Leaving the English Way: Why People Live Long in Great Britain?
Great Britain, as it is known, is an island, and in some sense, its second name can be the Island of Well-Being. It has a high index of personal safety, well-being, income and longevity.
The average life expectancy in Great Britain is 81 years: 83 years for women and 79 years for men. At the same time, the number of centenarians is continuously increasing. In the year 2019, this number reached the record of 14.57 thousand persons according to the research Life Expectancy in the UK“. And event the oldest person on the planet had also been living on the territory of the United Kingdom: Robert Weighton has died in May of this year in the age of 112 years.
Unfortunately, so far, no one, including Britons, could guess the secret of longevity. But we will at least try to make an educated guess why the UK residents live longer than others.
Version One: From the Scientists
As it is known, what we eat and how we move determines how we feel and how long we can live. And the older we are, the stronger is the dependency. And although the Mediterranean diet is considered as the best for health and longevity, the traditional British diet also has something to be proud of.
The traditional eggs with bacon or boiled eggs offered for breakfast in many British houses (at least, as described in classic and popular fiction) are delicious and satiating and very good for health. As it was shown in the results of the research “Associations of egg consumption with cardiovascular disease in a cohort study of 0.5 million adults” published in the Heart magazine, just one egg per day decreases the risk of stroke by 26% and risk of heart disorders by 11%. The authors of the research assume that this effect is achieved by the egg’s ability to increase the level of good HDL cholesterol, which protects the heart and flushes “bad” cholesterol from the body. Besides, eggs are rich in protein, which helps to decrease the level of sugar and maintain healthy body mass, reducing the risks of stroke.
Please bear in mind that these diseases are in the top five of the most widespread chronic illnesses found in people aged over 65 years and significantly increase the risk of premature death. So, if you want to live long, eat eggs.
Another traditional dish without which it is impossible to imagine Britain. Even if you don’t like (or even hate) it, think about it this way: whole grain oatmeal is one of the most effective and simple ways to regulate the level of blood sugar, as supported by the research “The Metabolic Effects of Oats Intake in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”. Oats are digested slowly, controlling the speed of glucose entering the bloodstream, preventing insulin peaks, and maintaining a healthy glucose level in the blood. And since diabetes, which will most likely become one of our century’s most widespread diseases, also significantly influences the longevity, there is no surprise why Britons live longer.
Of course, speaking of Great Britain, especially England, one cannot miss the most popular English beverage, which is a cup of tea. Although the tea is rich in caffeine, it positively affects the state of the heart and blood vessels. Meanwhile, green tea even helps to control the arterial blood pressure, according to authors of the research “Effect of green tea consumption on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials”. But the tea’s most valuable asset is antioxidants, which are plentiful in tea leaves. Flavonoids, which are found in tea in significant quantities, can help to protect cells from free radicals and even neutralize or decrease the damage made by them and thereby increasing the lifespan of the cells as demonstrated by the research “Bioavailability and antioxidant activity of tea flavanols after consumption of green tea”
The research by Harvard University experts made in 2018, “Don’t retire – and have plenty of sex! New study reveals the scientifically proven ways to live TEN YEARS longer“ has confirmed that people who stayed sexually active after 60 years have turned for medical help less often, had fewer issues with blood vessels and heart, fewer issues with extra weight, and were coping with seasonal illnesses such as flu more easily.
Love for Walks
An Englishman can be rarely seen at home: Britons love sports and long walks. We all remember classic fiction heroes, who were walking miles and miles in forests, hills, and barren land in any weather (and in any, even the most inconvenient dress). And they were right! The abovementioned Harvard’s research has proven that two long walks per week result in a minimum of 10 years of life. And maybe even more!
Version Two: Personal Stories
No one can tell about the secrets of longevity better than those who have celebrated their hundredth anniversary. As mentioned, there are plenty of such people in the United Kingdom, and they are eagerly sharing their secrets.
Less Bad Habits and Proper Diet
Her Majesty Elizabeth II hasn’t yet celebrated her hundredth birthday but is already a way over the average expectancy. What is her secret for longevity? We can assume that, in the first place, it is the absence of bad habits despite the popularity of and even the fashion for smoking in the years of her youth while the Queen had never smoked herself. Apparently, Her Majesty is indifferent to alcohol. Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s former press secretary, has told in an interview to the BBC that Elizabeth drinks no more than one glass of wine per month.
Obviously, the second secret lies in having a proper diet and being tough to herself. The former personal chef of the Queen, Darren McGrady, has revealed that when she doesn’t accommodate guests, she prefers very simple dishes, for example, grilled chicken with salad. “She is very tough on herself. The rule is – no starch, no potatoes, rice or pasta for dinner,” McGrady said.
Fewer Words, More Actions
This is the rule lived by Madeline Dye, who has celebrated her 108th birthday this year. The woman was never married and tried to do something every spare minute. All her life, Madeline was working, binding books, and always walked to work. Even on the weekends, the woman didn’t rest but was gardening or knitting. In an interview “Woman, 106, says key to long life is being single and not going to pub for 90 years“, her niece has told that every time someone was asking about recreations, Madeline Dye was answering “I don’t have them, and that is why I am this age.” In her 90s, Madeline has gone into a pub for the first time just out of curiosity. And went out convinced that she didn’t lose anything in life. “There are more exciting things than a pint of beer.”
Dorothy Flowers from Northern Yorkshire, who has celebrated her 108th birthday, states that she could live her age just because she has never refused a glass of champagne. Besides, the scientists agree with her: as the recent study results demonstrated, one-two glasses of sparkling wine per day help women manage stress better and live longer as a result. In a word, the story about alcohol and entertainment is so far very confusing.
More Sausage Rolls
Meanwhile, Mary Emerson from Sussex claims that she has lived to 100 years only because she was regularly eating her favorite dish — sausage rolls. She said that most of her life she treated her guests with freshly-baked sausage rolls. “I still love cooking them, however now I need assistance,” the centenarian said. “It is this treat and positive mindset which have helped me to live into old age.”
And Never Give Up
Bob Weighton, the oldest citizen of Great Britain, who has died in May of this year at the age of 112 years, had explained his longevity simply by a habit to struggle and never give up. “I have lived through the same fears as everyone. Lived through cold, flu, malaria, two or three operations,” Weighton admitted. “I was expected to leave this world long ago, but I am a fighter,” he said in an interview with Sky News. And honestly, we consider this advice of never giving up as the most effective.
So What Is The Secret?
We can hardly imagine that Britons or residents of some other countries know the magic secret of longevity but just don’t want to share it. In fact, life expectancy depends on our luck (genetics, circumstances where we live, political and economic situations in our countries, and the world) and on our efforts. And we think that it’s a bad idea to miss a chance to live longer — even if all it takes is just to eat sausage rolls more often.
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