People often ask me what are the daily habits holding back their natural longevity that they can change today. Now, to be clear, we’re not talking about sci-fi longevity ideas. We are focussing on some simple daily habits that many of us repeat without realizing we can influence our natural longevity by changing them. You have more control over your health than you think!
It goes without saying that what and how much you eat has the greatest impact on your health. If you smoke, you will be taking a fast route into the aging zone. However, there are other key influencers that can be easily changed and will have almost an immediate effect on how you look and feel.
1. Not drinking enough water
Drinking more water has to be the easiest and cheapest way to better health. It’s easier than you think, but admittedly many people struggle to drink enough water.
Invest in a good, affordable water filter, and you will have great water on hand all day long. You can infuse your drinking water with lemons, mint, cucumbers, and even strawberries to add variety to the taste. Sparkling mineral water is often preferred over still water, but be careful not to drink too much as it can be acidic in your body.
Kick-start your day with hot water and lemon. It’s an excellent way to reboot your metabolism.
Good hydration is essential for your digestion, fat loss, and energy. You need to drink 1 – 3 liters a day at least. Don’t get too analytical about it. Just do it. I have a reusable metal water bottle that keeps my water how I want it. Hot or cold and on hand, so I don’t forget to drink.
Water suppresses the urge to splurge
It’s a calorie-free substitute for liquids like coffee, sodas, lattes, and other popular beverages.
Hydration helps your digestion and reduces bloating and fatigue. It’s a must if you want glowing, clear skin and natural longevity.
2. Drinking (too much) alcohol will hold back your natural longevity
Call me a killjoy, but hey, we just have to deal with the facts here. Of course, people love to drink, that’s why it is such a massively profitable industry.
When it comes to your health, the fact is, drinking alcohol has no nutritional value at all. It’s actually a powerful stimulant that can relax or excite you, affects your mood, sleep quality, and definitely your waistline. Drinking too much can also be extremely dangerous to your health in the long term.
It’s a quick and often expensive thrill.
Alcohol is full of calories. As for me, I just have to look at white wine and my fat handles grow. So if you are going to drink, choose carefully and drink in moderation.
Here is a list of some popular alcoholic beverages, courtesy of Medline Plus. They list serving sizes and the number of calories in each.
|Beer (light)||12 oz (355 ml)||103|
|Beer (regular)||12 oz (355 ml)||153|
|Beer (higher alcohol, craft beers)||12 oz (355 ml)||170 to 350|
|Gin (80 proof)||1.5 oz (45 ml)||97|
|Gin (94 proof)||1.5 oz (45 ml)||116|
|Rum (80 proof)||1.5 oz (45 ml)||97|
|Rum (94 proof)||1.5 oz (45 ml)||116|
|Vodka (80 proof)||1.5 oz (45 ml)||97|
|Vodka (94 proof)||1.5 oz (45 ml)||116|
|Whiskey (80 proof)||1.5 oz (45 ml)||97|
|Whiskey (94 proof)||1.5 oz (45 ml)||116|
|Coffee liqueur||1.5 oz (45 ml)||160|
|Coffee liqueur with cream||1.5 oz (45 ml)||154|
|Crème de menthe||1.5 oz (45 ml)||186|
|Bloody Mary||4.6 oz (136 ml)||120|
|Chocolate martini||2.5 oz (74 ml)||418|
|Cosmopolitan||2.75 oz (81 ml)||146|
|Daiquiri||2.7 oz (80 ml)||137|
|Highball||8 oz (235 ml)||110|
|Hot buttered rum||8 oz (235 ml)||292|
|Mai Tai||4.9 oz (145 ml)||306|
|Margarita||4 oz (120 ml)||168|
|Mimosa||4 oz (120 ml)||75|
|Mint Julep||4.5 oz (135 ml)||165|
|Mojito||6 oz (177 ml)||143|
|Pina colada||6.8 oz (200 ml)||526|
|Rum and Coke||8 oz (235 ml)||185|
|Rum and Diet Coke||8 oz (235 ml)||100|
|Tequila sunrise||6.8 oz (200 ml)||232|
|Vodka and tonic||7 oz (207 ml)||189|
|Whiskey sour||3 oz (89 ml)||125|
|White Russian||8 oz (235 ml)||568|
|White table wine||5 oz (145 ml)||128|
|Gewurztraminer||5 oz (145 ml)||128|
|Muscat||5 oz (145 ml)||129|
|Riesling||5 oz (145 ml)||129|
|Chenin Blanc||5 oz (145 ml)||129|
|Chardonnay||5 oz (145 ml)||128|
|Sauvignon Blanc||5 oz (145 ml)||128|
|Fume Blanc||5 oz (145 ml)||128|
|Pinot Grigio||5 oz (145 ml)||128|
|Dry dessert wine||3.5 oz (90 ml)||157|
|Red table wine||5 oz (145 ml)||125|
|Petite Sirah||5 oz (145 ml)||125|
|Merlot||5 oz (145 ml)||122|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||5 oz (145 ml)||122|
|Red Zinfandel||5 oz (145 ml)||129|
|Burgundy||5 oz (145 ml)||122|
|Pinot Noir||5 oz (145 ml)||121|
|Claret||5 oz (145 ml)||122|
|Syrah||5 oz (145 ml)||122|
|Red dessert wine||3.5 oz (90 ml)||165|
You get the drill. Now, is it worth the thrill?
