Health Spe­cial

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS -

Add years to your life

On the pages ahead, you will find a wide range of health ad­vice on what helps or hin­ders hu­man longevity, and what you can do to achieve a longer, fuller life. We know, there are no guar­an­tees. But ge­net­ics ac­count for just 25% of a per­son’s longevity. The rest is up to you. With this col­lec­tion of some of the most im­por­tant longevity find­ings, you’ll have the road map you need to get to 80, 90, 100 or be­yond.

1 Con­sider Ex­tra Vi­ta­min D

Vi­ta­min D, a bright byprod­uct of sun­light, has many health ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing a link to longevity. But too much vi­ta­min D in­creases your risk of dy­ing as much as too lit­tle, ac­cord­ing to a study. So you want to get the right amount. Don’t just rely on out­door time to get ex­tra vi­ta­min D; the rate of skin cancer rises as we age, so it’s im­por­tant to limit ex­po­sure. The smart plan: Ask your doc­tor if you would ben­e­fit from ex­tra D in pill form.

2 Please Go To Bed

Con­sis­tently sleep­ing less than six hours a night nearly dou­bles your risk of heart at­tack and stroke. Also, con­sis­tently sleep­de­prived peo­ple were 12% more likely to die than those who got six to eight hours of sleep a night. Th­ese tips can help en­sure that you get good qual­ity shut-eye: Make the room pitch dark. Ex­er­cise ev­ery day. Stick to a reg­u­lar sleep sched­ule, go­ing to bed and get­ting up at the same time each day. Shut down your elec­tron­ics an hour be­fore re­tir­ing, as the light from some de­vices can stim­u­late the brain. Re­place your mat­tress if it’s more than 10 years old.

3Ripeness Mat­ters

No, you won’t die from eat­ing un­der-ripe pro­duce, but new re­search shows that fully ripened fruit has more life-length­en­ing health ben­e­fits. For ex­am­ple, green ba­nanas are low in fi­bre and high in as­trin­gent tan­nins that can cause con­sti­pa­tion. Fully ripened pears and black­ber­ries have more disease-fight­ing an­tiox­i­dants. And in wa­ter­melon, a deep red colour sig­ni­fies more ly­copene, an an­tiox­i­dant that may re­duce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

4 Cut Back On Pain Pills

Reg­u­lar use of painkillers such as ibupro­fen and naproxen – in­clud­ing over­the-counter brands – may raise your risk of heart at­tack and stroke by 10%. Re­serve th­ese drugs for se­vere pain, and use the low­est pos­si­ble dose for the short­est amount of time. 5 Get (Or Stay) Hitched Mar­riage truly is good for your health – and your longevity. A study found that mar­ried men had a 46% lower risk of death than never-mar­ried men, in part due to mar­riage’s well-known im­pact on heart health. Also, mar­ried men and women had a 5% lower risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease. 6 Frozen Is Fine You can eat a bal­anced diet even when fresh fruits and vegeta­bles are out of sea­son, be­cause frozen can be as good as or even bet­ter for life-ex­tend­ing nu­tri­ents. Sci­en­tists found that fresh fruit can lose nu­tri­ents af­ter three days of re­frig­er­a­tion, while frozen fruits don’t suf­fer the same fate.

7 But Don’t Al­ways Go Right To Sleep

A Duke Univer­sity study that fol­lowed 252 peo­ple for 25 years con­cluded that fre­quent sex “was a sig­nif­i­cant pre­dic­tor of longevity” for men.

8 Say ‘Yes’ To That Ex­tra Cup

Cof­fee does more than help you wake up; it also re­duces your risk of stroke, di­a­betes and some can­cers. Also, peo­ple who drank three to five cups of cof­fee per day had about a 15% lower (risk of pre­ma­ture) mor­tal­ity com­pared to peo­ple who didn’t drink cof­fee.

9 Don’t Sweeten With Su­gar

A high-su­gar diet boosts blood su­gar, which in turn plays havoc with your heart by in­creas­ing lev­els of LDL choles­terol while low­er­ing heart-friendly HDL choles­terol, and tripling your risk for fa­tal car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease. The Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion rec­om­mends that women con­sume no more than 6 tea­spoons (25 grams) of added su­gar a day, and men no more than 9 tea­spoons (36 grams).

10 Spice It Up

Eat­ing hot chilli pep­pers may add years to your life. Not a fan of those pep­pers? Even a lit­tle spice can have health ben­e­fits. That’s be­cause the body pro­duces en­dor­phins to re­duce the heat from the cap­saicin in the pep­pers. Those en­dor­phins also re­duce pain and in­flam­ma­tion.

