How to Live Longer
From anti-aging supplements to scientists seeking to tap the fountain of youth, everyone wants to know the secret of a long and healthy life. Scientists have studied how those living beyond a century are more likely to be physically active every day, and this leads to fewer disabilities as time passes and a longer life.
The science of living a long life has undergone a revolution with cutting-edge research on the benefits of diet and exercise on human longevity. But until researchers crack the mystery of life and death, here are the secrets to cheating death and living a long, healthy and happy life.
Personality Type Matters
Your personality affects the length of time you will stay alive. The Longevity Project is one of the most detailed studies carried out by Stanford scientists Friedman and Martin over a span of 80 years. They found that conscientious people who are prudent and persistent and somewhat particular rather than carefree were more likely to lead a longer life. Relaxed people don’t necessarily live longer, but conscientious people do. This is because they make healthier choices when it comes to smoking, alcohol intake, diet and other factors that affect human longevity.
Sunscreen Is The Best Protection
One of the most commonly occurring forms of cancer is skin cancer. It is prevented by using a wide-spectrum sunscreen (that blocks UVB and A radiation both) with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher. This is an important lotion for coping with the sun’s rays and warding off sun damage to the body. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer and protective clothing, as well as sunscreen, is the right way to go about avoiding this lethal disease.
Eat A Fiber Rich Breakfast
This can help in shedding unwanted pounds. Studies have found those who eat oatmeal eat fewer calories later during the day. Oats take a long time to digest and this ensures there is no spike in the blood glucose level. This fends off hunger pangs and controls diabetes. Oatmeal is an absorbent when it comes to excess cholesterol. It can also lower the risk of heart problems, according to the American Dietetic Association.
Challenge Your Mind
Keep your mind stimulated by boosting memory and cognitive skills and cut down on dementia, according to research studies. Excellent ways to challenge the brain include trying to memorize numbers, solve puzzles, or try a trivia game.
Avoid the TV Screen At Mealtimes
Watching TV during mealtimes can lead to mindless eating and consequently weight gain. American Dietetic Association stresses that those who watch TV at mealtimes eat fewer fruits and veggies while consuming meals. Move the TV out of the kitchen, if you want a trimmer, svelte self, and a longer life.
Use Spices and Herbs
Flavoring recipes with herbs and spices can cut down on fat, calorific intake and sodium leading to increased benefits for your health. Some herbs such as oregano are higher in vitamins and minerals than even leafy greens. Seasonings such as turmeric, saffron, and basil can combat cancer. Nutmeg and pepper can lower blood pressure.
Dark chocolate can combat cancer and heart problems. Enjoying a few cubes of dark chocolate a day can lower the BP and reduce heart disease risk and cut down on chances of developing stroke. Whole Wheat Cereals are A Great Choice.
Refined white carbs, simple carbs, or richly processed carbs are empty calories that take your blood glucose levels for a ride. Whole grain cereals contain slow digesting carbs that keep blood glucose levels steady and prevent a spike. Additionally, these are fiber-rich and you can avoid overeating on account of this, as well as acquiring bad cholesterol.
Blueberries have the greatest antioxidants compared to other fruits and veggies, according to the US Department of Agriculture. One study found that a single cup of blueberries contains more antioxidants than a dozen oranges! Wild blueberries are the best, as they contain twice the antioxidant content compared to regular, traditionally cultivated blueberries. Rich in polyphenols such as anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that gives blueberries their characteristic color, these fruits pack a punch.
Lift With The Legs
Another great way to live longer (and pain-free) is to lift with your legs instead of bending at the waist. This acts as a deterrent for back problems. Women are more likely to face back problems because of weakened back muscles. Lifting from the leg can cancel that out.
Don’t Gulp Down Food
Take the time to chew and absorb your food. It also becomes easier to digest well-chewed foods and extract nutrients from it, for your body. Keeping food in the mouth enhances saliva production and signals fullness of stomach to the brain faster. This ensures the correct calorific intake and cuts down on heart attack, blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic diseases besides combating obesity.
Wine and Dine, But Don’t Smoke
Red or white, wine is the best option for blocking cardiovascular diseases, respiratory tract infections, and dental decay. Make sure you don’t overdo it, though. More than one glass of wine occasionally is not beneficial. Neither is smoking.
