Healthy habits that led to Queen Elizabeth II’s long life

Healthy habits that led to Queen Elizabeth II’s long life

As mourning continues around the world after Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, some are beginning to wonder if she had a secret to her long life. After 96 years in the spotlight, we know that the queen lived a relatively healthy lifestyle. While not everyone is privy to her resources, engaging in healthy habits can increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life.

“As someone who cares for many people in their 80s, 90s and even 100’s, the patients who are the healthiest are those who are on top of their health and well-being,” says Dr. Kevin Koo, family medicine physician at Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill. “They go to doctors’ appointments. They socialize often. They read. They travel. They volunteer. They exercise,” he says.

So what was the queen’s secret to a long life you may ask?

Eating a balanced diet – The queen was known to eat small meals throughout the day which recent studies have shown can increase your energy and improve your metabolism. Her meals included grilled proteins and an abundance of vegetables. But don’t worry, the queen still indulged in some of her favorite foods such as dark chocolate and biscuits. Dr. Koo says that balance and not overindulging in anything are important when it comes to your diet.

Daily social interaction – It’s no surprise that the queen led a busy social schedule. Feeling socially connected has both mental and physical benefits such as improved brain function and decreased feelings of depression.

“Emotional and psychological well-being is something I cannot emphasize more, especially since the pandemic hit the world,” says Dr. Koo. “How we view ourselves will dictate how well we care for ourselves. Never shy away from asking for help. Family, friends, primary care doctors, whomever.”

Although you may not be able to see your friends or family members daily, a phone or video call is a great way to stay socially connected.

Engaging in physical activity – While you may not have castle grounds to wander, walking outside or on a treadmill for at least 150 minutes per week, according to the American Heart Association, can boost your overall health. Swimming was another way the queen stayed active in her earlier years.

Spending time outdoors – She not only enjoyed playing with her many corgis outside of her royal estates, but she also enjoyed horseback riding. Studies have found that being active outside can significantly improve your mental health. Whether you are taking a walk outside, playing soccer with your child or throwing a Frisbee, these activities promote a healthier life.

Finding peace through prayer – Whether you are spiritual or not, research suggests that the act of prayer can help reduce stress and therefore improve mental health. The queen notably referenced the act of prayer in many of her televised messages throughout her reign. You can start the act of prayer by practicing meditation.

Finding an outlet for your passion – The queen dedicated her life to supporting hundreds of charities over her nearly 71-year reign. Whether you volunteer or have a hobby that brings you joy, engaging in those activities can increase your physical activity, increase your social network and even gain new skills.

It’s never too late to make lifestyle changes. In fact, Dr. Koo says, “Weight loss, eating better, exercising, traveling, counseling, etc. can all have immediate benefits, so there is no time than the present to start making changes.”

Are you looking for more ways you can make healthy lifestyle changes? Schedule an appointment with a doctor in Illinois or Wisconsin.

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  1. Please note ,substituting meditation for the act of prayer will do nothing. First of all, praying consists of petitioning, praising, giving thanks, or rejoicing to One Who can not only hear one’s prayers but also answer them according to His will. Meditation cannot and does not and will not provide any of the above aforementioned as humans are not God. We constantly seek to find substitutes for God through man made substitutes which includes meditation.

    • Daniel,
      I must say I find your comment prejudice and unsettling. Your comment implies that one can only achieve spiritual fulfillment praying to a Christian God. I myself spent many years perusing Christian Spirituality and never found fulfilment. I now follow a different path and find great joy and fulfilment.
      There are many ways to meditate, not all of them are therapeutic reflection. When I meditate, its often spiritual awareness, I let my soul connect with the spiritual plane, where your God exist. I do praise, petition, seek guidance and express gratitude.
      Christians like the rest of us are flawed and some non-chrisitans have developed and aversion to the word “prayer” because of negative experiences in the past. Anna recognized that and thought to be considerate and inclusive in her article which I am deeply grateful for.
      One Truth Many Paths.

    • While I agree that prayer and meditation are not the same thing, being mindful and practicing meditation will help lower anxiety and promote a feeling of well-being. You can meditate about anything (including the Word of God).

    • Please note, the benefits of meditation, and mindfulness, have been demonstrated in a plethora of studies. You may have your personal religious beliefs and that’s wonderful, but discounting scientifically proven and demonstrable results from meditation because of some biblical idea … is asinine and spreads false information. Those of us in healthcare should take care to keep our information factual and have an open mind – and realize that other religious and cultural beliefs are valid as well.

  2. Her majesty was also known to have a cocktail daily. A quote from Food & Wine, dated 2 September 2022: “Queen Elizabeth II has carried on the tradition of drinking her late mother’s preferred aperitif, Dubonnet and gin, imbibing the cocktail every day before lunch as appetite-stimulator…” Cheers!

  3. I agree with Daniel. While meditation has some benefits, nothing compares with prayer to the one that hears our petitions and has the power to answer prayers of his creation.

    • The funny thing is, nine times in the book of Psalms, David says to meditate. Meditate on God’s unfailing love. On His decrees (3 separate times). On His wonderful deeds. On His age-old regulations. His majestic, glorious splendor and His wonderful miracles. On His Book of Instruction. On the law of the Lord.

      So if you want to split hairs, the Bible tells us to meditate. So what’s the hang-up??

  4. Prayer vs meditation. Why don’t you just do both?

  5. I agree with both Daniel and Laura G.

  6. The difference is that Biblical prayer is to God almighty through Jesus. Yes the Bible mentions often to meditate but it’s to meditate on the word of God. Which is the component you’re leaving out.

  7. Not everyone is alike in what avenue they pursue along this journey. For me, prayer is the answer. It may not be for everyone. I respect anyone that doesn’t agree with me as long as they do so with respect. I am sure of one thing…we are all different. I wish everyone joy and and peace in their life.

  8. Anna,
    This was a great article. It was written with a lot of respect for the different faiths of the world. THANK YOU. I look forward to reading more.

  9. Thank you Laura G and Beckie

  10. I wanted to say that while I am a Muslim, we are encouraged to practice Salaam and Meditation! Yes, offering prayers is required. However, meditation is recommended because of the many benefits that derive from both. While I have discovered, for myself, how meditation has helped me to maintain balance in my daily life and activities! So I do believe that meditation has helped me with blood pressure issues, as well. There are times when I feel even more productive because of the quiet and peaceful meditation session my mind and my body has just had!

  11. Good grief!! Meditate already! If you think Christianity is being forced on you, seriously?!? So you’re not Christian!?! Prayer is meditating. It’s a combination of the written words of memorized prayer and a thought process entering the realm of meditating in the spiritual realm. What’s the fuss, go meditate and relieve your anxiety of over thinking this.

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations and content marketing for over tfive years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.