People have spent centuries looking for the Fountain of Youth, hoping to stay young and prolong their lives. We now know that the real gold is in aging as well as we can by embracing a reasonably healthy lifestyle. We’re here to share the great news that there are some healthy habits you can adopt to help you live longer and better! A recent study conducted by researchers out of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that your lifestyle choices do indeed make all the difference.
The Harvard Study
This 2018 study looked at existing information on thousands of men and women to see if there were patterns that might tell them why some people live longer than others.
They found that a healthy lifestyle played an essential role in how long people lived. According to the study, certain lifestyle factors can reduce the risk of death associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer. The earlier you start, the better, but adhering to these five standards by age 50 could add 14 years to your life.
Five Healthy Habits That Can Extend Your Life
1. Refrain From Smoking
This comes as a surprise to no one. But it’s important to reinforce avoiding the use of tobacco products as this is the most influential factor in living longer. Although the number of people still lighting up continues to drop, cigarettes are not completely out of style. Just one cigarette a day can result in cancer and heart disease later on in life. Also, younger people, especially teens, have taken up vaping and e-cigarettes. Studies are still emerging on this hot group of products, but fundamentally it is just another way to introduce chemicals from tobacco into their bodies. Lung disease and early death are a risk from use of any form of tobacco.
The numbers might surprise you, but about 12 percent of women and 16 percent of men are still habitual smoking. And an alarming 3.6 million high school students admit to using e-cigarettes for vaping. Estimates are that smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year.
2. Remain Physically Active
If you’re reading this while sitting, let this be the little voice that reminds you to get up and move. A sedentary lifestyle is a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. It also increases your risk of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, and mental illness.
Most people know by now that exercise should be part of their daily lives, but how important is it? The study found that the people living the longest did at least 3.5 hours a week, about 30 minutes daily, of moderate to vigorous activity. You can reach this goal by going swimming, dancing, or our favorite - taking a brisk walk with your furry friend.
3. Limit Yourself to Moderate Alcohol Intake
There has been some toss-up on the effect of alcohol on your life. Some studies say that drinking helps you live longer while others say it contributes to chronic illnesses that take years from your life. This study in particular shows that you can still drink, but there is a limit you should try to follow. The U.S Department of Health Dietary Guidelines lists moderate alcohol intake as one drink per day for women and two for men.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Generally, body mass index (BMI) is the tool that measures healthy weight and excess body fat. The study lists a healthy BMI as 18.5 to 24.9, so you’ll want to be within this range. You can calculate your BMI manually, but the math is a bit tricky. Talk to your doctor about calculating your BMI, or use one of the free tools online.
5. Eat a High-Quality Diet
We all know nutrition is a big part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can be confusing to know exactly what you should include in your diet. The study used a tool called the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) to determine what a high-quality diet looks like. The AHEI allows you to develop a score based on the number of daily servings you eat certain foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The goal is to follow a diet that is rich in foods that can help prevent chronic illnesses. The study suggests a score of 40% or higher as the standard for a high quality diet.
Along with following these guidelines, you can enhance your food choices and maintain a balanced diet by using high-quality supplements. One takeaway from this study is that even if we know the steps to take toward healthier living, we need support and reminders. From probiotics to multivitamins and more, Life’s Abundance nutritional supplements provide key elements necessary for good health.
If you’re questing for the Fountain of Health, start by applying these healthy habits and you can potentially add more than a decade to your life.
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Enjoy your day!
Lisa and Rich Jelinek