Floss a Lot
Cleaning the teeth has a link to eliminating plaque. But this can also curb heart diseases. Yes, you read that right. Bacteria-rich plaque in the mouth is associated with dental decay as well as stroke and heart attacks, due to arterial blockage.
Multivitamins Boost Energy Levels
Choose multivitamins including separate supplements of vitamin D, calcium, magnesium folic acid. Another great longevity boost is through ingestion of Omega 3 fatty acids. This rich nutrient is found in nuts, fish and flax-seed oil.
Try White Tea
Okay everyone’s heard of green tea, black tea, and yellow tea. But the newest kid on the block (or should we say beverage) is the white tea. White tea contains polyphenols in the greatest percentage. Studies have found that white tea leaves are less processed while fermenting and retain more antioxidants which battle diseases. Free radicals, the culprit behind oxidative stress is also cut down on using white tea. Free radical damage has been associated with cancer and other serious medical ailments.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of heart problems, depression, and weight gain. National Sleep Foundation has found that less than half the percentage of most American women sleep well only sometimes in a week. Don’t think watching TV can get you there. It stimulates the brain and makes it hard to fall asleep. To get good sleep, relax your mind, take a shower or just stretch. A cup of chamomile tea may even benefit you.
Watch What You Eat
Studies have looked at the diet of centenarians and found that many of them live in the Mediterranean where foods like fruits, nuts, vegetables and healthy fats such as olive oil are used on a regular basis.
Being Social Helps
Being social is critical. Social groups are associated with longevity. Women tend to live longer for this reason. Research shows that immune function improves when we are among friends and this boosts stress alleviation.
Diet is just one aspect of a healthy, long life. Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, if you want to live longer. Combine walking with weights, cardiovascular with weight training methods. Choose an exercise regimen you can stick to, and life will get better, healthier, happier and (of course) longer.
Avoid Processed Foods
One of the key dietary modifications taking place in different countries over the past 3 decades has been the shift to more highly processed foods. Along with this processed food, comes an increase in sodium, more sugar, less fiber, and more saturated fats. Therefore, the result is more chances of heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. The NIH or National Institute of Health recommends consuming only 2300 milligrams or less than 2.4 grams of sodium in a day. In fact, it is even lesser for elderly adults and individuals with conditions like high BP.
But a survey of more than 7 thousand US adults by the Centers for Disease Control found that the average consumption is of 3,300 mg of sodium in a day. The salt comes from restaurant dishes and fast foods like cured meats, tinned soup, and baked goods. You need to do your body a big favor and eat cleanly. This includes fiber-rich foods. The aim should be to give junk foods a wide berth. Splurge on salads, fruits, and veggies. You could even cook in big batches.
Give Up Smoking
If you smoke, you would probably be aware of how addictive it can be. As per the National Institute of Health, tobacco remains the most preventable cause of death. Estimates also suggest smoking can remain the highest cause of mortality rates and the most preventable cause of a short life. Smoking, in fact, can rob you of over 10 years of life. For those quitting cold turkey or phasing out the habit, the results can be really beneficial. Blood pressure, as well as circulation, improve soon after you quit smoking. The family will also benefit from your move to quit smoking, as one is no longer exposed to second-hand dangerous smoke.
Don’t Sit Still
If you feel that you lack time to exercise, you will not have a healthy life or a long one. A 2011 study found that Taiwanese men or women who got more than 15 minutes of moderate intensity exercise helped subjects live at least 3 more years. The longevity boost went up to 4 years when people exercised for at least 30 minutes per day. This holds true even for those with heart problems and overweight people who did not even lose weight due to exercise. Sitting still is one of the most detrimental things to do for health. Brisk walking, according to research from Taiwan, is one of the most effective ways to lengthen your lifespan.
Anger is on of the hardest emotions to overcome, especially if you feel justified in your rage. The best question you need to ask is whether getting angry is worth it. Levels of stress hormone cortisol go up when you are stressed, angry or facing negative effects in terms of metabolic rate, heart, and immune system functioning. High cortisol levels have been linked to greater mortality in numerous studies.
Being social is a wonderful way to boost your longevity. This helps in managing the stress and strengthening the immunity levels. Excellent relationships make you stronger. Lack of positive or meaningful relationships can leave one in a negative frame of mind and create heart attack or depression risks. Staying connected can be really hard, if one is feeling down, facing a bereavement or living away from family and friends. Staying connected is important, and there are many ways to do this Try volunteering and reaching out to others with similar interests through networks like book clubs and business groups.
