By Dr. John D. Day and Jane Ann Day. Centenarians in a remote village become role models for how to thrive and embrace life.
American cardiologist Dr. John Day was 44, overweight, and battling insomnia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and degenerative joint disease when he and his wife first visited Bapan. The remote village in Bama County, China, is billed as “Longevity Village” because its residents typically live past 100.
The doctor wanted to learn their secrets. Why were the centenarians so healthy? How was it possible that there were no cases of heart disease, diabetes, obesity? Why were they were not on any medications or never had surgeries?
In 2012, during the first of several trips to Bapan, the doctor was stunned by the agility, stamina, amazing healthy lifestyles, and upbeat attitude of seven centenarians he met in the village: Boxin, 114; Maku, 108; Makang, 104; Maxue, 103; and Masongmou, Magan, and Mawen, each 107.
He was flabbergasted to see the 114-year-old in action. “He moves like our 9-year-old!” he wrote, comparing his son to Boxin. The doctor also noticed the centenarians and other villagers in their 80s and 90s displayed optimism about aging; they didn’t see it as a prison sentence. It was a stark contrast to his medical training and the patients he treated back home in the United States.
In doing genetic studies on the Bapan residents, he was stunned to discover they had the same predictors for heart disease and obesity as other cultures, yet the villagers did not have health problems. “They have the same genes we have in the West but their healthy lifestyle has turned off those harmful genes,” he wrote.
What made the villagers different from average Americans is that they did not have access to processed or junk foods; their diets were rich in garden vegetables, wild fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and fish. They also were in constant movement around their homes with daily chores and doing the things they enjoyed.
Dr. Day began applying the lessons he learned from the centenarians to his own life. In six months, he lost 35 pounds, his total cholesterol dropped from 211 to 118, and his blood pressure was 25 points lower. He no longer had acid reflux or insomnia.
Luckily for readers, we are treated to the incredible life stories of the remarkable Bapan centenarians and learn the following seven principles have been the “secrets” to their amazing health:
- Eat good food.
- Master your mind-set.
- Build your place in a positive community.
- Be in motion.
- Find your rhythm.
- Make the most of your environment.
- Proceed with purpose.
“The Longevity Plan” is an inspiring read that can be life-changing on how to thrive physically and emotionally, and to embrace each day as a blessing.