The reality is your body cannot store alcohol. It has to rush to convert it into energy to get rid of it as soon as possible. This distracts your system from burning fat and instead, it has to be hard at work metabolizing the alcohol until it is out of your system.
Drinking alcohol can also increase your appetite, especially the next day. Think about how you feel after drinking a lot of alcohol the evening before? You wake up wanting to devour calorie rich food… right?
Alcohol dehydrates you. You will not sleep properly. It also takes away your focus and makes you feel lethargic. Make it a treat, not a habit, and it will change your life, your looks, and your natural longevity.
3. Letting your stress get out of control
Most of us are guilty of this. Stress management is such a challenge. When stress runs riot, you will eat badly, drink more alcohol, take other stimulants or medication to counteract it, and end up damaging your health and losing years of your life.
Stress management is not a doddle, but if you commit to a good daily routine, you can at least keep this monster under control. Explore different methods. Here are my favorite few:
I can’t say enough. It’s not rocket science. Eat hearty home-cooked meals that are primarily plant-based. Fewer carbs, more plants, and all in moderation, with naturally grown ingredients. Enjoy wholesome meals cooked with love and leave the junk alone!
Sleep and exercise are both keys to controlling stress. Exercise releases endorphins into your body, which counteract any stress and anxiety naturally and make you feel great. Sleep is critical to our body’s restoration. We all know this, but again it is one of those healthy habits that are hard to stick to.
If you’re struggling to sleep properly, look at what may be holding you back. Have you optimized your sleep space? Put away all your devices. Are you having enough sex? It’s a great sleep remedy.
Today, with legal access to CBD, you can find relief. If natural remedies aren’t helping, and you’ve tried everything else, then please seek professional help. Don’t wait for sleep to become a chronic condition.
Exercise is medicine. There are countless studies to prove this. Too many to even cite in this article.
Not all of us are born to run (or even go to the gym). So the key to moving regularly without it being burdensome is finding an exercise routine you like. Even if it is just walking, and doing it every day. Then challenge yourself by engaging in more cardio exercises. When you get your heart pumping and muscles moving, you will see your life shift into a great space. As you age, muscle strengthening exercises are key. Even if you love walking and yoga-like me, I have to commit to cardio at least three times a week to keep the slack at bay.
Find a friend to exercise with or join a group. Social pressure can work very well, and it is all for a great cause. Best of all, if you can combine exercise and get out into nature, you will get the double effect of boosting your serotonin as well as your vitamin D levels. Both of which are critical to good health and longevity.
Take time each day to meditate. Find a good guided meditation – there are so many to choose from these days online – and commit to 20 minutes a day.
Meditation teaches gratitude and living in the present. It slows the mind and calms the body. Which is a good stress reliever. The more you practice, the better you will get until it just becomes a normal and enjoyable part of your daily routine.
The road to better health and natural longevity is not for those few who are more advantaged or have access to some super-secret new scientific solution. Small incremental shifts daily, like those listed above, will go a long way to ensuring you live happier, longer, and healthier.
Medline Plus: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000886.htm .
Nielsen SJ, Kit BK, Fakhouri T, Ogden CL. Calories consumed from alcoholic beverages by U.S. adults, 2007-2010. NCHS Data Brief. 2012;(110):1-8. PMID: 23384768 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23384768/.
U.S. Department of Agriculture; Agricultural Research Service website. FoodData Central, 2019. fdc.nal.usda.gov.