Massive, radical changes in lifestyle can be really daunting. So start small. The next time you try to eat healthier or exercise more often, aim for the lowest goals. Choose one small change at a time, like getting up in the morning about 10 minutes earlier or going for a small walk, rather than joining a gym and never showing up! Even short activity spurts can reap really great benefits for an individual. Small shifts can add up to big benefits over time, without stressing you up. Remember consistency is most important. Focus on how to feel energized and motivated.
Being alert about your health is one thing. Being afraid and obsessed is another. Such emotions can lead to anger, anxiety, and depression. Leaving fears aside is the key to success.
Don’t Miss Out on Nighttime Sleep
Amount of sleep can impact the lifespan in so many ways. Research has shown sleeping too little (lower than 6 hours) or considerably more (over 9 hours) puts people at higher risk of death. Quality of life is also put on the line. A good night’s rest can ward off stress, heart disease, and depression. The more quickly one falls asleep, the better it is. Try measures like keeping your bedroom quiet, and opting for meditation exercises and inexpensive noise machines.
Much like anger, stress takes a massive toll on the body and shortens life. By reducing stress, health can be improved in the long-term and quality of life can also be boosted. So, whether it’s confiding in a journal, meditating or trying to relax, there are many different ways to de-stress. Focus on just a few minutes of meditation in a day to get the benefits.
Don’t Blame Genetics
Having family members who are living into their nineties and beyond does mean you have some genes in your favor, but relying on family history is not enough. Studies conducted on Scandinavian twins suggests genetics are essential for determining only a third of the longevity potential. Environmental factors like diet, the exercise one gets in terms of modifiable risk factors, whether one is exposed to workplace toxins or stress and the degree of conscientiousness about screenings and medical tests all play a role in your aging process and the length of your life.
Try Fasting Intermittently
In a 24 hour day, eating right is about creating a 12-16 hour fasting period. The focus should be on concentrating in roughly 8 to 12 hours and not eating outside that window. This enables the nutrient-sensing pathways in the body to trigger autophagy where the body culls dead cells for immunity, vitality, and health.
Take a Break
Take several breaks at work to energize yourself and boost your mood. Taking breaks also serves to make you feel energized and refreshed enough to perform at your optimal best, besides lengthening your lifespan.
Move Every Single Day
Exercise is at the core of healthy living. So are daily activities. These decrease the risk of heart complications like heart diseases, besides arresting diabetes and cognitive decline.
Spend More Time with Those You Care For
By feeling connected and spending time laughing, and sharing experiences, you can feel better and improve the quality of your life.
When it comes to diet and healthy eating, think about how to manage the disease. It’s not just one day or one good habit that takes you far. It is about adding accountability every single day to improve overall health, nutrition, and longevity.
Stock Up On Protein
Protein is the building block of muscles. This is therefore essential as a part of your nutrient intake, for it keeps your muscles strong. Opt for a good protein source at any meal time. Aim for around 20 to 30 grams of this nutrient per meal.
Boost Your Antioxidant Intake
One of the greatest ways to tap the fountain of youth is through antioxidants. It helps to add antioxidant-rich foods to ward off disease. For this, opt for bell peppers, berries, grapes, and bright shaded fruits and veggies. The aim should be to have three cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit per day at least.
While talking about aging, and how to prevent this through a healthy diet, consider remaining hydrated. Drinking enough water helps with managing the weight, keeping skin healthy and boosting the body’s efficiency. A good range is between 64 and 90 ounces of water in a day. Which translates into 8 glasses of H20. If you’re not a fan of water, other options include milk, tea, and other healthy beverages.
Choose Omega Rich Foods
Consumer nutrient dense foods instead of non-nutritive ones. Set yourself up for success by focusing on omega 3-rich foods like salmon, herring, tuna, and mackerel. Eat fatty fish 2-3 times per week in 3-4 ounce servings. This can counter inflammation. If seafood is not consumed, take fish oil as an alternative. Aim for anywhere between 1200 to 2400 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids in a day.
Hire a Nutritionist
Prevention is better than cure. So hire a good nutritionist and ensure your diet remains a balanced, healthy one. Consulting an expert can be a successful way to counter diseases and ill health.
