It is believed that longevity and good health are mostly determined by a person’s genes. But contrary to popular belief, it turns out that the key to living a long, healthy life depends more on external, controllable factors such as your attitude, diet and lifestyle.
Here’s what you can do to live a longer, healthier life:
Eat Healthy Food and Stick to It
Your elders have been telling you since you were a kid to eat your vegetables. You’ll likely hear it from your doctor as you age. Even studies have proven that eating vegetables, or even better, shifting to a plant-based diet makes you at least 32% less likely to succumb to heart disease or stroke, and 25% less likely to develop other illnesses. Note that some store-bought food items purport themselves as “healthy” but aren’t.
So if you really want to have a truly healthy diet, consult someone who knows more about healthy food and diets, like a nutritionist or other wellness professional that has certification from a nutrition training program provider. They can advise you on genuinely healthy, nutrient-dense food and diets to suit your wellness and longevity goals.
Avoid Smoke and Pollution
You’ve likely heard the story over and over about how smoking cigars, cigarettes and pipes cause lung cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer, emphysema and a host of other terminal illnesses. Even if you don’t smoke, second-hand smoke — smoke that is inhaled continually from the emissions of a nearby smoker can likewise cause your demise.
But you may not be aware of the threat posed by particulate matter, which are extremely minuscule bits of airborne material like the remains of burnt coal or petrol emissions. These particulates can invade your lungs and create havoc by triggering an autoimmune response, resulting in inflammation that can be fatal. It’s best explained in this video. If you live in a particularly polluted area, consider a move to the countryside.
Consume Fewer Calories
A strategy you can adopt in tandem with eating more whole, unprocessed food is eating fewer calories each day. Consuming less, not more food even if it’s healthy has been found to extend people’s life spans. The science was unclear as to why this occurred, but now, scientists have a better idea. The benefit of eating less food meant that the human body’s cells were subjected to less cellular oxidative stress or damage to cells caused by the by-products of digesting food and converting it to energy.
In other words, eating less meant fewer cells died, slowing the body’s ageing process. If you plan to restrict your daily calorie intake, consult a physician first as daily calorie needs differ from person to person. Consuming too few calories may do you more harm than good.
While not smoking, avoiding polluted areas, eating right and not overeating are good ways to ensure good health and a longer lifespan, some people who have lived past the age of 100 have baffled people with their “secrets to long life”. Some never exercised a day in their life, some smoked twice a day, and at least one woman owes her longevity to two raw eggs and as many cookies as she can get her hands on. These unusual habits aside, these centenarians do share some traits that helped them live longer: staying busy, sleeping well, and maintaining their sense of humour and a positive attitude.
Enough sleep, vitamins and nutrients from food and a positive outlook are part of living healthy and living longer. Avoid over-eating and have a check-up to know if you need to do more for your health.