In this health video learn about the secrets to longevity from the experts themselves, centenarians
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Jennifer Matthews: Frank Di Paolo junior is 100 years old. Frank Di Paolo: I am, honestly, 100 and a half years old. Jennifer Matthews: And he doesn't miss a beat. He drives to work every day, working in the office of a state senator. Frank Di Paolo: I met governors. I met senators. I met presidents and their wives. So honestly, I was happy. I was very happy. Jennifer Matthews: Happy and healthy at 100 and a half. Frank Di Paolo: I honestly believe that if you get enough rest, you exercise some, you eat well, you're going to live. Jennifer Matthews: One secret he believes to living a long life, red wine. Frank Di Paolo: I think this has a lot to do with getting old. Jennifer Matthews: In fact, red wine contains polyphenols, chemicals that some research has shown can ward-off heart disease. Jennifer Matthews: Thomas Perls has studied centenarians for more than decade. Jennifer Matthews: Want to know how long you'll live? Take a look at your relatives. Dr. Perls believes 30 percent of how well age is in our genes. Thomas Perls: Our studies show that exceptional longevity, that is living to 100 or older, runs very strongly in families. Jennifer Matthews: Centenarians also tend to have certain personality traits. Thomas Perls: Many of them had very, very stressful lives, but what seems to be the key to them is they seem to manage it so very well, they don't hold on to something, they don't dwell on it. Jennifer Matthews: They are rarely depressed. Genetic variations also slow down the aging process. In fact, 20 percent of centenarians, like Ellen, had children after the age of 40, their fertility a marker for the rest of their body. Diet also plays a powerful role in aging. Many doctors believe a rainbow diet will add years to your life. Red pigment in lycopene, found in tomatoes and watermelon, is a powerful antioxidant. Green foods, like spinach, contain folates, which build healthy cells. Brown foods, such as whole grains, have fiber and carry carcinogens out of your digestive system. Don't forget some white foods, garlic and onions support the immune system. Thomas Perls: Who would ever want to live to be 100? Jennifer Matthews: We want to live longer, but quality of life is just as important. Most of us reach our physical peak between the ages of 20 and 30 and begin a steady decline after that. By 70, we have lost 40 percent of our maximum breathing capacity. Muscle and bone mass have declined, and sight and hearing have gotten worse. But for people who live to 100 Thomas Perls: The older you get, the healthier you've been. Jennifer Matthews: Studies show centenarians have 60 percent lower rates of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Thomas Perls: One of the reasons centenarians are rare, not a rare one single factor, but rather, its the combination of factors that makes them rare. Its a bit like winning the lottery. If you have one or two numbers, its pretty easy, but getting seven numbers, that makes you rare. Jennifer Matthews: That combination of luck, lifestyle and genes can add up to a very long life. And a positive attitude doesn't hurt either. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.