Eat Colorful Veggies and Fruits
Fill up on anywhere between 5 and 9 servings of colorful produce every day. Research shows diets rich in veggies and fruits can stave off disease and help in the maintenance of a healthy weight. Veggies and fruits can protect against certain cancers, reduce heart disease risk, improve blood glucose levels and fill up on fewer calories. For meeting the daily produce quota, one serving of fruits and veggies need to be taken with each meal and snacks should be fruits or vegetable based.
Take Out Time for Yourself
As one ages, stress is a major issue. The older one gets, the more responsibilities there are. De-stressing is all about finding me time for yourself. Managing stressful situations is as vital as working on how to relax. It takes a great toll on the health if you’re constantly pushed for time and juggling multiple deadlines.
Work On Your Breath
Developing excellent relaxation techniques are vital to boost your immunity and coping mechanisms. The easiest way out is to practice deep breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing. When it comes to coping with stressors, it is vital to stick to everyday routines, too.
Study About How to Remain Healthy
Be knowledgeable about all the different areas of health. Educate yourself about physical and mental health, so that you can have better tools and insights into your personal state and encourage greater personal growth and health as one grows older.
Brush with a Timer
Oral health is critical for longevity. Your teeth need to be brushed at least twice a day. The American Dental Association recommends brushing two times a day for at least 2 minutes. One of the best ways to time yourself is to use an electronic toothbrush. It covers all your bases and helps you to do a better job in reaching harder spots like the back of the mouth.
Exfoliate Your Skin
Soaking up topical items for boosting skin quality is just part of the skincare regimen. To preserve youthfulness, you need to work on exfoliation. Around 50 million skin cells are lost every day. So, you need to apply pressure with a washcloth for sloughing off dead skin cells.
Happy hours at a bar can translate into a miserable time in the hospital if you suffer ill health on account of alcoholic intake. Imbibing alcoholic beverages can lead to high blood pressure, heart diseases, dementia, and certain cancers. It is critical to stick to two servings of alcohol per day for men and one for women to avoid negative health effects of overconsuming such beverages.
Increase Your Metabolic Rate
During the youth, the body seems to work effectively with next to no assistance. As we get older, we need to kickstart the metabolic rate to maintain a healthy weight. Metabolic rates drop by 1-2 percent per decade post age 25. This can lead to unwanted and unhealthy weight gain. Physiological reasons were there regarding why weight is gained. But a lot of psychological factors are at play too. Regular exercise and eating at least 6 small meals per day help.
Spice is Nice!
Try consuming common spices on an everyday basis, for supporting human pharmacological effects. Cinnamon is effective for controlling sugar. Turmeric prevents inflammation while celery seeds can ward off blood pressure. Cardamom is wonderful for anti-fibrotic effects and cloves to offer cross-link prevention.
Use Weights to Work Out
Weight-bearing exercises can slow down bone loss. Put weight on the bones by walking, running or lifting the weights to boost the growth of new bones. Exercise also helps in keeping the joint cartilage healthier. Strong muscles support joints and reduce the load. A 2012 meta-analytic review, for example, found that physical activities raised the life expectancy of men and women by 3.7 years at least.
Try Cardiovascular Exercises
A research study in 2016 found three types of exercises boosted long life including swimming, aerobics, and racquet sports like tennis. Recommended exercise levels include 150 minutes of moderate to intense activity every week. Among people who did such exercises, players of racquet sports had 47 percent lower risk of dying during a 9-year study. Swimmers had a 28 percent less risk of dying and those performing aerobics had a 27 percent less risk of early death.
Minerals like magnesium are essential to help individuals keep their energy and mental focus up throughout the day. Of the over 7 to 8 hundred magnesium-dependent enzymes, the most important one is adenosine triphosphate. This is the fundamental energy-storing molecule of the body. It needs magnesium to function properly and helps in improving energy levels. Magnesium boosts muscle function and nerve firing as well.
Limit Sugar Intake
Eating zero sugar is impossible. This is why you need a sugar budget, whereby you consume just fifty grams of sugar per day. This includes all sugar, not just added sugars. Consuming 50 grams is 10 percent of the 2000 calories you can take in a day. Considering that sugar is around 4 calories per gram, 200 calories are gained from sugar alone. Balance sugar intake and you’ll win the war, not just the battle.
Ban Electronics from the Bedroom
By ensuring that electronics are outside the bedroom, you can get more hours of sleep per night. Sleep quality is also better. Additionally, the blue light from smartphones and tablets comes in the way of healthy sleep because it blocks melatonin, a sleep hormone. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of solid sleep in the night.
