How Heart Surgeon Dr. Wareham Became 101 Years Young

Dr. Wareham — a retired heart surgeon who happens to be 101 years young — tells us how we can live a long and strong life. It’s not brain — err — heart surgery!  [Watch]

Dr. Ellsworth Wareham

AS YOU cruise the Interwebs, have you ever bumped into one of those many breathless headlines that trumpet something like this:

106 Year-old Woman’s Age Defying Secrets Are Whiskey and Bingo?

I find this sort of age defying secrets espoused by centenarians to be mildly amusing. Over the years, I recount reading that the secret was…

  • Bacon every morning
  • Gambling
  • Fresh baked bread
  • Tea all day long
  • A couple of shots of some favorite liquor

I don’t discount that long-lived people with such habits earnestly attribute their longevity to them, but as the label says, “Don’t try this at home.”

The science doesn’t support such claims, but such claims do underscore that there are always exceptions to the rule. It’s just smarter not to think that you’re the exception, at least when it comes to lifestyle habits that can be in no way causative of a long, hale life.

What “secrets” the science does support when it comes to living a long and healthy life are finely representative by the life of a specific man that I’d like to profile here for your edification.

Dr. Ellsworth Wareham was a heart surgeon. He retired five years ago when he was 96 years young. As the math suggests, Dr. Wareham is now 101, and his “secrets” behind his long and strong life are those you’d expect if you had ever peaked at the research, or read about the long-lived people who inhabit the “Blue Zones”.

Regular readers have read a bit about the Blue Zones on this site. In Want 10 Extra Years? It’s Easier Than You Think In The Blue Zones!, I wrote this:

If you want to improve the health of Americans, why not look around the world for places where people live the longest, healthiest lives and then try to copy whatever it is they’re doing?

Those “places” are the so-called “Blue Zones”. One of them is in Loma Linda, California, and that just happens to be where our noble heart surgeon lives. His life-long habits nicely parallel those of all the far-flung places in the world where those blue zoned people reach the 100 year mark more reliably and in greater number (proportion to their population) than anywhere else.

These people are different genetically, live in different climates, speak different languages, have different jobs and incomes — but what they share are the lifestyle habits that support a long and hale life; namely these:

  • Blue Zone people mostly eat beans, vegetables and fruits,
  • Blue Zone people often enjoy one or two servings of alcohol each day, but no more.
  • Blue Zone people are integrated in their community.
  • Blue Zone people experience intimacy (not necessarily sexual).
  • Blue Zoners actively take time each day to de-stress.

Now, that said, our good doctor, is a 7th Day Adventist, as many are in Loma Linda, and he (and they) do not drink alcohol, but other than that, Dr. Wareham is definitely a Blue Zoner.

Check out CCTV America’s profile of him in the video below, and tell me if tweaking your diet and physical activity a bit isn’t worth it:


Before you go, read my blog post, Reverse Engineer Longevity — Three Ways Your Environment Creates A Long and Strong Life. There you’ll learn more about how the people in the Blue Zones achieve their remarkably longevity, and meet the man who brought them to the attention of the world.

Dan Buettner with 100 yr old Felipe Gudoy

Read it!


Last Updated on October 18, 2015 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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