How to Stay Healthy: 23 Habits that Linked to Longevity

How to Stay Healthy: 23 Habits that Linked to Longevity

Many people believe that family history determines longevity. However, genes don't play a large role in determining whether someone has an illness. It turns out that lifestyle factors like diet and a healthy lifestyle play a key role.

Given how sick Americans are, you might think disease waits for you at every door, urinal, handshake, and fast food. However, in reality, many diseases can be avoided. According to past data, up to 40% of the 900,000 annual deaths in America don't even need to happen at all.

Some of the most common causes of these health issues can be stopped simply by making some positive lifestyle changes. To ensure you stay fit for years to come, read on to learn more and to ensure your health.

Here are 23 habits associated with longevity.

1. Avoid overeating

The link between calorie consumption and longevity currently generates a great deal of interest. Studies show that a 10–50 % reduction in normal calorie intake increases maximum lifespan.

Studies of human populations known for longevity also observe links between low-calorie intake, an increased lifespan, and a lower incidence of disease. More importantly, calorie restriction may help prevent obesity and belly fat, both associated with shorter lifespans.

Long-term calorie restriction is usually unsustainable and can include negative effects such as increased hunger, decreased body temperature, and a reduced sex drive. It's not clear whether calorie restriction slows aging or increases your lifespan.

2. Eat more nuts

Nuts are rich in protein, fiber, and antioxidants, and they contain lots of beneficial plant compounds. More importantly, they're a great source of several nutrients, including copper, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6.

Studies show that nuts have beneficial health effects on heart disease, hypertension, inflammation, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and some types of cancer.

A study found that people who ate at least three servings of nuts per week were less likely to die prematurely than people who didn't eat nuts. Those who eat nuts have a 4–27% reduced risk of dying during the period studied. The greatest reductions were seen in those who ate one serving of nuts each day.

3. Try turmeric

Turmeric is one of the best options for anti-aging. That’s why this spice contains a powerful bioactive compound called turmeric. Curcumin has been shown to help maintain brain, liver, heart, lung, and immune system function, as well as prevent cancer and age-related disease.

Turmeric has been known for its natural anti-inflamma­tory properties for centuries, and the Mayo Clinic states that it could have a positive impact on many different diseases, includ­ing inflammatory bowel disease, type II diabetes, and cancer. If you start taking care of your inflammation now, you'll stay healthy for the rest of your life.

4. Lift weight

Weight lifting is still mainly associated with men. Fortunately, that stereotype is changing. It's not just great for men, but it's also one of the best ways women can stay healthy as they get older.

After the age of 40, women lose about half an inch per decade of height due mainly to osteoporosis. After age 70, the rate at which height is lost increases. That's why women need to start strength training at age 40.

Strength training has been shown to improve bone density by putting stress on bones. Researchers recently found that even lightweights—as low as 20 percent of the maximum weight they could lift—can increase bone density in women if they perform the exercise for at least an hour per week.

5. Avoid ultra-processed foods

Instead of filling your pantry and fridge with processed junk, fill them with healthy foods like fresh fruits and veggies instead. "By eating a healthy diet that focuses on vegetables, healthy sources for protein, and whole grains, you can prevent many chronic diseases," says Nate Favini MD, chief medical lead.  It includes heart disease, diabetes, and different types of cancer, among others.

6. Eliminate Inflammation

Many people experience increased fatigue, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, brain fog, or subtle digestive disorders when they develop an inflammatory condition in their bodies. If you don't address these issues, they could lead to something worse later on.

Over time, these subtle low-lying signs can turn into major life-altering illnesses, such as cancer and diabetes. The key to living disease-free at any age is to melt away the inflammatory cells. By following the anti-inflammatory diet, you can begin to repair damage in your body that impacts you from living day to day life of your dreams.

7. Eat plenty of plant foods

Eating a wide variety of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, and dairy products, may help prevent chronic diseases and promote longevity.

For example, some studies show that a plant-rich diet may help prevent premature death, and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, depression, and brain health. Plant foods contain nutrients and antioxidants, including polyphenols, carotenoids, folate, vitamin C, and others.

