The FINAL rule of the POWER 9!

According to several studies about behaviour, conditions that you wouldn’t think could be contagious actually are (but not in the way you think).  This is relating to both negative conditions, such as obesity, and negative habits, such as overeating, smoking, drinking too much and even indulging in the wrong kinds of foods (diet soda, anyone?). The same is true for positive lifestyle habits, such as exercising, eating right and even thinking proactive, positive thoughts. 

That’s why the people you surround yourself with make such a significant difference to how well you yourself live and the habits you adapt. If you end up in a group where everyone is always complaining about everything, you find yourself more inclined to find something yourself to complain about (by the way, complaining and negative mindset takes years off your life). On the other hand, if the group of people you hang out with practice gratitude meditation and think positively of the world around them, you end up also feeling grateful and positive about the world and the people in it (gratitude and positivity can add up to 30% more life into your years). 

So who you choose to surround yourself with makes a big difference. That’s not to say that you should cut all negative people out of your life completely (especially if they include family and old friends), but perhaps consider limiting time spent with them if you can and take what they say with a grain of salt and don’t let them infect you with their negativity disease (which is all too easy to catch if you let yourself).

Remember that it’s very difficult to convince a negative person of the benefits of being positive. Most negative people think of themselves as “realistic” and they believe anyone too positive is not seeing the horrible world for what it truly is. They may accuse you of being trapped in a fake reality or in a “happy bubble”. Well it turns out that being blind to negativity can add serious years of health to your life. In fact, most of the centenarians in the Blue Zones (and in general) suffer from this same blindness. They may face hardship like everyone else, but they focus on the positive and get on with things with as much optimism as is possible in the situation. Spend your time with these positive people and catch what they have instead. Trust me, it’s much better for your health.

So that’s the last point of our 9 point series on how to age healthier. But that’s just one piece of research and just the start. Stay tuned as I’ll be bringing you plenty more in due course.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE!

Ready to get started with ensuring you age well, book a free wellness taster call with me here and find out how you’re likely to age based on your current diet & lifestyle.

Rule#8: put loved ones first.

I once read one famous writer (who’s name I can’t recall) say that the decline of modern society can be viewed in how we dump our elders as soon as they’re no longer useful to us. In the US especially, and in other “more modern” Western societies, elderly get put into nursing homes once they’re too old to be any “real use to anyone”. There was one Native American tribe I read about some time back (no longer in existence) where elderly who were too old to be put to work were sent off into the forest as a sacrifice to the wild spirits there. Not surprisingly, that tribe didn’t survive long.

In the longest-lived areas of the world that boast the greatest numbers of centenarians, elderly are respected and cherished. Families often live as one big unit either sharing a home with ageing parents who help to look after children or else living within easy walking distance of each other. In our “modern” Western world we often move far away from family, sometimes to the other side of the country or even across the world. Children see it as a right of passage to make their way into the world somewhere far away from the influence of family. Hey I’m guilty myself of that transgression: moving to London far away from where my family lives. And I’m left missing them ever since.

But what does it really bring? Loneliness, the feeling of an empty nest when children leave, the stressful life of a big city…

In the Blue Zones, loneliness isn’t really an issue as families always have each other and everyone puts loved ones first. It means that children are raised with the love of grandparents and even great grandparents and elders look forward to getting older and watching their families grow. Most couples mate for life and look forward to the expansion of their family tree over time. Families enjoy the help of all family members to make life easier and alleviate some of the stress, and respect the wisdom and insight that age and long life brings. Elders are valued rather than dismissed. Hence they look forward to a long life as they see plenty to live for.

In our modern Western world elders often feel bad for being a nuisance to the younger generation and come to a point where they feel they have little to live for. Once we give up on life, what more is there to keep us here?

The family dynamics of the Blue Zones is something we should all strive for rather than aiming to get away from. If we valued the older generation more, imagine the wisdom we would have the pleasure of finding. Rather than now when we dismiss those who aren’t young as “old fashioned” and “not modern”. When we’re young we think we own the world and that it owes us everything. But what we forget is that eventually (should we be so lucky), we will also be the elders. And how we treat our elders is how we show our children that it’s ok to treat us.

Want to make sure that you live a long and healthy life for your children and your children’s children? Book a free 20 minute call with me here:

Rule 7: Belong to a Community !

Sadly, one of the repercussions of our fast-paced world of scrolling for the next best thing to distract us from whatever isn’t working, is that we often find our friendships superficial and our community lacking or non-existant. 

