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长寿之迷: 园艺爱好可能助你长命百岁

更新时间:2018/12/25 21:51:24 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Gardening could be the hobby that helps you live to 100
长寿之迷: 园艺爱好可能助你长命百岁

Dan Buettner has studied five places around the world where residents are famed for their longevity: Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece, and Loma Linda in California and Sardinia in Italy.

布特纳(Dan Buettner)研究了世界上因长寿而出名的地区:日本的冲绳、哥斯达黎加的尼哥亚(Nicoya)、希腊的伊卡利亚(Icaria)、美国加州的洛马琳达(Loma Linda)和意大利的撒丁岛(Sardinia)。

People living in these so-called “blue zones” have certain factors in common – social support networks, daily exercise habits and a plant-based diet, for starters. But they share another unexpected commonality. In each community, people are gardening well into old age – their 80s, 90s and beyond.

首先,居住在这些所谓"蓝区"的人有着一些共同点——社会互助网络、每天锻炼的习惯、饮食以蔬果为主。让人感到意外的是,除此之外他们还有一个共同之处。每个社区的居民直到老都保持着对园艺的爱好,80岁、90岁甚至更年长的都有。

Could nurturing your green thumb help you live to 100?

那么培养园艺爱好能不能帮你活到一百岁呢?

Mood elevator

园艺让人心情愉悦

It is well-known that an outdoor lifestyle with moderate physical activity is linked to longer life, and gardening is an easy way to accomplish both. “If you garden, you’re getting some low-intensity physical activity most days, and you tend to work routinely,” says Buettner.

众所周知,户外的生活方式配以适当的体育活动有助于长寿,而园艺很容易就同时满足这两个条件。布特纳表示:“如果你摆弄花草,那么你基本每天都会做一些低强度的体育活动,而且往往非常规律。”

He says there is evidence that gardeners live longer and are less stressed. A variety of studies confirm this, pointing to both the physical and mental health benefits of gardening.

他还指出,有证据显示,园艺师寿命更长,而且压力更小。各类研究也证明了这个观点,指出园艺有助于身心健康。

In recent Dutch study, researchers asked participants to complete a stressful task, then split them into two groups. One group read indoors and the other gardened outdoors for 30 minutes. The group that read reported that their mood “further deteriorated”, while the gardeners not only had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol afterwards, they also felt “fully restored” to a good mood.

荷兰近期的一项研究中,研究人员请参与者先完成一个让人倍感压力的任务,然后把他们分成两组。一组人在室内阅读,另外一组人在户外进行30分钟的园艺活动。读书的一组人表示他们的情绪“变得更差了”,而进行园艺活动的一组人不但后来压力荷尔蒙皮质醇的水平更低,而且感觉“完全恢复了”好心情。

Australian researchers following men and women in their 60s found that those who regularly gardened had a 36% lower risk of dementia than their non-gardening counterparts.

澳大利亚研究人员对60多岁的男性和女性开展调查,发现那些经常做园艺工作的人比那些完全不做的患痴呆症的风险要低36%。

And preliminary studies among elderly people suffering from cognitive issues (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s) report benefits from garden settings and horticulture therapy. Sunlight and fresh air, for example, help agitated elders feel calmer, while the colours and textures of various plants and vegetables can improve visual and tactile ability.

而且对有认知问题(例如患有痴呆和阿尔茨海默症)的老人的初步研究表明,园艺环境和园艺疗法有助于身心健康。比如阳光和清新的空气就能让焦虑的老人心情平静,而不同植物和蔬菜的颜色和质地可以改善视觉和触觉能力。

There is no panacea for growing old but, the science suggests, gardening does appear to improve our quality of life as we age.

世界上并不存在医治衰老的万能药,但研究显示,园艺似乎确实能提升我们年老时的生活质量。

Let nature nurture you

让大自然养育你

It’s not just about health effects, either: the social benefits of gardening can also increase longevity. Dr Bradley Willcox of the University of Hawaii studies centenarians in Okinawa, which has the world’s highest ratio of centenarians, at approximately 50 per 100,000 people. Many residents maintain small personal gardens well into old age.