According to some studies, a vegetarian or vegan diet may be linked to a 12–15 percent lower risk of premature death. The same studies also show a 29–52% reduced risk of dying from cancer, heart, kidney, or hormonal-related diseases.

However, other studies reported either no link at all or much weaker links between red meat consumption and cancer. Vegetarians and veg­ans generally tend to be more healthy than meat-eaters, so they may be more likely to adopt healthier life. Eating lots of plants is likely to benefit your overall health and longevity.

8. Be physically active

It shouldn't be surprising that regular exercise can help you stay healthy and add years to your life. As little as 15 minutes of exercise every day may help you achieve health benefits, including an extra three years of life.

Furthermore, your risk for premature death may decrease by four percent for every fifteen minutes of daily physical activity. A recent study found that people who exercise regularly are at a reduced risk of early death, even if they exercise less than the recommended 150 min per week.

People who met the 150-minute recommendation had a 28% lower risk of dying early than people who didn't meet the recommendation. Furthermore, that number was 42% for those who exercised more than this guide. Finally, there is evidence that shows high-intensity interval training exercise has a greater impact than low- or moderate-intensity exercises.

9. Quit smoke

Smoking is strongly linked with disease and early death. Overall, smoking may shorten your life by up to 10 years and increase your risk of dying early by three times.

Remember that it’s always too late to quit. A study shows that people who quit smoking by age 30 may live longer than people who won't quit until they're older. Quitting smoking in your 60s could add up to three and a half years to your life. Quitting in your 80s may still provide some health benefits.

10. Reduce alcohol intake

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to liver, heart, pancreatic, and overall increased risks of early death.

Moderate consumption is associated with a decreased likelihood of several diseases and a 17–18% reduction in your risk of premature mortality. Polyphenols are particularly beneficial because they contain large amounts of antioxidants.

Men who prefer wine are 34 % less likely to die early compared to those who prefer beer. One study found that red wine was particularly effective at protecting against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological diseases, and metabolic syndrome.

Women should aim to consume no more than 2 units of alcohol per day and no more than 7 units per week. Men should limit their daily intake to less than three units, with a maximum weekly intake of 14.

11. Prioritize happiness

Feeling happy can significantly improve your health. Happier people had a 3.7% reduction in early death over 5 years, according to a new study. Those who felt happiest when they were 22 years old were 2.5 times as likely to still be alive 60 years later.

Finally, a review found that happier people may live up to an additional 18% longer than their unhappier counterparts. Eating a healthy diet is important for fighting off diseases. Another thing most people don't know is that just as important as reducing the things that don’t bring you joy is focusing on your happiness.

Find ways to relieve stress in your life." Delete the things that create tension and stress and increase the things that bring happiness. Spend as much time as possible enjoying the things you love and spending time with the people you love.

12. Avoid chronic stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety may shorten your life. For example, women suffering from stress and anxiety are reportedly twice as likely to die from heart diseases, strokes, or lung cancers. Similarly, the risk for premature death is up to 3x higher for anxious or stressed males compared to their more relaxed ones.

If you're feeling stressed, laughter and positivity could be two key components to solving the problem. Studies show that pessimists have a 42% higher chance of dying earlier than optimists. However, both laughing and a positive outlook on life can reduce stress, which may potentially prolong your life.

13. Connect with your social network

Researchers say that maintaining healthy social networks may help you live up to 66% longer. It turns out that having just 3 close friends may lower your risk of early death. Studies also show that having a healthy social network, and healthy habits can help improve your health, including reducing your risk for chronic diseases.

A strong social network may also help you cope with stress better, which could explain why having a stronger social network has been shown to increase life expectancy. Finally, one study reported that providing support to others was more beneficial than receiving it! You should also consider returning the favor by helping out your friends and family when they need help.

14. Be conscientious

Conscientiousness refers to a person's ability to be self-controlled, organized, efficient, goal-oriented, and disciplined. A study found that children who were considered persistent, orderly, and disciplined lived 11 percent longer than their less conscientious peers.

Those who are conscientious may also have lower blood pressures and fewer psychiatric conditions, and they have a lower risk of diabetes, risk for heart disease, and joint problems.

