Three Populations That Exceed All Others In Extended Longevity

Mon, Sep 13, 2010

Much has been written about the travels of Dan Buettner, National Geographic writer, and his Blue Zones best seller, however much less is known today about the work completed by Dr. Alexander Leaf for National Geographic magazine early on in the 1970’s. When Buettner was learning to ride his tricycle, Dr Leaf was being sought after to further report and follow up on his studies regarding lifestyles and diets of the oldest living cultures on the planet. His expedition took him to three of the most isolated areas of the globe that had a reputation for turning out people of great longevity.

• The Vilcabamba high in the Ecuadorian Andes mountains
• The Hunza people located in high mountain ranges of Pakistan
• The Abkhazian people who reside in the Caucasus region in central Russia

While he journeyed Dr. Leaf spent much time living with and evaluating these societies with intense curiosity. He observed what they subsisted on for food; he measured their health and fitness with clinical equipment and discussed many issues with them including their ancestry and history, their thoughts, obsessions and trepidations. He bore witness to their nearness to nature and the way it provided their passion and vitality along with strength.

The Abkhazian society from the Russian Caucasus was greatly admired for the number of fit individuals who were living beyond the age of one hundred. Life magazine had earlier published the story of the prolonged life of Shirali Muslimov at one hundred sixty one years of age. As interesting as the article was, Dr Leaf had no intention of spending his time studying myth or legend; he was only interested in facts.

After some exhaustive examination, he finally concluded that one of his participants was without a doubt, close to one hundred thirty years of age. Based on his annotations and study, this person appeared to be the oldest he had ever witnessed.

Each of the elderly individuals he examined all appeared to be in robust health, all their systems set to go and functioning flawlessly. Their blood pressure seemed to be fine and even youthful. Their clear minds stood out and they exhibited a passion for life and wonderful sense of humor; joking incessantly with one another.

Leaf proceeded to the Andes Mountains in Ecuador to the renowned “Valley of External Youth” located in Vilcabamba. It is situated about forty five hundred feet in the mountains and the area averages around sixty eight degrees Fahrenheit. It is basically a nirvana of deep green plant life with a sub tropical type of weather enabling the growth of a vast diversity of grains, vegetables and fruits to be grown.

Morton Walker who also examined the people living here said “these people have no heart disease, no cancer, no diabetes, no strokes, no cirrhosis, no senility, and no arteriosclerosis…all commonly responsible for illness, disability and death among industrialized people.” Additionally, Dr. Leaf evaluated a woman, said to be one hundred three years old, who was able to thread the eye of a needle not using any eyeglasses. There were some seniors who seemed to just go about their day to day business content and physically active experiencing no physiological conditions whatsoever.

The Hunza culture are noted for their extended life spans  and healthy lifestyles as they live in the area of Pakistan with some mountain vistas surpassing the nineteen thousand foot level, in the Hunza valley region. Situated between these mountains, the valley is extremely fertile and prosperous. Leaf noticed that the elderly Hunza were quite strong and full of energy, trudging up and down the valley hills with almost no exertion.

Another physician, British doctor Robert McCarrison, studied the Hunza people as well and noted, “The people of the Hunza…are long lived, vigorous in youth and age, capable of great endurance, and enjoy a remarkable freedom from disease in general…Far removed from the refinements of a civilized world, they have magnificent physiques, preserving their character of youth until much later in life, they are unusually fertile as a people with great longevity, and endowed with a nervous system of noteworthy stability…Cancer is unknown”.

Any of these three societies would be existing verification of the possibilities open to all human beings that they are capable of living much beyond their existing preconditioned life expectancy. It is not just possible to extend one’s life, but most extraordinarily, we can live optimistic, physically active lives free of medications well beyond the century mark. How is that for a new angle on the progression of aging – “People do not grow old. It is when they stop growing that they advance in age.”

Source: http://www.immortalhumans.com/
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