11 Eat Whole Grains

Eat­ing three or more serv­ings of whole grain each day can cut over­all death rate by about 20%, ac­cord­ing to a 2016 study from Har­vard Univer­sity’s T.H. Chan School of Pub­lic Health. Have some oat­meal or brown rice, or get ad­ven­tur­ous and go for quinoa or bar­ley.

12 Go Green

If cof­fee’s not your thing, green tea also has proven longevity cred, likely be­cause it con­tains pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dants known as cat­e­chins that may help com­bat di­a­betes and heart disease. Drink­ing five or more cups of green tea a day was associated with a 12% de­crease in mor­tal­ity among men and a 23% de­crease among women.

13Be Food Safe

Food poi­son­ing cases are on the rise. Even seem­ingly healthy foods – like sprouts, can­taloupe, berries and raw tuna – can make you sick or even kill you. Your ac­tion plan: Keep your kitchen pris­tine, wash your hands and uten­sils be­fore and af­ter han­dling food, sep­a­rate raw and cooked foods, re­frig­er­ate per­ish­able food promptly, and cook food to a safe tem­per­a­ture to kill deadly bac­te­ria.

14Eat Like The Greeks

The Mediter­ranean diet, with its re­liance on fruits, vegeta­bles, olive oil, fish and nuts, is one of the health­i­est di­ets for both over-all health and longevity. Re­searchers found that those who fol­lowed the diet most closely had longer telom­eres, which cap the end of each strand of DNA and pro­tect chro­mo­somes from dam­age. Even those who only spo­rad­i­cally fol­lowed the diet reaped longevity ben­e­fits, re­searchers found.

15Drink Whole Milk

You’ve been told for­ever to drink low-fat or skim milk, or to go for fat-free yo­ghurt. But re­search con­cluded that those who con­sumed the most dairy fat had a 50% lower risk of de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes, a disease that can shorten your life by eight to 10 years on av­er­age.

16Just Add Wa­ter

Stay­ing ad­e­quately hy­drated – mea­sured by urine that’s light yel­low or straw-coloured – can also help pro­long a healthy life by re­duc­ing the risk of blad­der and colon cancer and keep­ing kid­neys in tip-top shape. Bonus: It might even help you lose weight.

17Eat Your Veg­gies

In a study of 73,000 adults, most in their mid- to up­per 50s, vegetarians were 12% less likely than carnivores to have died from any cause dur­ing the six-year study pe­riod. A study found that mor­tal­ity rates were low­est over­all for pesco-vegetarians (those who eat fish oc­ca­sion­ally), fol­lowed by ve­g­ans (those who eat no an­i­mal prod­ucts), and lacto-ovo vegetarians (those who eat dairy and eggs).

18Drink Less (Here’s A Trick)

More-than-mod­er­ate al­co­hol con­sump­tion (gen­er­ally, more than one drink a day for women or more than two a day for men) leads to a shorter life span.

19 End The Day’s Eat­ing By 9 p.m.

Not only is eat­ing late bad for your waist­line – sleep­ing doesn’t ex­actly burn lots of calo­ries, it also in­creases the risk of heart disease by 55% for men, aged from 45 to 82, ac­cord­ing to a study.

20 Eat Less

If you want to reach 100, put down the spoon. Stop eat­ing when you feel 80% full. Cut­ting back calo­ries re­duced blood pres­sure, choles­terol and in­sulin re­sis­tance.

21Find Your Pur­pose

Do you wake up look­ing for­ward to some­thing? Re­searchers found that those with the high­est sense of pur­pose lived longer. In fact, do­ing some­thing that mat­ters – whether it’s help­ing your chil­dren or in­ter­act­ing in a com­mu­nity of like-minded folks – is cor­re­lated with seven ex­tra years of life.

22Save Your Pen­nies

Money might not make you hap­pier, but it will help you live longer. A study found that peo­ple whose in­come bracket was in the top 1% lived nearly 15 years longer than those in the bot­tom 1%. The dis­par­ity could be at­trib­uted to health­ier be­hav­iours in higher-in­come groups, in­clud­ing less smok­ing and lower obe­sity rates, re­searchers say.

Peo­ple re­sid­ing at higher al­ti­tudes tend to live longer. Re­searchers think lower oxy­gen lev­els might cause your body to adapt in ways that strengthen your heart and cir­cu­la­tion.

23Con­sider Moun­tain Life

Peo­ple re­sid­ing at higher al­ti­tudes tend to live longer. Re­searchers think lower oxy­gen lev­els might cause your body to adapt in ways that strengthen your heart and cir­cu­la­tion.