It could be partly because conscientious people are less likely to take risky behaviors or react negatively to stress. They're also more likely to succeed professionally and to be responsible for their health.

15. Drink coffee or tea

Coffee and tea both have health benefits. For example, the polyphenols, catechins, and caffeine found in green tea may lower your risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Similarly, coffee is associated with a lower risk of type two diabetes, risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and brain ailments, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's. Both coffee and tea drinkers benefit significantly from a 20–30% lower risk of early death than non-drinkers.

Remember that too much caffeine can cause anxiety and insomnia, so if you're going to drink coffee, limit yourself to the recommended daily dose of around 4 cups of coffee. It’s important to note that it usually takes 6 hours for caffeine’s effects to wear off. If you have trouble sleeping well, you might want to shift your intake so that you get more high-quality sleep earlier in the day.

16. Have a good sleep pattern

Sleep is essential for regulating cell function and keeping your body healthy. A recent study suggests that people who sleep regularly tend to live longer than those who don't.

Both too little and too much sleep seems to be bad for you. For example, sleeping less than 5 to 7 hours per night increases your risk of early death by 12%, whereas sleeping more than 8 to 9 hours per night decreases your life expectancy by up to 38%.

Not enough sleep may also promote inflammation, which increases your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. All these things are linked to a shorter lifespan. Excessive sleep could be linked to poor mental health, low physical activity, or undiagnosed health issues, which may negatively impact your lifespan.

17. Take probiotics

Now is the best time to start adding probiotics into your life by either supplementing or eating fermented food.  Fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt give your gut health a boost by making it easier for you to digest food. It can also help prevent or cure certain diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn's disease.

18. Pay attention to your diet

What you put into your body can greatly affect how well you fight off illness. By eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, you'll be setting your body up for an extended lifespan.

A Western diet, which contains a high proportion of processed foods, can unknowingly cause an inflammatory environment in your body. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, berries, fatty fish (like salmon), and olive oil can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Avoid these foods: sugar-sweetened beverages, red meats, white flours, and fried or fatty food.

19. Limit refined carbs

It's increasingly clear that refined carbohydrates and sugars drive many chronic illnesses. They cause us to gain weight; this leads to elevated blood sugar, blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

When you replace refined carbs with vegetables, fruits, and other wholesome foods. you will experience weight loss, be healthier, and live longer.

20. Use the right oils

Cooking with oil is basic.  When you use it, make sure you're choosing the right kind of oil. While trans fats and vegetable oils are high in saturated fat, using plant-based oils containing monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats in moderate amounts—like extra-viral olive oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil—can promote cardiovascular health.

21. Enjoy food

How often do you watch your favorite TV show while eating a meal? Next time when you cook for yourself, don't eat in front of the TV. Instead, sit down at the table to enjoy your meal. It's a small thing, but it can make an enormous difference in your quality of life.

More and more evidence shows that how we eat affects not just what we eat but also our overall health. A recent study showed that people perceived food as tasting better when they took a moment to appreciate their meal with whatever means or ritual that they preferred.

22. Take care of oral hygiene

Your teeth don't seem like they're related to your overall health, but there is some truth to that. According to Harvard Medical school, people who suffer from periodontal disease have twice the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening events.

The idea is that gum disease causes inflammation in the body, which leads to other health conditions. Even though more research needs to be done, brushing and flossing every day will only benefit you in the long term.

23. Stay away from refined sugar

Sugar isn't always bad for you: fruits have a healthy source of sugar. On the other hand, the white stuff you buy at the grocery store isn't healthy.

Eating too many sweets has been linked to almost any disease that your diet can affect, so keeping it in control is important for healthy living. Be mindful of how often you're indulging in those cookies and other baked goods, pasta, bagels and cold cereals, and candies.

And staying away from those sneaky sugars like juice, soda, bottled dressings, fat-free foods, and anything else that tastes good but isn't healthy.

Final Thoughts

Longevity may seem out of your control, but many healthful habits may help you live longer. These include drinking coffee, and tea, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and limiting your caffeine intake.

These habits taken together can help you improve your health and put you down the path to a long and healthy life.