These 5 Habits Can Add 14 Healthy Years to Your Life.

NEWS: 5 Habits Can Add 14 Healthy Years to Your Life, According to Science

Science confirms what we know from our research and study of centenarians in “Blue Zones” regions.

The longest-lived people in the world share nine commonalities: they move naturally in their daily lives; eat a plant-slant diet, go to happy hour and drink Wine at 5; they wake up in the morning with purpose; find ways to down shift and shed stress; eat to 80 percent full; belong to faith-based communities; always put family first; and have close friends with similar values – we call these the Power 9.

According to new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, five very similar lifestyle habits have been shown to increase life expectancy at age 50 by 12 to 14 years. The study is the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of adopting low-risk lifestyle factors on life expectancy in the U.S.

Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at the following to determine how they affect longevity:

Not smoking
Eating a healthy diet
Regularly exercising
Keeping a healthy body weight
Moderate alcohol consumption

Along with lifestyle and medical data from adults in the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), as well as mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers determined that in the more than 30 years of follow-up, following all five lifestyle habits improved projected life expectancy at age 50 by 14.0 years for women and 12.2 years for men.

“This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity in the U.S. population,” said Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “However, adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low. Therefore, public policies should put more emphasis on creating healthy food, built, and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles.”

The Young Doctors Discovery Summit

There is a high prevalence of  burnout and depression in young doctors in training. This leads to unintended consequences: failure, errors, drop out from studies or practice. Massive costs to taxpayers.

Discovery Health is rolling out a program to try reverse this tide.

On Sunday 15th April I presented my model of Building Resilience.

The main thread running through my 2 hour presentation was the evidence-based FLIP365 Prescription, The Seven Adventures in Wellness.

Afterwards, the SADAG Panel facilitated a discussion on practical ways for Young Doctors to recognize depression in themselves and colleagues. I enjoyed this contribution, finishing off the discussion with one of favorite aphorisms, from Mahatma Ghandi – BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT.

What is cool is that all fifty participants from around the country received a hard copy of my book, sponsored by Discovery. Nice validation of its contents.

Also, a twitter chat of some of my comments.

My twitter handle is @JonathanMoch1

Also on Facebook and linkedIn

FLIP365 Blog. The Marshmallow Test

The Marshmallow Test (TMT)  is the most cited psychological experiment of all time.

Walter Mischel, a career research psychologist, has one abiding professional interest: the underlying brain mechasmisms informing self-control (aka willpower).

His insights are worth noting, as he has spent his adult life teasing out the multidimentiosional approaches to understanding (arguably) the central pivot for living a sustained successful life: delaying immediate gratification.

Over the last few days I have reread his book The Marshmallow Test (Understanding self-control and how to master it). Published in 2014, the chapters span from his earliest experiments in Trinidad in the 1950s, the the Bing Crèche at Stanford University in the 1960s, through to the decades following up and measuring many of the 550 famous four year olds when they were forty or fifty years old.

The Marshmallow Test is a simple experiment. Four year olds were presented with a clear option.

If they could wait twenty minutes they were rewarded with two Marshmallows, or a similar food treat. If they did not want to wait, the child could eat the one marshamallow, anytime within the twenty minute period.

All they then had to do was ring the bell, and the supervisor would enter the room, and the child could eat. That was the simple contract.

Picture this: On the table in one corner was one marshamallow; in the other corner was two marshmallows; and in-between the bell. They had to sit on the chairs.

Only one third of 550 children could wait the twenty minutes.

The real influence of the TMT was the longer terms effects (of waiting, or not waiting) when tested at 14 years old and 24 years old. Those who waited were much better off in relationships, educational test scores, and behavior traits such as low impulsivity and disciplinary issues.

The TMT is an important insight into delaying graitification for a future reward. Mischel describes two systems: the cool system and the hot system. The cool system is rational, effortful, longer term, conscious (similar to the slow thinking system of Daniel Kahneman).

