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Secrets for living from the countries where people live the longest


Bernd Thaller | CC

Zelda Caldwell - published on 08/11/17

Will eating kimchi really help you live until you are 90?

While the average life expectancy worldwide is 71.5 years (68 years for men!), there are some countries whose citizens are still alive and kicking while their age cohort in other countries has long since shuffled off this mortal coil.

To learn the secrets of their longevity the BBC talked to people from the five countries where people live the longest. Here’s how they say they manage to stay around so long:

Japan: Life expectancy of 83 years

• The local diet “which includes plentiful tofu and sweet potato, and a small amount of fish”

• Elderly residents belong to active social circles, which gives them a sense of belonging and lower stress

Spain: Life expectancy of 82.8 years

• The Mediterranean diet, high in olive oil, fruits and vegetables, with with very little red meat

• The siesta, a 2- to 3-hour break for lunch in the middle of the day

• More exercise — people tend to walk rather than drive

Singapore: Life expectancy of 83.1 years

• State-of-the art medical facilities and focus on preventative care

• Plentiful public parks encourage exercise

• Cigarettes and alcohol are heavily taxed

Switzerland: Life expectancy of 83.2

• High quality healthcare

• Easy to spend time outdoors with the Alps nearby

South Korea: Life expectancy of 82 years*

• Strong economy

• Broad access to healthcare

• Diet rich in fermented, high-fiber and nutrient-dense foods

• Cultural focus on community reduces stress

* Recent research estimates that the life expectancy for women will hit 90 by 2030

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