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Is Diet the Key to Living Long? Find out from World’s Oldest Living Man

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Walter Breuning turned 114 years old on September 21.

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Breuning is the fourth-oldest living person in the world and the world's oldest living male.

Born in 1896, Walter has lived in three separate centuries.

View the video to see how sharp this gentleman still is at 114 – and hear his advice on the simple, natural secrets to living a long, healthy life.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Walter Breuning is a shining example of what old age can be like, even when you're the oldest man in the world. You don't have to lose your mental faculties just because you're getting older; it's possible to be sharp, witty and have a great memory even past 100, just like Walter.

At the age of 114, Mr. Breuning summed up what you need to stay healthy in a very succinct, and wise, nutshell:

  • Watch your diet and avoid overeating
  • Keep your mind and body busy
  • Tell yourself that every day is a good day, and make it that way

Diet is a Key to Longevity

There's no hope of a long, healthy life without addressing your dietary habits. I've long stated that there's simply no more potent way to accelerate aging than eating sugar and grains, and this is due to their impact on your insulin levels.

Elevated insulin levels are one of the key physical influences that contribute to rapid aging, and there is no question that optimizing your insulin levels is an absolute necessity if you want to slow down your aging process.

Of all the molecules capable of inflicting damage in your body, probably the most damaging of all are sugar molecules. Fructose in particular is an extremely potent pro-inflammatory agent that speeds up the aging process.

But limiting sugars and grains is only one part of a healthy diet. One of the most important articles on my site, my nutrition plan, contains what I've learned about optimal nutrition for health and longevity. Many of you may have missed this comprehensive set of healthy nutritional guidelines.

I strongly encourage you to review them very carefully when you have a moment.

These guidelines are broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced, depending on the level you're starting from. The entire program is completely free, and my gift to you in the hopes that you will live healthier, longer.

It includes important dietary factors that you may be missing, like taking omega-3 fats, which many experts believe are likely the predominant reason why the Japanese are the longest lived race on the planet.

You'll also learn about other healthy fats, like coconut oil, that you may be shunning at the expense of your health. Coconut oil is an excellent anti-aging food; it can help you lose weight, or maintain your already normal weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, and lower your cholesterol, among other benefits.

You can even take your diet to the next level by finding out your nutritional type. This test is now free and will teach you which foods you are designed to eat and the ideal proportions of the types of nutrients you require, whether you are a 'Carb', a 'Protein', or a 'Mixed' type.

By following the plan that's right for your unique biochemical makeup, you can decrease your signs of aging exponentially.

Staying Active in Mind and Body

It's important that Mr. Breuning pointed out the importance of staying active, as this is another essential golden ticket to a long life.

Even people with the healthiest diets in the world still need to exercise to reach the highest levels of health. There's an overwhelming amount of evidence confirming that physical exercise is the key for disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity.

One of the primary benefits of exercise is that it normalizes your insulin and leptin levels, with the secondary benefits of weight loss and normalization of blood sugars. Even if you start exercising late in life, it will still afford you tremendous benefits.

One Finnish study even found that exercise decreases the risk of death from all causes, and men who were physically unfit were almost three times more likely to die from any cause, even after accounting for other factors like age, smoking and alcohol use. So that's a pretty powerful incentive, if I've ever heard one.

Now, at 56 I am the fittest I have ever been in my life, and I credit that in large part to my Peak Fitness exercise program. I certainly could run faster when I was younger (2:50 marathon and 18:10 5K) but I would never trade that to have the muscle strength, flexibility and proprioceptive balance that this comprehensive program provides.

You will also want to take note of the second portion of Mr. Breuning's advice, which is to keep your brain active, too. Humans continue to make new neurons throughout life in response to mental activity, which is why one of the simplest methods to boost your brain function is to keep on learning.

The size and structure of neurons and the connections between them actually change as you learn. This can take on many forms above and beyond book learning to include activities like traveling, learning to play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language, or participating in social and community activities.

The more you stay active, in mind and body, the longer your life is likely to be.

Always Remember the Importance of a Positive Outlook 

Money can't buy the benefits that a sunny outlook can shower onto your life, and as Mr. Breuning stated, it's up to you to keep looking on the bright side.

Numerous studies show that optimists typically live longer than pessimists. This may be due to lower rates of depression, the tendency to take better care of themselves, lower stress rates, or a stronger zest for life that leads to stronger social relationships and continued learning. Most likely, it's a combination of all of the above.

One factor is for certain, though, and that is people with a positive outlook tend to deal with stress better than pessimists. Long-term exposure to stress hormones eventually takes its toll on your biological processes and internal organs. This in turn activates your immune system, including the release of chemicals that trigger inflammation.

So, if you're under chronic stress, your immune system is on constant high alert, which can lead to chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and atherosclerosis, just to name a few.

Since your body's inflammatory response can create so much systemic damage, controlling your responses to your stress is an important key if you want to live a long life.

Prayer, meditation, yoga, or even just taking a walk can help, but one particularly helpful strategy is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Whereas conventional stress-management protocols like relaxation exercises and deep breathing can help you cope with stress, they do not address the cause of your stress. EFT does, and can therefore have a deeper, positive impact on your emotional, mental and physical health.

Staying positive is not always easy, but you always have the power to decide to be happy, right now, exactly as your life is at this moment.

Enhance Your Longevity, Starting Today

There is no quick fix when it comes to life extension -- no pill and no magic fountain. While there are certainly some exceptions -- some centenarians do little in the way of healthy eating or exercise -- for most of us, living a healthy life well into our 100's will take some dedication to making healthful lifestyle changes.

The sooner you decide to take control of your health, the better, as eating poorly, not exercising, drinking too much and smoking does not just age you a little bit -- it ages you by more than a decade.

So I urge you to start taking steps today -- even small ones -- to make your lifestyle a little bit healthier and happier.

By adhering to the basic tenets of optimal health I outlined above, as well as the following below, you are building a healthy mind and body, and thereby safeguarding yourself against a multitude of health problems and serious diseases that could knock years off your lifespan.

And remember, it's never too late to start optimizing your health and longevity, so I encourage you to get started today, no matter what your age …

  1. Address your emotional traumas and manage your stress
  2. Get optimal exposure to sunlight or a safe tanning bed, or take oral vitamin D this is not possible
  3. Drink plenty of clean water
  4. Limit your exposure to toxins
  5. Consume healthy fat
  6. Eat a healthy diet that’s right for your nutritional type (paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down)
  7. Eat plenty of raw food
  8. Optimize your insulin and leptin levels
  9. Exercise
  10. Get plenty of high-quality sleep

+ Sources and References