In the Blue Zones, community is one of the pillars of survival that longevity is built on. And community isn’t just a superficial group of people you exchange pleasantries with every once in a while in a group setting you attend when there’s a religious festival or some kind of celebration. It’s a group that you meet with regularly that actually and truly has your back. 

In the Blue Zones, almost all of the surviving centenarians interviewed belonged to a faith-based community. Apparently, attending a faith-based service in a community of people you’re friendly with once a week can add up to 14 years to your life. Wow, no one told you that when they tried to get you to go to services!

Community also adds a feeling of belonging somewhere, so that you have a group of people who are happy to see you and ask about you even when you’re older and alone (or younger and alone, whatever the case may be). There is no substitute for that feeling of belonging somewhere, especially with a community of people who know you well.

Need help finding ideas of where to belong? Book a free call with me here: Book a free call with Julia here:

Rule No 6: Moderate Wine Intake!

Ok so I must admit that out of  Buettner’s 9 rules uncovered for longevity, this is the only one which surprised me. Ok yes we’ve all become somewhat more aware of the power of red wine for health and longevity-boosting thanks to it being replete in resveratrol. But from what I gathered, there’s more resveratrol actually available in a handful of red grapes than a glass of red wine so I’ve just upped my grape intake. However, apparently wine (especially the red variety) isn’t just beneficial due to its’ resveratrol content.

The interesting findings behind the benefits of red wine drinking in 4 of the 5 of the Blue Zones actually extends to how it’s drunk and how much of it is consumed. While consuming 1-2 glasses daily (depending on weight) can be beneficial for health, consuming more than 3 at a single sitting actually has the opposite effect and can hurt you more than help you. So that means no saving up your glass daily and consuming 7 in one go!

In addition, in each of the Blue Zones where wine was consumed (as well as in most of the Mediterranean culture where the Mediterranean diet has been hailed for its’ longevity-boosting benefits), wine is never consumed on one’s own. Rather it is part of a ritual of a meal eaten with friends, family and/or other good company and is partaken in as part of that sit down together and enjoy good conversation and a nice glass of wine. 

So the purpose of the wine becomes very different than how some use it in the Western world. It isn’t meant to drown out your sorrow or erase bad memories. Rather it’s part of a daily ritual of de-stressing and celebrating good company with good company. And maybe that kind of covers the crux of what the Blue Zones are all about and why people there live longer on average than anywhere else in the world. Life there might be a bit slower than in the big cities, but it’s focused on living the moment, celebrating good company, getting away from stress for a while (and not in front of the tv) and enjoying every moment of the time with the people who are important to you (stay tuned for the rest of the Power 9 rules to longevity which hit on this point even further).

Until then, I’m sure you already are thinking about all that you can do to boost your longevity. Want to know how you measure up? Book a free call with Julia here:

Rule No5: Plant Based Diet!

If you’ve read anything about health lately, including any books on the topic or any of my newsletters or social media, you probably already know about the importance of a plant-based diet and a plant slant to the way you eat.

While eating too much meat (especially red and processed meat) in your diet has been linked with inflammation and cardiovascular issues and increased cholesterol, plants (and fungi) have almost all been linked with positive benefits. These benefits aren’t limited to reducing inflammation and improving metabolic health, they also extend to improving your gut health. In fact, plants (including tubers, fungi, leaves, cruciferous…) are what your gut buddies prefer to eat over all other food. 

The more plant-based your diet, the more you feed the good gut bacteria responsible for boosting health and longevity. Conversely, the more inflammatory your diet (full of sugar, processed food and drinks, copious not organic meat…) the shorter your healthy lifespan will be. 

It’s no surprise then that all five of the Blue Zones have a plant slant to the way they eat. Meat is a rare enjoyment eaten maximum once weekly (and in most of the Blue Zones even less often). 

So in case you missed the main point: in areas of the world where more people than anywhere else in the world live to be over a hundred (without the help of medications propping them up), these people eat a mostly plant-based diet. That means loads of salads, plant-based protein and copious vegetables. If this hasn’t sold the idea of plant-based eating to you, I’m not sure what will. 

How about that plants extend longevity thanks to copious antioxidants, gut-friendly fibre, inflammation-lowering vitamins and minerals and so much more. 

