5 Lessons About Longevity We Can Learn From Queen Elizabeth

Happy 90th!

21/04/2016 9:06 PM AEST | Updated 21/04/2016 9:06 PM AEST

Happy birthday, Your Majesty! Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday today and shows no sign of slowing down. She's officially the longest-reigning British monarch -- a title she said she never aspired to -- and still carries out hundreds of official engagements every year. She's also now a great-grandma, or "Gan-Gan," as Prince George calls her. 

We decided to take a look at the royal's lifestyle to see what we can learn about living so long and so well.

1. Genetics. 

Queen Elizabeth's mother, the Queen Mother, lived to be 101. While she's still a decade away from becoming a centenarian, there's a good chance she will make it. When Queen Elizabeth was born, the life expectancy for girls was just over 70 years -- something she's far outlived. 

Lifestyle choices definitely make a difference -- such as avoiding harmful habits like smoking, for instance -- but numerous studies have shown that genetics play a role, too. Some research has also suggested that centenarians seem to stave off major disabilities and disease until they're into their 90s. 

2. Staying mentally sharp. 

Despite what some people may think, the Queen has many duties. Indeed the Queen has a full schedule, including state visits, entertaining heads of state when they visit the UK, charity work and attending various ceremonies. She has do be up-to-date on politics and current affairs and starts each morning by tuning in to the radio, looking through the morning newspapers and reportedly, doing the daily crossword puzzle. Puzzles have been known to help ward off brain aging. 

3. A healthy diet.  

With gourmet food and chefs at her beck and call, you might imagine the Queen enjoying an abundance of rich foods. Quite the contrary. Her Majesty enjoys quite a simple diet according to most reports. She starts most days with a light breakfast of Cornflakes cereal with some dried fruits or nuts. Lunch and dinner are kept light, perhaps a chicken salad or some fish with vegetables, when she's on her own. A former royal chef told People that she eats extra healthy when she's dining informally, because she can then indulge when she's attending a state dinner or entertaining visitors. She also avoids starchy foods like pasta and potatoes at dinner time. 

As for produce, the royals grow much of their own on the palace grounds, but the Queen always sticks to whatever is in season. 

4. Lots of walking. 

At 90, the Queen is famously active and known for her stamina. She's seen on foot regularly, doing walkabouts, mingling with guests at her summer garden parties and such. But even on her personal time, it seems she's never sitting down for too long during the day. She takes her beloved corgis on walks as often as she can, and is a lifelong equestrian and horse enthusiast. Indeed, the Queen is still spotted from time to time, riding her horses on castle grounds. 

Simple exercise such as walking or horseback riding doesn't just help with weight management, it also helps prevent a number of chronic diseases including high blood pressure and diabetes. 

5. Drinking tea. 

Of course, the British monarch loves a good cuppa as much as the next Briton. She's known to start her morning with a cup of English Breakfast tea -- how quintessentially British -- with milk, but no sugar. And of course, there's afternoon tea, too. 

Tea is full of antioxidants, which help protect our cells from damage. There's also some evidence that suggests that drinking tea can help protect you against high cholesterol, diabetes and osteoporosis. 

Many happy returns of the day, Your Majesty!

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