24 Do What You Love

Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a sense of awe – such as when view­ing the Hi­malayas or lis­ten­ing to your fa­vorite mu­sic – may boost the body’s de­fense sys­tem. The things we do to ex­pe­ri­ence th­ese emo­tions – a walk in na­ture, los­ing one­self in mu­sic, be­hold­ing art – has a di­rect in­flu­ence upon health and life ex­pectancy.

25Keep Watching Funny Videos

Laugh­ter re­ally is the best medicine, help­ing to re­duce stress, boost the im­mune sys­tem, re­duce pain and im­prove blood flow to the brain. In fact, laugh­ter has the same ef­fect on blood ves­sels as ex­er­cise.

26You Need To Read

Sounds like we made it up, but sci­en­tific re­search sup­ports the longevity ben­e­fits of reading – news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines will do, but books are the best. As lit­tle as a half-hour a day of book reading had a sig­nif­i­cant sur­vival ad­van­tage over those who did not read.

Dog own­ers are more likely to be phys­i­cally ac­tive, and are also less vul­ner­a­ble to the ef­fects of stress.

27Get So­cial

Stud­ies show that lone­li­ness in­creases the risk of early death by 45%. It weak­ens the im­mune sys­tem and raises blood pres­sure while in­creas­ing the risk for heart at­tacks and stroke. By con­trast, peo­ple with strong ties to friends and fam­ily have as much as a 50% lower risk of dy­ing, ac­cord­ing to a study.

28Toss That Rug

One of the top risks for falls at home is throw rugs. Those slip­slidey ac­coun­trements send many older adults to the emer­gency room each year. Ban­ish th­ese rugs from your home, and make sure bath mats have a non­slip bot­tom.

29Va­ca­tion… Or Else

Not tak­ing time off work might, in­deed, be deadly. One study of men at high risk for coro­nary artery disease found that those who failed to take an­nual va­ca­tions were 32% more likely to die of a heart at­tack. And, women who va­ca­tioned just once ev­ery six years were eight times more likely to de­velop coro­nary artery disease or have a heart at­tack than women who va­ca­tioned twice a year.

30Em­brace Your Faith

At­tend­ing re­li­gious ser­vices once a week has been shown to add be­tween four and 14 years to life ex­pectancy, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers.

31Get A Friend With Four Legs

A few stud­ies on the link be­tween pet own­er­ship and health have found that own­ing a pet can re­duce anx­i­ety, lower blood pres­sure, even im­prove the odds of sur­viv­ing a heart at­tack. Dog own­ers are more likely to be phys­i­cally ac­tive, and are also less vul­ner­a­ble to the ef­fects of stress.

While baby-sit­ting ev­ery day is stress­ful, reg­u­larly watching the grand­kids can lower your risk of dy­ing by a third. Care­giv­ing gives grand­par­ents a sense of pur­pose, and keeps them men­tally and phys­i­cally ac­tive.

32 Watch Your Grand­kids

While baby-sit­ting ev­ery day is stress­ful, reg­u­larly watching the grands can lower your risk of dy­ing by a third. This adds up to an ex­tra five years of life, re­searchers say. They spec­u­late that care­giv­ing gives grand­par­ents a sense of pur­pose, and keeps them men­tally and phys­i­cally ac­tive.

33Take The Stairs – Ev­ery Day

Tak­ing the stairs in­stead of the el­e­va­tors re­duced the risk of dy­ing pre­ma­turely by 15%. What’s more, a daily stair climb shaves six months off your ‘brain age’, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers. Gray mat­ter shrinks nat­u­rally with age, but less so when peo­ple stay ac­tive.

34Bet­ter Yet, Walk

What’s the best pre­scrip­tion for a longer life? Ex­er­cise. And doc­tors are lit­er­ally pre­scrib­ing it in­stead of med­i­ca­tion. There is no pill that comes close to what ex­er­cise can do. It ben­e­fits your brain, heart, skin, mood and me­tab­o­lism. Even as lit­tle as 10 min­utes of brisk walking can help (that’s all it takes to burn off the calo­ries of one choco­late chip cookie). Once you can do 10 min­utes, push it to 15. Then 20. 35Make Peace With Fam­ily While we of­ten stress about small stuff – the guests are here and we’re not ready! – it’s the nag­ging, long-run­ning forms of stress, such as a fam­ily dis­pute, that put your longevity at risk. Chronic stress has­tens the cel­lu­lar de­te­ri­o­ra­tion that leads to pre­ma­ture ag­ing and a vast ar­ray of se­ri­ous dis­eases, ac­cord­ing to long-run­ning re­search. The rem­edy: Come to peace with the peo­ple in your life. For­give your fam­ily, for­give your­self, put the past be­hind you – so you can have more life in front of you.

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