Unfortunately, science has yet to find a way to reverse the aging process. However, research has revealed tips that one can adopt if they’re looking to live longer.
While our genetics can influence our longevity, our daily habits will have a much bigger impact. In fact, one study published in the Scientific American found that our genes only have a 30% influence on how well we age. This means that the remaining 70% is as a result of our lifestyle habits.
So which lifestyle habits should we adopt if we want to live longer? Read on to find out what science says.
How To Live Longer
1. Build a social network
In addition to offering support and praise, friends and family can also help you live longer.
According to the British Medical Journal, loneliness and isolation can increase one’s risk for heart disease and stroke, hence the importance of maintaining strong social bonds (1).
Aside from helping to alleviate your stress levels, a study published in the Current Opinion in Psychiatry found that strong social bonds can help to decrease mortality risks.
2. Cook with turmeric
Lovers of spicy food are more than familiar with the curry spice that is turmeric. However, there’s another reason why it is so popular and that’s thanks to the compound that it contains: curcumin.
According to a 2006 animal study, curcumin was revealed to extend the lifespan of flies. Although studies have yet to prove that it can do this in humans, they have highlighted its ability to decrease inflammation. As inflammation is at the core of many chronic diseases, it is possible that curcumin can help to decrease one’s mortality risk (2).
3. Don’t smoke
Considering the fact that it’s the leading preventable cause of death, quitting smoking would definitely help you live longer. In fact, a 2013 study found that smokers can lose up to a decade of their lives.
Some people believe that vaping is a healthier and safer alternative to smoking yet the jury is still out on that thus it’s better to avoid both traditional smoking and vaping.
In addition to adding years to your life, quitting smoking can also provide a range of other health benefits. Click here to discover those incredible benefits.
4. Don’t sit still
For a lot of us, the majority of our work days are spent sitting in front of a laptop. Unfortunately, this practice isn’t only putting a strain on our necks and lower backs, but it’s also affecting our longevity.
According to a large-scale study published in the journal PLOS, sitting for long periods of time can actually shorten your lifespan. Also, a recent study found that older adults who spend long periods of time in front of the television are increasing their risk for cognitive decline (3).
While you may find it difficult to be active on an extremely busy workday, doing 10 minutes of light activity is enough to protect your health. Aside from investing in a standing desk, you can take a short walk every few hours during the day or even perform a few desk exercises at your station.
5. Drink responsibly
Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to an overall increased risk of early death, yet moderate drinking can help to boost your longevity (4). For women, moderate drinking habits equate to a glass a day, whereas many can enjoy two glasses a day.
In terms of your drink of choice, red wine is often touted as the best option due to the fact that it contains high levels of the compound resveratrol. The compound, which can also be found in pistachios, grapes and dark chocolate, has been linked to protection against heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Embrace nature
The greener your space, the longer your life.
If you don’t live near green spaces, bring nature to you by adopting a houseplant or even placing one at your work desk.
7. Enjoy chilies
The spicy side of life could be the key to your longevity.
Hot red chili peppers contain the active compound capsaicin and this ingredient has been linked to a number of health benefits. In addition to protecting against health concerns such as lung cancer, a study published in the journal PLOS revealed that chili peppers can help to reduce one’s mortality risk by 13%.
Try adding some spice to your life with this delicious stuffed chili-pepper recipe.
8. Get enough sleep
We live in a busy, fast-paced world and sometimes, we don’t get enough quality sleep.
However, this can be detrimental to our health, as sleep is the period that the body uses to heal itself. Poor sleep has been linked to an increased risk of depression, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. All of these factors can lead to a shorter life span.
If you’re having trouble getting some quality sleep, try adding these houseplants to the room as they are sure to help you fall asleep. That being said, it is important that you do not oversleep as one study linked excessive sleep to depression and obesity.
9. Have a sense of purpose
Having a sense of purpose and living a meaningful existence can help to add years to your life.
According to a study published in the Lancet, older adults who had a sense of purpose in their lives faced a 30% lower risk of passing away in the next few years.
10. Help out
Volunteering not only feels good but it also increases your lifespan.
A study from the University of Michigan discovered that volunteerism can help one live longer. Moreover, the study found that those who volunteer for selfish reasons are unlikely to reap the benefits of an extended life span.
11. Keep learning
You’re never too old to learn something new.
University degree holders have been proven to live longer, but not everyone is able to afford to further their education (7). However, this does not mean that you can’t pick up a good book. According to a study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, regular book readers have an added two years to their lives when compared to those who don’t read.
Aside from keeping the brain stimulated by reading books, one can also learn how to play an instrument. Here’s why music lessons after 40 is such a great idea.
In addition to alleviating stress and helping you become more in-tune with yourself, meditation can also encourage a longer life.
Telomerase are enzymes in the body that have been linked to protecting against cell damage and aging, thus helping you live longer. According to a study from the University of California, a group of participants who had participated in a three-month stay at a meditation retreat were revealed to have had a 30% increase in telomerase in their body.
You shouldn’t be the only one meditating in your family. That being said, here’s how your children can also benefit from meditating.
13. Only conscientious and positive thoughts
Conscientiousness refers to one’s ability to be organized, goal-orientated and self-disciplined. By practicing conscientiousness, one can be better-abled to make healthier choices that will benefit them in the long run.
According to a study that followed a large group of boys and girls into old age and published in the journal Health Psychology, the children that were considered more conscientious were found to have lived much longer.
In addition to being a more conscientious individual, positive thinking can also help to add years to your life.
Stress is inevitable but if you don’t get a handle on it, it can also be deadly as it’ll increase your risk of chronic diseases (8). A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that optimists face a 35% less risk of dying in the next five years when compared to those who are constantly in a negative mood. A separate study from Harvard also showed that lower risks of cancer, heart disease and stroke were found amongst optimistic people. A great way to have a positive attitude is to try and see the bright and funny side of everything as humorous people have been found to face a 47% lowered risk of death (4).
14. Snack on nuts
If you’re looking for healthy snacks, then nuts are the way to go.
Due to their rich nutrient density that includes antioxidants, fiber and omega 3’s, nuts can help to protect your longevity by fighting off chronic diseases. In fact, a study published in the Indian Heart Journal associated regular nut consumption with a lower risk of all-cause mortality. A separate study from Harvard University found that the daily consumption of nuts could actually decrease your risk of early death by 20%.
If you’re not sure which nuts to snack on, here are some of our favorites.
15. Stay active
A sedentary lifestyle is a sure way to increase your mortality.
If you’re not much of a gym fiend, a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that even 10 minutes of light exercise can help to extend your life.
16. Your longevity is directly affected by what you eat
When it comes to longevity, diet will always be a determining factor.
In regards to foods that can help to enhance longevity, Blue Zone diets are often seen as the perfect way to do so.
Blue Zones refers to areas around the world with the oldest living centenarians. When it comes to dietary practices, inhabitants of these regions make sure to consume a diet that’s extremely rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and almost void of sugar, processed goods and red meat.
Want to know more?
Adopting these habits will surely add years to your life because they’ll help you become healthier and they’ll also reduce your risk of chronic diseases. In addition to living a long and healthy life, it’s important that you also practice mental resilience during your time on earth.
Resilient individuals are able to rise above their situation and can place what has happened in perspective; they have the capacity to not take the situation personally, and to eventually find a solution. Click here to find out how you can become a more resilient individual.