06/26/2014 04:02 pm ET Updated Jun 26, 2014

5 Superb Longevity Lessons From Royalty

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It's not easy being queen, but Her Maj has been at it for longer than some of us have been alive. Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne over 62 years, making her the second longest-reigning British monarch in history. In September of 2015, we can expect to see her surpass that record.

She's seen a dozen prime ministers in office, from Sir Winston Churchill all the way to David Cameron. She has four children, eight grandchildren, and is now a great-grandmother. Though she has several heirs in line (including one who's been waiting a very long time to become king), at 88, she's showing no sign of slowing down.

And it's down to more than just the royal blue blood -- though her mother did live to be a centenarian. Though we can't all be royalty, here are some ways we can try to live as long and healthily as the royals.

  • Make time for tea.
    Yes, in proper English fashion, the Queen starts her morning off with a cup of Darjeeling tea in the morning.

    And while high tea is considered a treat in the U.S., an afternoon tea break is common in the U.K., inside the royal household and out. The Queen is said to prefer Earl Grey tea in the afternoon with an assortment of her favorite pastries.

    Though we're sold on the virtues of coffee (or maybe plain addicted), consider swapping it for a nice old cuppa. Tea can be considered a superfood, no matter what variety you take it in; green, black, or white. It's rich in polyphenols, the antioxidants that help protect your body from the damaging effects of free-radicals. Each cup also is packed with flavonoids, also found in fruits and vegetables, that also have anti-inflammatory benefits. Tea has been shown to help promote cardiovascular health, protect from some types of cancers, and even slow the progression of osteoporosis.
  • Get a pet.
    Few things are as beloved by the Queen as her gaggle of corgis. She fell in love with the pooches during her childhood and has owned and even bred dozens since then. They are always at her side (they even made an appearance in her famed 2012 Olympics opening ceremony skit). She has several at any one time and adores them so much, she apparently feeds them doggie biscuits herself in the morning and has been known to throw them a scone or two.

    Dog owners tend to live longer and it might be due to the many benefits of having them around. We all know the first thing Fido wants to do when he meets you at the door after a long day at work is to go play. If you're usually inactive, a dog could help you have a more active lifestyle, as you take them for a walk or head out to the park to play catch. Dog owners also tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, though it's unclear as to if that's because they make you more active or because they help reduce stress.
  • Take a vacation.
    While you may think she leads a life of leisure, the Queen has a hectic work schedule, with official engagements, international visits, and charity work. Oh, and don't forget she's also "Head of State," meaning she's at the opening of Parliament, meets with the Prime Minister, and hosts foreign ambassadors. So she deserves a break once in a while.

    Every summer, the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, head to Balmoral Castle in Scotland for her annual retreat -- corgis in tow. Surrounded by a variety of wildlife and that fresh Scottish air, you can enjoy activities like fishing and hiking. The Queen enjoys the peace and quiet she gets, away from the private eye and from the hustle and bustle of city life in London.

    Though we don't all have a summer home, let alone castle, to head out to for the summer, it's crucial to make time for vacations. Studies have shown that skipping out on vacations can increase your risk of heart disease (think of all that stress!). One study in particular found that women who rarely took vacation (once every 6 years or less) were anywhere from six to eight times more likely to have heart disease or suffer a heart attack, than women who unplugged at least twice a year. So please, give yourself a break. You deserve it.
  • Spend time with your family.
    Sure they come out for royal occasions like the summer's Trooping the Colour ceremony or for our favorite -- royal weddings. But the Windsor gang is known to be a tight-knit bunch, spending Christmas together at Sandringham Palace, or even phoning each other for a bit of advice.

    A Brigham Young University study found that people with strong social relationships could live longer than people who don't. Researchers chalk it up to the ability of family and friends to help us cope with life's upsets, help us with healthy habits, and encourage us to look after our health.
  • Eat like a Queen.
    Of course, it's not easy eating healthy, balanced meals when you're on the go, and unlike Her Majesty, we don't have the luxury of professional chefs preparing our every meal. But there are still cues we can take from the royals. The Queen has been known to have four smaller meals a day (plus afternoon tea) rather than two or three larger meals. She also likely has freshly grown vegetables from the garden added to the grounds of Buckingham Palace not too long ago. And for dessert? Fresh fruit. Especially the peaches that are grown at Windsor Castle.

    While it hasn't been proven that eating more frequently is any healthier, if done properly, eating smaller meals throughout the day can help prevent overeating and the resulting weight gain. Going too long between meals can make us extremely hungry and more likely to overeat afterwards. But smaller meals can keep you from giving in to cravings and perhaps regulate blood sugar, some experts say -- as long as you still mind your portion size.

    And of course, as for swapping the sweets for fruit, or munching on veggies rather than our favorite salty treats is a good choice. Not only does this help ensure we're getting all the necessary nutrients in our diet, these unprocessed foods are typically lower in calories than processed snacks and denser in nutrients, meaning you can feel fuller with fewer calories.


Secrets To Living A Long Life From Centenarians
Secrets To Living A Long Life From Centenarians