There is a popular myth that several cultures exist in distant, far off places where the people often live to be over 120 years old. This myth further says they enjoy excellent health, stamina, and clarity of mind until they die. Please read the article Healthy at 100, as well as John Robbin’s book by the same title.
None of this is true. The longest lived people on earth are the Japanese Okinawans, who merely live, on the average, into their 80’s. The rural Okinawans do enjoy far better health in their old age than affluent Westerners do. The urban have adopted too many Western habits, and do not. This is due to their wholesome, simple, natural DIET, rigorous exercise, and general lifestyle. What do they eat? Whole grains like brown rice, lots of fresh vegetables, root vegetables, seafood, local fruits, soups, and salads. They eat very little meat, poultry, eggs, and no milk or dairy at all. They eat an amazing 12% soy foods. They eat more soy than anyone in the world, and live the longest. They work hard, and keep bad habits like drinking, smoking, and coffee to a minimum. There is little stress in their rural lives, as their culture is not industrialized. Mostly they farm. Unfortunately the young Okinawans have generally “gone Western”, and forgotten their healthful traditions.
The myth of long lived cultures started in 1973. National Geographic magazine published an article claiming that people in certain far flung areas lived to be incredibly old, and had amazing health and stamina in their golden years. None of this was true, but it sure sold a lot of magazines! The Weston Price Foundation (read the article Weston Price Foundation) uses the Masai tribe (in Africa) as their golden Standard of Health. The average lifespan of the Masai is a mere 44 years. Only 44 years! The Weston Price people are completely insane! The average lifespan in America is about 76 years. Women, as always live longer than men. White people also live longer. The problem with us is that our quality of life is terrible, and people are kept technically alive and breathing by expensive, artificial medical means.
People kept repeating this longevity myth, until it was accepted as fact. Some clowns like Joel Wallach keep pushing these myths to sell their worthless colloidal minerals. This bozo says there are six cultures where the populace, “routinely lives to be 120 to 140 years old”, and their ages are, “well documented”!!! He goes on to say one Chinese doctor lived to be 256 years old, and this was, “fairly well documented”. He says the Hunzas in Pakistan, the Georgians in Russia, the Armenians in Armenia, the Titicacas in Peru, and the Vilcabambas in Ecuador all routinely live to be 120 to 140 years old. This is too ridiculous to comment on. Again, the oldest living people on earth are the rural Japanese Okinawans, who merely live to their 80’s. Hardly more than us Americans, but they do enjoy a much better quality of life in their final years. Quality is everything of course. In the journal of the American Geriatrics Society (v 30, 1982) an expose was done of this. The author went to see the Vilcabambas in Ecuador, and found out only 3 people out of every 100,000 even live to be 100 years old. Let’s repeat that- only 3 people out of every 100,000 live to be 100. So much for the Villacambas! He also found out these people, like the other five cultures, were characterized by poor sanitation, infectious diseases, high infant mortality, extreme illiteracy, almost no medical care, and dismal poverty. Hardly a romantic ideal to live up to.
Primitive cultures like this have very little in the way of formal record keeping. When the citizens found the National Geographic photographers wanted to hear about extreme ages, they told them whatever they wanted to hear. The more they fabricated, the more they were rewarded. Who can blame them? If there were any records at all, they would often give the journalists the records of their fathers or mothers (or even grandfathers and grandmothers), and claim to be the other person. In one village of almost 1,000 it was found not one single inhabitant was 100.
The Geriatrics Society author then went to Pakistan to see the Hunzas, and found there simply were no records at all. The Georgian Russians proved to be the same story. Dr. Medvedev exposed the whole Georgian hoax in the journal Gerontologist (v 14, 1974) right after the National Geographic fiasco.
If you look at that journal article you’ll also find a seven page, well documented study. This proved beyond any doubt that anyone in Russia is lucky to make it to the age of 80. How long can you expect to live? That depends on a lot of factors, but you can live to be about 85 years old and still independent, reasonably healthy, and happy. No matter how well you eat, how much you exercise, how good your genetics are, how much you balance your hormones, how often you fast, and how many supplements you take, you’re just not going to live much longer. It’s not the length of life, but the QUALITY that matters anyway. Quality of life is everything. Please don’t write in telling us how your sickly, old, arthritic, senile grandmother lived to be 99 after eating meat, sugar, and white bread all her life. (Mine lived to 92, but her last 30 years went very badly.) The elderly people in America are, almost without exception, very sickly, miserable, depressed, in terrible health, and not enjoying their extended years at all. Quality of life is everything.