If you’re like many people, you may believe that longevity is largely determined by genetics. But here’s the thing…While genes do play somewhat of a role, lifestyle factors and diet are more important. Therefore, a few changes to your daily habits could add years to your life. Here’s how changing your ways could help you live longer.
Who amongst us hasn’t over-indulged occasionally? Especially now, during periods of social isolation. But while an occasional overindulgence is somewhat acceptable, overeating regularly could shave years from your life. And that’s worrisome for a country that consumes more calories per day than any other country in the world.
According to medical recommendations, the average daily calorie intake for women should be 1800 to 2000, and 2000 to 2400 calories for men. Of course, depending on height and weight, that number could vary. The problem is, the average American consumes over 3,600 calories per day, according to growing trends in the American diet on Pew Research — and that shouts obesity.
According to research, reducing calorie intake as a way to increase the length and quality of life has been practiced successfully for more than 500 years. In fact, animal studies suggest that when calories were reduced by 10 to 50 percent a day, rodents lived longer than those fed a normal diet. Studies involving humans known for longevity also found a link between lower calories and extended life span. Extreme calorie restriction over an extended period is not recommended. However, lowering your daily calorie intake can lead to reduced body and belly fat, which are linked to premature death.
Add turmeric to your diet
The medicinal and longevity properties of spices like turmeric have been recognized for centuries. More recently, science is producing evidence to show that turmeric may benefit cancer protection and memory. Turmeric’s main compound, curcumin, helps relieve long-term inflammation and may improve brain health, in particular. In fact, research published in Cancer Research UK shows that curcumin in turmeric seems to kill cancer cells, particularly in the breast, stomach, bowel, and skin. In addition, it also seems to prevent more cancer cells from growing.
Add turmeric to your meals, shakes, salads, and tea. Don’t forget to add a pinch of black pepper to increase absorption.
Most people are well-aware of how incredibly exercise can benefit your life. Evidence has now proven that exercise not only strengthens your body, mind, and spirit; it can actually slow the aging process on a cellular level and potentially add years to your life. Additionally, a JAMA Network open study found that those who don’t exercise have an increased risk of dying from premature death. More than even cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and smoking.
Stop smoking now!
It’s never too late to benefit from kicking the habit. Becoming smoke-free not only adds years to your life, but you’ll also breathe more easily and cough less thanks to your lung capacity improving by up to 10 percent, according to research. Those who ditch their cigarette habit by the age of 30 add 10 years to their life. Those who quit at 60 add 3 years to their life.
Don’t worry, be happy
According to research published by Penn Arts and Science, Positive Psychology website, maintaining happiness helps you perform better at work and have better relationships. In addition, happiness builds a stronger immune system and lets you sleep better at night. All of this translates to living longer. But how do you obtain happiness? Happiness is fleeting, after all, isn’t it?
Experts suggest the recipe for happiness includes a mixture of traits like being optimistic and resilient. Nourish those traits with behaviors such as gratitude and kindness to others, and hold it all together with a strong sense of purpose.
Maintain a sense of purpose
According to research published in the journal Psychological Science, those who feel they have a sense of purpose in life live longer. Researchers looked at data from over 6,000 participants. They focused on their self-reported purpose in life over the 14-year follow-up period. Out of the group, nine percent or 569 of the participants had died. And those who died had previously reported feeling lower purpose in life than the survivors. That means setting goals and finding your direction in life may be pivotal for longevity. And the sooner in life you begin, the better.
If you’re a bit of an introvert, maybe it’s time to get out there and forge new friendships. Research suggests that people with strong social connections may live longer and have healthier lives.
Notedly, Italians, known for longevity on the island of Sardinia, attribute long life partly to the strong ties they maintain with family and friends.
Sleep six to seven hours per night
A large sleep study involving over one million participants, over a six-year period, found that sleeping six to seven hours a night increased longevity. More than that, and you’re just not getting any benefits. In fact, the study found that there was a 12 percent higher risk of death for those who reported getting more than 8.5 hours or less sleep than the accepted standard of eight hours. Better set your alarm clock.
Take a lesson from those who live longest
The Japanese live longer on average and have one of the highest life expectancies. Okinawa, known as ‘the land of immortals’, has been a center for longevity research. The credit for this is given to their diet, which includes lots of tofu and sweet potato, and a small amount of fish. In addition, Okinawans maintain active social circles and a strong community. The result: lower levels of stress, a strong sense of belonging, and longer lives.