Saturday, February 17, 2007


The key to a longer, healthier life just might be a single nutrient-packed berry.
A life expectancy of more than 100 years is not uncommon in some remote areas of the world. Even more interesting is the fact that these centenarians live long lives that are filled with health and vitality. Most of these people do not experience high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, and the crippling pain of arthritis and degenerative diseases that we do here. Even as they age, their vision is sharp, they have energy and strength, and their minds are clear.
There is a region on the West Elbow Plateau of the Yellow River in Inner Mongolia where people have lived to be more than 120 years old. And the people of West Elbow are not the only ones to enjoy an extremely long life. In a remote region of southwestern China, in the tiny hamlet of Pinghan, which is located deep within a stand of limestone hills, the people there also experience extremely long lives. There are more than 74 centenarians and 237 residents who have reached their 90s in Pinghan and the surrounding area. That's one of the highest concentrations of elderly people per capita in the world, according to Chen Jinchao, a surgeon who has run the Guangxi Bama Long Life Research Institute for the past 10 years.
Living longer and healthier lives is not exclusive to these two small tribal villages. A small handful of cultures where people live well into their 90s and beyond exist and are scattered across the mountains of Asia. Although the inhabitants of these areas where longevity exists and thrives might not know of the existence of the others, they all have some very important things in common: They live in isolated and sometimes inaccessible places. This isolation keeps them away from the more harmful influences of modern Western civilization. They don't know what it means to eat processed or fast foods. Their diet consists mainly of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains; and it is low in animal fats. Most importantly, many of these people that live long and healthy lives consume regular daily helpings of a tiny red fruit that just happens to be the world's most powerful anti-aging food, the goji berry.

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