Should you need examples: broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have been studied in depth for their cancer-preventing properties, kale has been linked to reducing blood pressure and cholesterol naturally (as has avocado, sweet potato, beetroot, garlic and other leafy greens, among others). Mushrooms have been so well studied for their amazing anti microbial, anti parasitic, anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties that they now have quite a few studies (mainly from Asia where the life-giving benefits of mushrooms have been revered for centuries) showcasing their effectiveness to boost the success of cancer-fighting traditional medical interventions (such as chemotherapy) and their ability to encourage cancer cell apoptosis (the dying off of cancer cells). 

Plants (and I include tubers and fungi in this category) are limitless in their health-boosting potential and you should consider it your daily duty to eat at least 8-10 servings (fistfuls) of them if you want to live a healthy and long life filled with youthfulness and vitality.

Rule 4: Eat Until 80% Full

In the majority of the Western world, we seem to have a tendency towards overeating. Anyone who’s spent enough time in the US is well aware of the favourite holiday dedicated to the art of over-eating: Thanksgiving. And of course obesity is unfortunately now becoming much too common an epidemic of those who overindulge on a regular basis.

In the Blue Zones, where both obesity and chronic diseases of all kinds are much less prevalent, people follow the rule of eating until 80% full. Calorie restriction is a regular practice that doesn’t have to be planned and that has incredible longevity-boosting benefits.

I’ve always found calorie restriction as one of the easiest ways to improve health while also improving the waist line. Limiting eating to 2-3 meals daily (with no snacking in between) and increasing the time between the last meal and the first one, from 12-16 hours, is a great way to improve insulin resistance (reducing the chances of diabetes or metabolic disorders later on). Weight reduction is one added benefit, but so is improving your appetite response so that your body knows when it’s full and tells you so (which reduces the chances of over-eating in the future). Allowing your body rest between meals and a longer fast is also good to give your digestive system a break. It also helps your gut microbiome to improve its’ balance and your good gut bacteria likes the break while the bad gut bacteria wants you to keep feeding (especially on processed food and sugar).

Stopping eating when only 80% full will give you a better sense of just how much food you actually need. It also means often limiting food to the healthier parts: salad and protein, preferably stopping before desert (which will again favour good gut bacteria as the bad guys live on sugar and processed carbs). Remember that your gut microbiome impacts not just your weight (poor gut microbiome mix has been linked with obesity in many studies) but also your immunity (reducing inflammation as one of the benefits of improved mix). In the Blue Zones, where people live healthier longer and where most are at their ideal weight, this is a regular practice. Isn’t it time to try this easy practice for yourself? Try eating slower and make meals more of a stand-alone activity (rather than eating on the run). This will help you to limit food intake and stop in time.

Need more help with this? I also do hypnotherapy to reduce cravings. To book a free call to find out more, click here:

Rule 3: Downshift from that stress

Let’s just be real here. Unless you’re a munk living on top of a mountain (and if you’re reading this you’re probably not), stress is likely a regular part of your life. Most likely, it’s a much more regular part than you’d like to admit (even to yourself) and one that you haven’t been managing particularly well up to now.

Rest assured though that it isn’t the lack of stress that leads to long healthy life but the adequate management of that stress. The people who live in the Blue Zones aren’t naturally gifted with a stress free life; they just know how to downshift from that stress on a regular daily basis.

Each Blue Zones area downshifts in a different way. For some it’s prayer, for some meditation or yoga (or tai chi). For others it’s just a mid-day nap, called a siesta. The idea is the same, however. To stop whatever is causing stress and just take a much needed break to tune out and tune back into whatever makes you true to you: whatever makes you tick and drives you in the first place. It’s a time to tune into breath, into hope, into rest (and hence into the the much needed parasympathetic sense inside you).

Adding some parasympathetic into our very sympathetic-dominated lives is key to staying youthful and healthy longer. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga… have all been linked with improving our gut microbiome and our gut microbiome being healthy and well-balanced has been linked with us being healthy and well-balanced. That includes positive mental health as well as good physical health. Who would have thought it can be as easy as 1-2-3 (rule number 3 that is).

Need help downshifting? I was a hypnotherapist even before I was a Nutritional Therapist, helping stressed out corporates to downshift through meditation and those who wanted to reach goals that seemed too far away to do so through visualisation.

Rule 2: Live a life full of purpose

We all have different things in life that keep us going and give us a reason to wake up in the morning: whether it be our work, our hobbies, a great relationship, our children or grandchildren or some passion or dreams we live for. The idea is to find something with enough meaning for us to keep us going day in day out.

As we age, our bodies don’t quite work as they used to and we don’t continue to look as we used to. There are many things to moan and complain about as ageing itself is definitely not a fun process. So we need something we’re excited and passionate about to keep us going and to keep us vibrant and youthful.