Cleanliness is more than just a hygienic practice, it is a healthy practice. Clutter can come in the way of health, as disorganized rooms and houses can raise stress levels and lack of cleanliness can also cause health issues.
Something we all need to be grateful for is the small things in life. Gratitude can improve the mood, lower stress and increase overall happiness. Negative thought patterns such as jealousy and dissatisfaction can come in the way of a healthy, long life.
Pack Nutritious Snacks
Rather than opting for a bag of chips through a vending machine or drive-through windows, plan ahead and carry healthy snacks. Opt for snacks that are high in protein and contain at least 7 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of sugar.
Eat in a Mindful Way
A busy lifestyle does not mean you don’t have the time to stay healthy. One of the biggest issues of a non-stop day is that we no longer focus on mindfully eating. For example, if you are eating on the move or in front of the television, this can lead to higher caloric intake and lesser satisfaction from the food. Instead, give yourself the chance to eat intentionally. It should take 20 minutes at least for each meal to be over. Check the pace of eating and enjoy the flavors so your satiation cues let you know when you are full.
Don’t Opt for Trendy Diets
Trendy diets can come in the way of healthy eating. Replacing meals with detox drinks or shady supplements will not help you to sustain your diet. There’s no quick fix when it comes to health. Try consuming as many whole foods as you can and minimize saturated and trans fat by choosing lean meat, dairy and avoiding processed foods. Choose whole grained as against refined grains and make sure you have at least 2 cups of veggies or fruits per 2000 calorie diet. Follow the 80-20 rule is essential. Make 80 percent of all choices health-focused and 20 percent of your food choices to be pleasure-based. This will help you to eat healthily and improve energy levels while allowing for life’s pleasures.
Enjoy What You Do
Doing what you like need not be a full-time career, but it should form a portion of your daily life. It can transform the mood, health, and relationships. Try exploring local clubs and sites to see which activities and groups are available in the area. There are plenty of ideas and a sense of community as well.
Perform Good Deeds
Performing altruistic actions can help you, too. Studies show that prosocial behavior offers a sense of happiness and meaning. It encourages individuals around one, giving a much needed boost and positive moods.
Make Connections That Are Meaningful
Connect with people more meaningfully. In a hyper-connected world, we feel we are connected but most of us lack a deep bonding. Rather than doling out likes, find friends to interact with meaningfully and you can definitely benefit from this.
Don’t Gorge on Food
Another important trick is to eat till you feel slightly full. Studies have shown limiting calories lowers production of T3, a thyroid hormone that speeds up aging and slows down the metabolism. Eat balanced meals through the day including lean proteins, non-starchy veggies and mono or polyunsaturated fats like eggs, salmon, and avocados.
Get Enough Vitamin D
Getting exposure to vitamin D from the sun comes with many health benefits, including the promotion of bone growth and absorption of calcium. Excessive vitamin D raises chances of skin cancer if there is not enough protection. It is important to speak with doctors about how to get the right vitamin D in the system.
Cook at Home
Restaurants often include more sugar and salt in their meals to make these taste better. If one eats more, one can control the amount of sugar in the food. Make healthy tasty meals at home without adding more sugar. Cutting dietary sugar, for example, helps in leading longer, healthier and happier lives.
Eat Healthy Fats
The healthy fat in each meal leaves individuals satiated and prevents cravings. Choose whole milk for coffee, eggs for breakfast, almonds or nuts as snacks and avocado salad for lunch for example. Fat does not make you fat. Sugar does. So eat healthy fats throughout the day.
Cultivating happiness is important. It is essential to enjoy life and do things that make life meaningful for one. Activities can create a sense of purpose and so can nourishing the mind with intellectual stimulation. Research also states laughter boosts health. Laughing appears to boost the flow of blood by more than 20 percent and this reduces the proneness of heart diseases. Laughing wards off infections eliminates hay fever, eases pain and controls diabetes. Positive effects of laughing can last for over 45 minutes. Those with a positive outlook on life can live longer. Researchers have found optimistic individuals reduce early death risk by 50% compared to those who leaned more towards pessimism.
So adopt these useful tips and tricks to stay healthy and happy and have a long life. Life is all about maximizing your potential and to this end, a long, healthy and happy life is excellent for achieving your potential. Consider these dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes, if you want to remain stronger and healthier.