园艺不仅仅有益健康,还能让人更加长寿。夏威夷大学的威尔考克斯博士(Dr Bradley Willcox)的研究对象是日本冲绳的百岁老人。冲绳的百岁老人比例居全球首位,每10万人中约有50人,许多居民年长后仍能把自己小巧的花园打理得井井有条。

He says that gardening helps with other essential, if somewhat more ephemeral, factors in increasing longevity. “In Okinawa, they say that anybody who grows old healthfully needs an ikigai, or reason for living. Gardening gives you that something to get up for every day.”

威尔考克斯表示,还有其他更短暂、但更必要的长寿因素,园艺劳动和他们一起有助于长寿。“冲绳有这么一句话,每一个健康长寿的人都需要‘ikigai’,即生活的意义。园艺就是一件让你每天心怀期待起床的事。”

On top of that, explains Willcox, Okinawans value the concept of yuimaru, or a high level of social connectedness. “Getting together at a local market, bringing your produce and sharing your latest creations from the garden is a big social activity,” he says. “That certainly helps people feel grounded and connected.”

威尔考克斯还表示,在此基础上,冲绳人还很重视“yuimaru”,即高境界的社会联系。他说:“到本地的市场聚会,带上自己丰收的果实,分享自己花园的新作,这些都是盛大的社交活动。当然会让人感觉很接地气,而且和社会保持着联系。”

A sense of connection to other people is important, but so too is the individual connection to nature. One Harvard University study showed that people who were surrounded by lush greenery lived longer, with a lower chance of developing cancer or respiratory illnesses.

感觉到与其他人保持联系的确重要,保持与大自然的联系也一样重要。哈佛大学的一项研究显示,被一片茂盛的绿色环绕的人更长寿,患癌症和呼吸系统疾病的几率也更低。

Doctors in Scotland can now prescribe a walk in nature to treat a variety of ailments, including reducing blood pressure and anxiety, and to improve overall happiness. Gardening – even on a small plot in an urban area – is a simple way to incorporate more nature into your daily life.

苏格兰的医生在为病人开具处方时,可以写下“在大自然中散步”来治疗多种小病,降低血压和焦虑程度,提升人的幸福感。园艺也是让生活中充满更多自然元素的简单方法——即使是市区的一小块土地。

Finally, there is also a dietary component to longevity that gardening can help with. Researchers have demonstrated a link between the “Mediterranean diet” – rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish and olive oil – and slower aging.

最后,园艺也会影响人的日常饮食,进而有助于长寿。研究人员发现“地中海饮食法”(即多食用蔬菜、水果、谷物、豆类、坚果、鱼和橄榄油)和延缓衰老有一定联系。

Willcox says the fundamental principle of eating an abundance of fresh vegetables, ideally from local gardens and markets, is important to longevity, whether the diet is technically Mediterranean or not. In Okinawa, for example, most people grow vegetables such as bitter melon and sweet potatoes in their gardens.

威尔考克斯表示,要想长寿,无论是否采用地中海饮食法,重要的原则就是吃足够多的新鲜蔬菜,最好是来自本地的花园和市集。比如在冲绳,大部分人会在自家花园里种植苦瓜和红薯。

“When you eat vegetables that you’ve grown yourself, it changes everything – they taste more delicious, and it really makes a difference in the health qualities (vitamins, minerals, phytoactive compounds etc.) of the food itself,” says Willcox. Buettner, the “blue zones” expert, recommends a diet of “90% plants, especially greens and beans”, and points out a simple truth: gardeners are more likely to plant what they want to eat.

威尔考克斯说:“吃自己种的蔬菜改变了一切——它们尝起来更美味,而且确实会让人变得很健康(蔬菜富含维他命、矿物质、植物活性化合物等)。”“蓝区专家”布特纳则推荐采用植物(尤其是绿色植物和豆类占比90%)的饮食结构,并指出一个简单的事实:园丁更可能种植自己想吃的东西。

Farming for a longer life?

为了长寿进行农业劳动?

If gardening is good, is farming even better? Many of the lifestyle factors associated with longevity – such as living in the country and getting lots of exercise – apply to farmers as well.

如果园艺工作有益健康,那么农业劳动是否更好呢?许多生活方式都和长寿有关——比如住在郊区、进行大量锻炼。这些也同样适用于农民。

Some evidence suggests that farming is one of the healthiest occupations. One Australian study showed that farmers were a third less likely to suffer from a chronic illness, and 40% less likely to visit a GP than non-farm workers. Researchers from the US compared mortality rates among farmers against rates for the general population and found farmers less likely to die from cancer, heart diseases or diabetes. And studies in Sweden and France have also showed farmers are healthier than non-farmers.

