A recent research showed that 4 worst behaviors, such as not consuming enough fruit and vegetables, smoking, not exercising, and drinking too much alcohol, can age you by at least 12 years.
Luckily, you can live longer by making a few changes in your life. It’s not enough to quit those 4 bad habits, though. There are some other things we all do that hustle us into the early grave.
Some factors that affect our longevity can’t be changed, but you can definitely alter the following habits:
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We live in the world where both men and women are guilty of smoking. While this habit doesn’t seem to be dangerous, it can kill you slowly. Women who smoke tend to have a host of health issues that they don’t link to their bad habit. Smoking negatively affects fertility, skin and lung health, blood pressure, and of course a lifespan. Men have the higher risk of various diseases and cancers, including lung cancer.
A research featured in the American Journal of Public Health stated that females who stop smoking by the age of 35, add 6 to 8 extra years to their lives. If your goal to celebrate your 100s, then kick your smoking habit right away. The worst is if you smoke and drink too much alcohol on a regular basis. Consider consulting a specialist to get rid of those habits.
2.Learn the rule of moderation
Speaking of drinking too much alcohol, this habit is self-destructing in all aspects of life. Not only can it significantly reduce your lifespan, but can also ruin your mental health. There’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine once in a while, but embrace the rule of moderation. Alcohol can be good for your health, but in small quantities. A 2010 research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found a link between light drinking (one drink daily for women and 1 to 2 drinks for men) to some heart benefits.
However, other studies have proven that women who consume more than 2 and men more than 3 drinks per day have a higher risk of premature aging as well as other health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
3.Embrace mindful eating
If you strive to hit your 100s, master the art of mindful eating. This means stopping stuffing your stomach until it hurts. Dan Buettner, a globally famous author who studies longevity worldwide, discovered that the oldest people in Japan stop eating as soon as they start feeling about 80% full. Is it their secret of longer lives? Not exactly, yet overeating can lead to numerous illnesses and diseases that cause either premature aging or death.
Researchers from the St. Louis University have found that eating less slows down the aging process. The 2008 study showed that reducing calorie intake helps to decrease the production of a thyroid hormone called T3, which slows the metabolic rate and aids in speeding up the aging process.
Have a glass of plain water before each meal and whenever you feel hungry and chew your food slowly, giving your brain and stomach understand when they’re full and satisfied.
Adjust your schedule so that you could commit at least 30 minutes to your meal, giving you enough time for chewing and tasting your food at a slow pace. Remove all the distractions, including your phone, TV, newspapers, social media, etc. Remember, it takes 15 to 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full.
If you have a habit of overeating, consider reducing your portion size, leaving the amount of food that you actually need to satisfy your belly.
4.Get enough sleep
If you’re happy you can function on several hours of sleep, wait until you turn 50 when you start feeling older than you are. Sleep is an essential part of our lives and not getting enough of quality sleep can lead to serious health issues and eventually shorten your life. The majority of the studies prove that a longer sleep time is linked with a lot better health.
Sleep deprivation is a serious concern these days but few people know they suffer from it. You’re getting enough sleep if you can wake up early and easily each morning and manage to stay alert and energized throughout the day.
The result of 16 studies that involved about 1.4 million people, showed that sleep deprivation increased the risk factor of cancer and death. According to the study, individuals who slept less than 7 or 5 hours a night were at 12 percent bigger risk of dying than those who slept 7 to 8 hours each night. Another study showed that both too much and too little sleep increased the rate of stroke and heart disease.
Scientists believe that sleep deprivation (especially chronic one) affects hormones that enhance appetite and reduce the energy levels, leading to blood sugar problems, obesity, and heart disease. Lack of sleep is also linked to the whole-body inflammation that can trigger cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers.
Anyway, if you want to live extra 10 years, make sure you go to bed before 11 pm and get at least 7 hours of sleep.
Related: 20 Easy Ways to Fall Asleep Faster
5.Munch on fruit and veggies
Both fruit and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses that can gift you extra 20 years of life if you make them a part of your meal. Numerous studies have found that having less than 3 portions of fruit and veggies throughout the day can increase the risk of the diseases and conditions that trigger premature aging.
Fruit and veggies are loaded with all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that ward off those diseases as well as improve your heart health and lower the risk of breast and prostate cancers.
