RELIGION

What Seventh-Day Adventists Get Right That Lengthens Their Life Expectancy

Jul 31, 2014 | Updated Jul 31, 2014

Statistics have shown that religion makes people happier, but it turns out it can help you live longer, too.

In an attempt to "reverse engineer longevity," Dan Buettner has spent years researching the parts of the world where people live much longer than average. Most of those locations are outside the United States -- including Sardinia, Italy, and Okinawa, Japan -- but there is one long-living group stateside. It's the Seventh-day Adventists, who live an average of 10 years longer than the American life expectancy of about 79 years.

Buettner, whose work is part of the Blue Zones Project, joined HuffPost Live's Caitlyn Becker on Wednesday to explain what Seventh-day Adventists do right. That includes eating a plant-based diet and having "a social network that reinforces the right behavior." Their religious beliefs are also a big help, he said.

"They take this idea of Sabbath very seriously, so they're decompressing the stress," Buettner said. "About 84 percent of health care dollars are spent because of bad food choices, inactivity and unmanaged stress, and they have these cultural ways of managing stress through their Sabbath."

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