Why a Community in California Lives 10 Years Longer Than Everyone Else – and in Great Health

Hello best health seekers!

The Seventh Day Adventists of Loma Linda, California lead the nation in life expectancy, living on average 10 years longer than everyone else. It’s one of five blue zones in the world – places where the population regularly lives into their 90s and without the usual illnesses that plague the rest of humanity. They also have far more centenarians. The key to this longevity, good health and fitness? It appears to be diet and lifestyle.

Here’s how these Adventists differ from the rest of America and the secrets we can learn from them.

Secret #1 – Diet

Diet plays a starring role in the overall health and longevity of Adventists, including less health problems throughout their lives common to the rest of the nation, even in their later years. Here’s how their diet works out:

  • 33% Vegetables
  • 27% Fruit
  • 12% Legumes and soy
  • 10% Dairy
  • 7% Whole grains, of which the most common source is oats
  • 4% Meat and poultry
  • 2% Nuts and seeds
  • 1% Fish

The Adventist lifestyle encourage a “well-balanced diet” including nuts, fruits, and legumes, low in sugar, salt, and refined grains. Many Adventists follow a vegetarian diet and still eat dairy and eggs, but some avoid all animal products. Phenomenal health impacts result from this.

Low cancer rates. Studies show that consuming fruits and vegetables and whole grains seems to be protective against a wide variety of cancers. Nonsmoking Adventists who ate 2 or more servings of fruit per day had about 70 percent fewer lung cancers than nonsmokers who ate fruit once or twice a week. Adventists who ate legumes such as peas and beans 3 times a week had a 30 to 40 percent reduction in colon cancer. Vegetarians were 22% less likely overall than meat eaters to be diagnosed with colon or rectal cancers.

Adventists women who consumed tomatoes at least 3 or 4 times a week reduced their chance of getting ovarian cancer by 70 percent over those who ate tomatoes less often. Eating a lot of tomatoes also seemed to have an effect on reducing prostate cancer for men.

Lower heart disease rates. A new study has found that adherents to this way of life have the nation’s lowest rates of heart disease and diabetes and very low rates of obesity. Adventists who consume nuts at least five times a week have about half the risk of heart disease and live about two years longer than those who don’t. At least four major studies have confirmed that eating nuts has an impact on health and life expectancy. Further, studies of Adventists suggest that men who drank 5 or 6 daily glasses of water had a substantial reduction in the risk of a fatal heart attack –60 to 70 percent–compared to those who drank considerably less.

More sleep, lower BMI. Finally, Adventists eat their meals differently, following the adage “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” A light dinner early in the evening avoids flooding the body with calories during the inactive parts of the day. This seems to promote better sleep and a lower BMI.

Secret #2 – Few Vices

Adventists don’t smoke or drink alcohol. They also try to avoid caffeine. Because the faith frowns on smoking, study participants provided a control group for studies on the effects of tobacco. They showed that a 30-year-old Adventist man is likely to live more than seven years longer than the average white California man. For women, it was a 4.4-year difference. The differences were greater for vegetarian Adventists.

Secret #3 – Active for Life

Long-lived Adventists stay physically active all their lives. Adventists with healthy BMI’s (meaning they have an appropriate weight for their heights) who keep active and eat meat sparingly, if at all, have lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, and less cardiovascular disease than heavier Americans with higher BMIs. Getting regular, low-intensity exercise like daily walks appears to help reduce chances of having heart disease and certain cancers according to studies done with this population.

Secret #4 – Weekly Downtown

As part of their faith, Adventists observe the Sabbath every week. This 24-hour break starting Friday evening provides a time to focus on family, God, camaraderie, and nature. Adventists claim this relieves their stress, strengthens social networks, and provides consistent exercise.

Secret #5 – Finding Their Tribe

Adventists tend to spend time with lots of other Adventists. They find well-being by sharing each other’s values and supporting each other’s habits.

Secret #6 – Giving Back

Like many faiths, the Seventh-day Adventist Church encourages and provides opportunities for its members to volunteer. People stay active, find a sense of purpose, and stave off depression by focusing on helping others.

Living the Good Life

Loma Linda, California has the largest population of Seventh Day Adventists in the world at 9,000 strong in a city of 27,000. Their community and faith promote an exceedingly healthy lifestyle. Loma Linda University, owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, has collected mountains of data from thousands of people over decades which is regularly cited in diet and health literature. The secret of the Adventists’ longevity success? Their faith instructs them to treat their bodies as temples: little or no meat or fish, no smoking or alcohol, plenty of exercise, community and a sense of purpose.

If you’re looking to live long and prosper, the Adventists set an exceptional example. We could all adopt their health habits.

Like this article? Share it so that others might learn these health secrets and start living their best lives now.

Sources

How to Live to 100: This Town Might Hold the Secrets to Longevity”, Today.com

“Loma, Linda California – A group of Americans living 10 years longer”, Bluezones.com

“Why Loma Linda residents live longer than the rest of us: They treat the body like a temple”, Marcy MacVean, L.A. Times, July 11, 2015

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