Recently I went to see an iridologist where she discovered just by looking into my eyes that I had a very strong constitution and a predisposition in my DNA to live a very long life and it got me thinking about the idea of a long life and how our DNA could be predisposed to living a long life because it may run in our blood and what it really takes to live a full, healthy, active, and long life well into your hundreds. There have been many theories that people who eat less meat live longer or people who eat very simple whole foods, or people who a mostly live foods diet live longer. There was an article printed in The New York Times years ago on women centenarians and what was interesting about most of these women was that most of them were never married and did not have children or had only one child.

When I think about my own family, I have still have both of my grandmothers, one is 82 and her only health challenge is emphysema which came from years of smoking cigarettes, but she doesn't suffer from any high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or anything else. I also remember my grandmother had a community garden in her West Philadelphia neighborhood and often ate from it and I remember her making a lot of her meals at home, all fresh and full of vegetables.

My other grandmother on my father's side is 92 and she still drives, has a husband of twenty something years who is about 8 years younger than her. She gets an occasional acid reflux and her hearing isn't as well as it used to be, but she can still sit cross-legged on the floor and get up on her own without anyone's assistance which means her bones and joints are still flexible.

My Uncle Eason, my maternal grandfather's brother lived until he was well into his nineties. He was a self-employed carpenter, a very expressive man, he also ate fresh local food, and never quite retired.

Even though the keys to life comes to down to diet, exercise, those who are seeking longevity need to think about more than just diet and exercise. These are key components but our lives are much more complex than that. Healthy encompasses things we can control and sometimes things we can't control like our ancestral lineage and DNA or can we actually override our DNA code?

So really what are the keys to longevity? Is it diet, exercise, positive thinking, a great attitude, lots of sex, wonderful relationship, a strong spiritual foundation, or all of the above? What works and what doesn't work?

Author's Bio: 

Nwenna Kai is the author of The Goddess of Raw Foods available for purchase at, the FREE e-book Nwenna Kai's Holiday Recipes and the upcoming children's book, TheMoreLove's. You can get the e-book by signing up for her e-newsletter at her website She is the previous owner of Taste of the Goddess Cafe, one of LA's pioneering organic raw food cafes. She is the 2007 winner of the Elizabeth Dole Young Entrepreneurial Scholarship sponsored by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) for her work as a health and wellness entrepreneur. Visit her website at and her blog at