off long-term. My step-mother was on Atkins for a few years...she cannot digest leafy greens anymore. Coincidence?

  19. Epicurean_Logic

    @Kem. My mediterranean family are exactly as you described! 'eats meat, cheese, consumes alcohol without restriction and live to a ripe, HEALTHY old age.' The one thing that you didn't add to your list is plenty of fruits and vegetables, and clean mountain water.

    The ancient saying is 'pan metron ariston' or 'everything in moderation.' Drink alchohol if you like it, just not all the time, eat red meat, cheese etc but have a lot of variation in food. If you overindulge on ANYTHING it will be bad for you, and by the same respesct do everything you like in moderation.

    Its worked for thousands of years.

  20. Kem

    I refuse to believe that the Mediterranean family featured eats meat, cheese, consumes alcohol without restriction and live to a ripe, HEALTHY old age. The doctor said there are a lot of families that share the same last name, but only one has the most centenarians..I don't believe it's them.

    I switched my diet to veggies, fruits and nuts. My digestion improved; my skin is smooth and clear; and my energy has increased. The EARTH has provided us with the best diet for human consumption, period!

    1. kyle w

      Although I have eaten a nutritious, vegan diet for years I am not about to say that it is going to help me live longer. Perhaps my quality of life will be better, but there is no science that currently backs vegetarianism alone with a longer life. There is, however, proof in longevity from specific genes. The Vaca family of Sardinia obviously have the mix of genetic material that allows them longer life. However, it remains to be seen whether the sons and daughters of the current centenarians will be as long-lived.

  21. Kel

    Soy is not good for you unless it's fermented, then only in moderate amounts - like the Japanese eat it. Read Nina Planck or Sally Fallon for details. Mercola is not pseudo-science unless you mean 'doesn't buy into medical dogma.'
    Good, healthy, pesticide free small farming, no processed sugars/flours (or any foods) will make you feel better. Live longer? probably.

    1. kyle w

      Okinawans eat some fermented soy like natto, but most soy protein they consume is from tofu--a processed and unfermented soymilk cake. Learn, then preach.

  22. Marie

    @Danby.. I will be watching it and will be really eager to watch it if there's one on that topic "There's no hope blah blah". It's better to face reality than to put high hopes on something that's not true. I like this documentary though.

  23. Danby

    Ironically enough dancingspiderman, thats probably very true. People don't like to watch realistic documentries. If someone made a documentry called, 'Theres no hope, you're gonna die sooner then your parents' I doubt there'd be many people eager to watch it.

  24. DancingSpiderman

    Thanks Danby... No film need to be wasted on creating the documentary tentatively called "How To Die Sooner".

    Just keep eeting whatever we are eeting, and we will pass on sooner than in generations past, and the enbalming is free...

  25. Danby

    Remember people, that most of these people in the documentry grew up before all the chemicals that we did. We will probably die way sooner. Eat all the soy and omega 3 you want, you're still gonna die sooner.

  26. Sean

    One thing I'd like to point out is the caloric restriction mentioned near the beginning.

    I'm 19, I've always eaten about 80% of other people my age (naturally, never got too hungry). I appear to be 14/15 years of age, with a voice to match, however I've been tested and my hormones are balanced. I'm 5'6" and 110lbs. I eat a moderately western diet (weekly fast food, soda 1-2 times a week, a lot of meat for supper). Blood pressure and pulse rate are average. I'm of german/hispanic decent. I don't exercise often, however I do get a breath of fresh air daily. I live in a rural area. The important part is, I'm nearly 20 and people think I'm a freshman in high school.

    It seems to me that HOW MUCH you eat matters a lot more than WHAT you eat. I highly advise never eat till you're full.

  27. DancingSpiderman

    This doc was very refreshing in that, finally, a documentary has been made on the subject of Longevity that did not focus half of the show time on the "works" of "Dr." Aubrey De Grey. Thanks, Horizon BBC, for avoiding that guy is time around.

    Hunter, I side with Achems Razor... It IS good science in action to live daily with a positive mindset and doing - thinking - feeling positive actions, thoughts, and feelings.

  28. Achems Razor

    I beg to differ @ Hunter:

    What you believe has a direct effect on health. It is science in action, not metaphysical.

    Have read a book that makes sense to me, called.
    "Ageless Body Timeless Mind" (The Quantum Alternative To Growing Old)
    By, Deepak Chopra M.D.

  29. Hunter

    What you believe has no effect on your health. Of course if you are happy and not lonely this I think would have a positive effect on your health. All you need is a reason to get up in the morning and that can be found almost anywhere. Pseudo science indeed - especially when they start talking about religion.

    It is the junk food and artificial food... chips, pop, ect. The typical western diet is bad. Duh.

    Yes you inherit genetic adaptation from your parents to deal with their environment. If you adapt to a healthy environment you will live longer or you can trade life potential for life now under dire circumstances.

    I personally have chronic fatigue/other issues and have felt like an old man for the entirety of my teenage years. So I guess I must have inherited the overactive immune system from my mothers family from Glasgow.

    1. treasure1072004

      Try eliminating wheat (gluten) from your diet. My family history is Scottish (Aberdeen and Inverness) and we have alot of overactive immune system issues. Recently we have found that eliminating wheat from our diets has helped hugely.

    2. kyle w

      The science behind the healing of religion is not even for debate. It has been proven over and over. I'm not speaking as a religious fanatic, but as an atheist.

      Even though I do not believe in wild, imaginative beings in the sky, you simply cannot deny the power of the mind. If that mind truly believes in something helping them, it will lower stress levels--a common thread among all the long-lived in this doc.

  30. Achems Razor

    @ anna:

    Yes, I suspect that you are right. "Omega 3" from fish oils and sea food, are very beneficial, for the body!

  31. anna

    hmmmm... I suspect that it is the HIGH QUALITY SEA FOOD that these people are eating that is helping in terms of diet.

    Also, I wonder if that soy is properly fermented into miso or tempeh on their island, because that would make it a bit more digestible.

  32. Felix

    The pseudo science you find at mercola is destructive. Don't believe everything you read.

  33. Achems Razor

    Interesting Doc.