Youth is excitement and passion after all: it’s having something that drives us and keeps us motivated. That’s why having a purpose to live and keep going for is so important. It keeps us feeling younger and more excited about life. It also makes us way more interesting to be around. People with drive have that natural spark in their eyes; they’re more fun and exciting to be with too. They’re usually not the ones waiting for something to happen because they have something that drives them forward. One of the complaints about people retiring is that they lose their spark as they lose their something to live for. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Retirement can be the ideal opportunity to finally pursue one’s hobby or true interest. Most important is to find some purpose to keep you going, wherever it comes from.

For me that purpose is partially my family (especially my kids and adorable puppy) and partially my drive to help everyone live healthier and stay youthful longer. What’s your purpose? Share what drives you with us by replying to this newsletter or by adding what drives you below this message for your chance to win a free Nutritional assessment session (worth £179).

The power 9: rule#1

As I mentioned some time back, I’m now pursuing my masters in Personalised Nutrition. My focus is of course on how to help us all to age in the best way possible in order to promote longevity and health span.

One of the great benefits of the masters is the access I have to the latest research on the topic. One of my most prized findings was some research from Dan Buettner and others about the 5 “Blue Zones”: 5 areas
in the world where there live the most centenarians. These areas are: Sardinia, Italy; Icaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California (Seventh-Day Adventists).

Buettner uncovered something he named “the power 9”: 9 key things that most people who live to a ripe old age in all 5 Blue Zones do that helps them to age so well that they live to their 90s and beyond. Over the course of the coming months I’ll be sharing these 9 key things with you each week so stay tuned, but here is the first of the nine:

Rule 1: Include regular movement in your day

Let’s be honest, we’re all busy people with too few hours in a day and too much to do. We don’t really have time to put too many anti-aging changes into place; but at the same time we also don’t like the idea of ageing. If we could choose, we’d remain young and fit forever, yet we don’t want the sacrifices we make to stay youthful to be too big.

Let’s be honest again. Very very few of us even think about sacrificing anything we love to stay young and fit for longer until it’s much too late and time has already caught up with us.

As a Nutritional Therapist, Hypnotherapist and Naturopath specialising in helping people to age more slowly and to stay healthy longer, I have a very tight fine line to walk with what I can advise that people will actually follow. Give a weight loss plan that will ensure weight loss (being overweight is highly ageing) but also that demands sacrifice and buy in will be limited. Give a plan that demands less sacrifice and results will be limited. It’s a tough balance.

That’s one of the reasons why I so love the data coming out of the Blue Zones: 5 areas where people live longer better and where there live the highest number of centenarians globally. Because people in these areas just live a healthier life naturally, without the need for feeling like they’re sacrificing anything.

And, after all, why should giving up processed junk food, fake sugar (or sweetener) filled fizzy drinks, cigarettes and other unhealthy habits feel like such a sacrifice? But mostly why should adding regular daily movement into every single day feel like something that’s difficult or challenging to do?

People in the Blue Zones don’t have gym memberships and they don’t force themselves to train for marathons. They just walk regularly instead of driving somewhere. They work in their gardens. They put together their own furniture. And they walk to and from local shops with their groceries instead of having them delivered. Movement is something naturally and easily added to their every day. They dance with friends when they feel like it or when music inspires them. They walk in nature and to visit friends and family. Movement is something naturally included in every day.

So why should adding movement be something difficult or challenging to do? And if they can do it, why can’t all of us? Adding movement into every day shouldn’t be something we need to measure with an Apple Watch or Fitbit, but if it helps you get inspired by closing circles or measuring steps, by all means. I shouldn’t have to tell clients an amount of time to minimally move, but about 60-90 minutes a day is ideal and 30 minutes a minimum.

That means any movement by the way. Even just getting up to make yourself a tea is a start. If you need inspiration, take a walk every day for at least a half hour in nature somewhere if you can, or even just to your local shops or around your nearest shopping centre if that’s all you have. Another half hour of movement you can get by bouncing around, dancing, doing a workout on YouTube or spending time in the gym (if you enjoy it). And the last half hour you can get just by moving around your home if you make sure to add some regular movement. Time yourself if you must, or just make sure and move. This is one of the easiest additions you can make to your life that will have a tremendous benefit to your weight.

More additions coming in the next weeks with each of the Power 9 rules uncovered from the “Blue Zones” research.

Want to get started on living longer better and staying healthier and more youthful?