Interesting question and would likely generate a wide range of answers depending upon where in the life cycle you are. But an even more important question would be, what would you be willing to DO for 2.2 more years of life?
This answer requires action and not wealth. Quitting smoking (or never starting). Exercising. Eating a diet without processed foods. Cutting back on stress. All changes that you can (and should) make that have a solid foundation of research for increasing longevity.
But many times it is not merely about quantity of life. Quality becomes a much more important factor when it comes to life. Who wants to live to 90 but spend 5 years infirm in a bed on oxygen, your life little more than existing?
No one would opt for this end to his or her life, although I could argue that lifestyle is a conscious choice done during life that will lead to this end of life, essentially meaning that you DID choose this course. But what if the choice was much easier than actually exercising?
Before we get into the longevity-inducing intervention highlighted here, I need to make something clear.
Pharmaceutical interventions are typically one-cause / one cure approaches. That means that we use a statin to lower your risk of having a heart attack and hope for the best (which, as you are all aware of by now, this “best” is a 1% lower risk of having a heart attack with statin use). And you can’t pile up 20 drugs to give you a 20% lower risk of having a heart attack. Drugs just aren’t cumulative like that.
Lifestyle, on the other hand, IS cumulative. Exercise CAN work with eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables to dramatically lower your risk of a heart attack or death. This is where the power of lifestyle comes in.
So, with this in mind, this particular study looked at how much of a difference healthy fats in the blood made on longevity in this large group of study participants.
To raise your blood levels of the healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, you can eat raw nuts, wild caught fish, use olive oil and more seeds. Supplementation with fish oils is a good idea to augment what you get from your diet.
Here’s what the researchers found:
- Higher omega 3-PUFA led to a 27% lower risk of death from all causes.
- Specifically, EPA was 17% lower, 20% lower for DHA.
- The greatest protection was on heart deaths.
- Overall, those with the highest levels lived an average of 2.22 more years after age 65 years.
Given that good quality fish oils in our office run about $15 / month, 2.2 years would cost you $390. Pretty economical, if you ask me…
So, would you pay $390 for 2.2 more years of life?