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You might not guess that one of the highest life expectancy places on the globe is a small, smoggy city in Southern California. But the residents of Loma Linda, CA frequently reach age 100 and beyond. Their longevity is largely due to their religion; Loma Linda is home to many Seventh-day Adventists whose religious beliefs enforce a healthy lifestyle.
1. Avoiding Vices
Adventists don’t smoke. They don’t drink. And they don’t eat biblically unclean foods like pork. In addition, the Adventist Church strongly discourages drinking caffeine or eating meat and other “rich foods.”
2. Healthy Diet
So what’s left to eat? According to early Adventist writer Ellen White, “Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator.” Studies by the National Institutes of Health have shown that such a diet decreases the risk of both heart disease and cancer.
3. Taking a Sabbath
Like other Christians and Jews, Adventists take a Sabbath-- a day for rest and worship. Unlike most Christians, theirs is observed on Saturday, the original Sabbath day. But the important thing isn’t which day they rest on, it’s that they take a day to rest, relieving the harmful stress that so often builds up in our lives.
As with the Okinawans and Sardinians, community gives the Adventists of Loma Linda support and purpose. But it also serves another purpose. By hanging out with others in their community, their healthy lifestyle is reinforced, and they avoid the temptation to indulge in the unhealthy vices and diets that permeate the cities around them.
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