The Atlantic magazine recently published an article detailing the reasons why Seventh-day Adventists live longer than most people. Featuring Loma Linda, California, the article pointed out that a vegetarian lifestyle, and in particular a vegan vegetarian lifestyle along with other healthy practices add to the life span significantly. Loma Linda is one of the “blue zones” where a high percentage of the people live to be 100 years of age.
Loma Linda has a large grocery store that doesn’t sell any meat. Even a generation ago, meat was hard to find in Loma Linda. Smoking was also banned, alcohol was scarcely available and fast food restaurants were few and far between.
Adventists advocate a healthy lifestyle as one of the tenets of the faith, and many of them take their health seriously. They follow the Bible instruction, which says we are to treat our bodies as the temple of God. Today many Adventists are vegetarians, physically active, and involved in service to others. This unique lifestyle adds to longevity. Smoking and drinking are discouraged, and so is consumption of caffeine, rich foods, and certain spices.
Another distinguishing factor is that Adventists keep the Bible Sabbath instead of Sunday. Studies show that religious commitment increases mental outlook and even longevity.
Adventists have been the subject of numerous health studies since 1958 and the findings are remarkable. Adventist women in Loma Linda for instance, live 5 years longer than the average. Adventist men in Loma Linda live 7 years longer. Death rates from cancer for Adventist men are 60 percent lower than the average, and 75 percent lower for Adventist women. Death from coronary heart disease among men is 66 percent lower and for women it is 98 percent lower. Death from strokes is 72 percent lower for men, and 82 percent lower for women.
Research has also shown that attending religious services regularly is also associated with longevity and happiness. But eating a Mediterranean diet is also very strongly associated with longer life and greater sense of well-being. A new study reveals that eating a Mediterranean diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and olive oil, and avoiding high fat foods, meat and dairy, tend to increase the feeling of happiness. Social psychologists say that voluntary choices account for 40 percent of the make up of happiness. It also lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
People who live like Adventists tend to be able to control their weight and cholesterol better, lower their risk of heart disease and cancer, and lower their risk of diabetes and Alzheimer’s. They also tend to be more alert, less depressive and live longer.
“If we are believers in Jesus Christ, we shall seek to become intelligent as to how to keep the brain clear and active, that not a tittle of our influence shall be lost. We should seek to become laborers together with God by keeping the system in such a condition that it can render perfect service. It is poor policy indeed, to ill-treat the digestive organs, upon which the happiness of the whole being so largely depends. When the stomach is disturbed, the mind is disturbed, and the brain nerve power is weakened. It therefore becomes a religious duty with every soul to learn the science of healthful living, to keep the question of diet in mind, and to treat the matter conscientiously.” This Day with God, page 206