Moreover, fruit and veggies possess antioxidants that improve circulation and fight inflammation. The best anti-aging fruits are grapes, berries, banana, apples, papaya, mangosteen, watermelon, pomegranate, kiwi, blackberries, and oranges. The best anti-aging veggies are tomatoes, kale, eggplant, red bell pepper, basil, Brussels sprouts, spinach, garlic, radishes, and others.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it’s vital to eat between 5 and 13 servings (which equals 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups) of fruit and veggies each day.
Unfortunately, we live in a technology-driven world where people stop communicating with each other in person. No matter how introverted you are and how great you feel when you are alone, you need family and friends and you need a real communication.
The latest review has shown that people who have a weak network of family and friends tend to age faster than easy-going individuals with a strong network.
Not only does loneliness increase the risk of mental diseases, including depression, but can also lead to a number of bad habits that can cut your lifespan in half. Lonely people often end up drowning their sorrow, fear, and depression in alcohol or by smoking.
7.Limit your exposure to the sun
Limiting your exposure to the sun to at least 10 minutes per hour or 30 minutes per day can reduce the risk of skin cancer as well as prevent saggy skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Whenever you head off outdoors, wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 to 25 that is believed to block 93 percent of UV rays. Be sure you wear a hat and sunglasses during the hot months, too. Sunglasses shouldn’t have to be pricey, but they must block at least 99 percent of UVB and UVA radiation.
Remember that UV rays are the most intense and harmful between 10 am and 4 pm. You can check the sun’s intensity by taking a simple shadow test. Stop for a minute and check out your shadow. If it is shorter than you, it means the sun’s rays are the strongest at this time of the day.
8.Stop watching TV
People who never have time for watching TV are more likely to live longer than those who even spend an hour in front of the screen. A 2010 research found that those who watched TV for more than 4 hours daily had 46% higher risk of death than people who either didn’t watch TV or watched it for less than 2 hours per day.
Even reduce your TV time a little can help you live longer. Every extra hour you spend watching TV boosts your risk factor of dying from heart disease by 18% and overall dying by 11%.
Of course, it highly depends on what you watch. The news, horror movies, and other shows that induce negative emotions are the ones you should avoid at all costs.
9.Become a vegetarian or vegan
Switching to a plant-based diet will give you a decade of extra life. The recent study revealed that both vegetarians and vegans have a much longer life expectancy than meat eaters.
According to the report, vegetarians tend to live on average nearly 8 years longer than those who consume animal products. The gap is highly similar to the one between nonsmokers and smokers.
A 2013 research that involved over 70,000 people showed that vegetarians and vegans had a 12% reduced risk rate of death compared with those who eat meat regularly. Since people on a plant-based diet consume little to no cholesterol and saturated fat that clog the arteries, they’re less prone to chronic diseases overall. Vegetarians and vegans have lower blood pressure, stronger heart health, and the higher energy levels.
Another research of 44,000 vegetarians reported that plant-based diet could reduce the likelihood of developing ischemic heart disease by about 32%. A series of studies have revealed that plant-based dieters are at a decreased risk for diabetes. Although a plant-based eating doesn’t cure diabetes, it helps to prevent obesity and blood sugar spikes that are often linked to type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, Californian researchers from the Loma Linda University who studied various types of the plant-based diet found that a vegetarian diet has the protective benefits. It helps to ward off different types of cancers. Unlike vegetarians though, vegans have the lowest risk factor of developing cancers, especially breast cancer.
10.Get busy in bed
If you’re in a long-term relationship or married, don’t skip sex. Studies have shown that having satisfying and healthy sex 2 to 3 times per week can give both partners as many as 3 extra years to life. Regular sex helps to improve sleep, manage blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, and protect the heart. Moreover, it helps to burn tons of calories, preventing obesity and diseases related to it.
Finally, it’s important to move your body and stay active throughout the day – even if you have a regular sex. Exercise is key to a longer life, if you do it correctly. A new 2018 research shows that a short amount of light physical activity is enough to live longer. It’s recommended that adults spend 2 hours and 30 minutes doing moderate-intensity workout weekly. But, in order to keep your heart strong and add 10 extra years of life, aim to walk or run for at least 30 minutes a day.
Why 30 minutes? According to the study, each 30 minutes of exercise per day – be it gardening, taking stairs, or a stroll in the park – can reduce the risk of an early death by 17%. Cleaning the house is considered a light exercise as well.
When it comes to exercise, be sure you don’t overdo it. Spending 3 hours in the gym each day won’t help you live longer and only exhausts your body.
No one knows how long they will live, but each of us is able to alter lifestyle so that we could live 10 or even 20 extra years. These changes seem to be frightening, but if you’re serious about expanding your lifespan, you have to take actions.