部分证据显示,农业劳动是世界上最健康的工作之一。一项澳洲研究显示,农民患慢性病的几率比其他人低三分之一,而且需要前往全科医生处看病的几率也要低40%。美国的研究人员将农民的死亡率和普通大众的死亡率对比,发现农民死于癌症、心脏病或糖尿病的几率低于其他人。而且瑞典和法国的研究也显示,农民比其他人更健康。

Dr Masahiko Gemma of Waseda University in Tokyo studied self-employed farmers in the central province of Saitama, who were found to have a longer life expectancy that non-farmers and work later into life. Many of Gemma’s respondents were part-time farmers or retirees, and he describes many of their responsibilities as “similar to the work of maintaining a garden”.

东京早稻田大学的加玛博士(Dr Masahiko Gemma)研究了中部省份埼玉县的自雇农民,这些农民寿命比其他人更长,而且一直到年纪很大都在劳作。加玛博士的许多受访者都是兼职或者退休农民,他说许多人的工作职责“就类似打理一个花园”。

“Small family farms are common in Japanese agriculture,” says Gemma, explaining that his survey did not include farmers working for large-scale corporate operations. He found that self-employed farmers enjoyed statistically significant and positive changes in psychological and physical conditions before and after engaging in light farming activities. “Our guess is that farming work contributes to the maintenance of good health and spirits,” he says.

加玛在解释为何他在研究中并没有采访为大型企业工作的农民时表示:“小型家庭农场在日本农业中很常见。”他发现,据统计,自雇农民在进行轻微的农业劳作后,心理和生理的情况都得到了巨大好转。他说:“我们猜测,农业劳作有助于人们保持健康的体魄和愉快的心情。”

Reality check

核查事实

Although Gemma’s findings are heartening, not all farming resembles the traditional, low-tech Japanese model he describes. Agriculture is an industry in most of the Western world, and farmers can experience difficult or dangerous working conditions, high debt and increasingly automated processes.

虽然加玛的研究结果让人心动,但并非所有农业劳作都和他所描述的传统、低科技含量的日本农业模式一样。在大部分西方国家,农业是一种产业,农民也可能面临艰辛或危险的工作环境、背负高额债务,农业流程也可能越发自动化。

“The reality of what agriculture is like, at least in America, is staring at a computer for as long as everyone else, running systems for broiler houses or hog containment facilities, or sitting in your air-conditioned combine watching videos while you go across monotonous GPS precision-guided fields,” says Thomas Forester, a New York-based food policy consultant to research organisations and UN agencies.

弗雷斯特(Thomas Forester)常驻纽约,是研究机构和联合国机构的粮食政策咨询师。他表示:“至少在美国,农业的真实情况是你要和其他人一样,长时间盯着电脑,运行肉鸡房或者猪圈的系统。或者坐在有空调的联合收割机里,一边看视频,一边由GPS精准引导、单调地穿过土地。”

It’s difficult, then, to view farming as a magic bullet against aging.

这样的话,就很难把农业视为对抗衰老的灵丹妙药了。

Neither farming nor gardening will ultimately guarantee a longer lifespan. But some of the lifestyle factors associated with both – namely going outside, engaging in light physical activity and eating a healthy plant-based diet – just might.

农业和园艺都无法保证一个人最终可以长寿,但与这两者相关的一些生活习惯却可能可以——比如外出走动,进行轻微的运动,保持健康的以蔬菜为主的饮食习惯。

In the end, it’s all about balance.

说到底,就是要平衡。

“I use the analogy of a chair,” says Willcox. “Diet, physical activity, mental engagement and social connection are the four legs. If you don’t have one of them, you fall out of balance, and it can shorten life expectancy. Longevity isn’t about one single factor – it’s about not working too hard to share a constellation of them all.”

威尔考克斯表示:“我用椅子来打比方。饮食习惯、体育锻炼、思想的投入以及与社会的联系就像是一把椅子的四条腿。如果椅子少了其中的一条腿,就会失去平衡,而且可能导致预期寿命变短。长寿并不是单一因素决定的——关键在于各个方面要平衡,凡事都不要过度。”

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