The hot system is emotional, immediate, irrational, effortless (fast thinking system of Kahneman).

Brake versus accelerator. Epic inner wars.

In the four year olds, the battle is between the cool (100% return on waiting) and the hot (immediate digestion of a yummy food). Those that waited can control the hot by activating the cool by dialling down the heat (emotions, cravings, wants).

And so this psychological mechanism is activated throughout life when there is conflict between immediate gratification or short to long term reward (sex, food, academics, work reports, parenting …)

There are, conversely, so many life long manifestations of this malfunction: depression, addiction, attention deficit, relationship breakdown, poor academic performance, work and career frustration.

A critical executive function (in the prefrontal cortex) is the ability to imagine beyond the present. This is a cool response, to try work out the consequences of immediate decisions. The limbic system, a collection of (evolutionary) older and deeper emotional brain structures, including the amygdala, ismcaught up in the current hot moment.

Inter alia, the importance of well worked out goals, that slip easily into conscious awareness when faced with a hot emotional scenario, is a hard won technique to put out the fire of vapid emotions.

Recommend you get a copy of the The Marshmallow Test, and read slowly through the fascinating story of how waiting twenty minutes – at age four years – for an extra marshamalow can predict success in adult life. The hopeful news is that neuroplasticity can be invoked to improve self-control throughout life.

Daily Blog. Publication of my book. The Seven Adventures in Wellness.

Today I start writing a blog for the FLIP365 website and mobile app. For yesterday I completed my book, The Seven Adventures in Wellness.

Although it needs tweaking around typos, and remains a work in progress, it is now available for the public.

The thread that runs through the book is the FLIP365 Resilience Prescription. Seven areas of your lifestyle that can improve your brain health, physical health, relationships, boost energy and live really well.

Tiny daily changes in each wellness behavior all adds up and after a few weeks you will notice changes. It is a prescription for the rest of your life. Imagine yourself as a continual work in progress! Lightens the load, paradoxically.

Want a copy?

Alan and Enhle at Postnet, Long Avenue, Glenhazel, will print the book on demand. Payment is at the counter. (R300 a copy).

This is a cool idea as any changes in the content, and there will certainly will be, are updated in the next PDF I send to them. So no holding stock. If anyone wants to purchase a book from afar, it can be couriered anywhere in South Africa as there are over 350 PostNet’s countrywide. On arrival at the local Postnet an SMS is sent immediately to the purchaser.

(Also can email them

Already one client has ordered fifty copies for a nationwide workshop, where I am honored to present, in a two hour keynote slot, the principles and practices of building resilience.

I am excited about the completion of the (work) book – The Seven Adventures in Wellness – as it synergizes well with the mobile app FLIP365 and website Daily posts are delivered into one of the seven adventures Eg a post on depression and diet in the Eat Real Food category.

So there is ongoing updating of interesting ideas to build your knowledge in each of the specific adventures. Already there are 302 posts since commencing the app in July 2017.

I am reluctant to publish an ebook, as I want to encourage breaks from screen time as well as allowing the reader to make notes in the margins, and to take ownership of the material. Another vital reason for a non-digital publication, is it can be an adjunct at any of my “live” presentations.

My next goal is to develop a FLIP365 M.O.O.C. (Massive Online Open Course), often linked to a university. It is a modular model, a mix of videos, writings, quizzes, … and can reach a worldwide audience. It is an audacious project! Every participant can use my book as a reference, as I will be teaching content from the Seven Adventures in Wellness.

Afterwards, with a bit of luck, I would love to do a presentation. I often insert their videos into the FLIP365 app. Beautifully produced, and limits time length to under 18 minutes.

So it is with my book. Limited to 120 pages and 24,000 words. It is purposefully designed as a A 4 landscape print, with a ring coil bind. So you can easily flip from page to page.

The Seven Adventures in Wellness, in a way, reflects my wonderful journey of over forty years of the brain terrain!


Dr Jonathan D Moch