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Written by Dr. Welsh, Article reviewed and edited by Dr. Fine M.D..
Published on 09 May 2015

Ten Ways to Live Ten Years Longer, Youthfully

by Dean Darcy

NO MATTER how old you are now, 21 or 71 - or older - the time to start extending your lifespan is now. The aging process is inevitable, but many new discoveries of the last few years can slow down its effects, leaving you healthier and more youthful and active, longer than your parents or grandparents - or any prior generation we know of.

But life extensionisn't just going to happen because you're alive in the 21st century. Agribusiness and the big drug companies aren't necessarily going to give you the right kind of products or information to maximize your lifespan and quality of life - they're going to promote the products that make them the most profit. It's up to youto do the reading and research and critical thinking to take charge of your health and your life.

Living in the 21st century does give you some tremendous advantages, though. Never before has there been more research into life extension and health - and never before has access to that research been easier, thanks to electronic publishing and the Internet.

Let's review some of the things we know are very important if you want to maintain radiant health during an active and long life - ten things that could help you live ten years longer, youthfully.

1. Exercise:

We know now that modern lifestyles - where we typically sitand work, sitas we drive from place to place, sitand watch television, sitwhile we access the Internet - make our waistlines balloon. But did you know that this sedentary lifestyle can also take years off your life?

The latest research shows that one cause, perhaps the major cause, of the aging process is the shortening, over time, of the protective segments of DNA - called telomeres - at the ends of the chromosomes in every single cell of your body.

Every time your cells divide, the telomeres get shorter and shorter, and shorter telomeres eventually prevent cells from dividing further, spelling cellular death. Telomere shortening has also been found in association with many symptoms of aging, including senile dementia and elevated blood pressure.

There is an enzyme called telomerasewhich counteracts this constant telomere shortening, however. And, according to a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, regular, intense exercise - in addition to giving us innumerable and well-known benefits like weight loss, increased energy, sense of well-being, resistance to depression, less bad cholesterol, lower resting heart rates, and lower blood pressure - alsowas found to activate telomerase and stabilize telomeres!

That means that exercise has a benefit we didn't know about until just recently - it directly addresses a major cause of aging. To get this benefit, the study suggests that the exercise must be both intenseand long-term, like that of professional athletes. If you've been out of shape for some time, you might have to start slowly and build up to an intense regimen over a period of many months. Remember, even though exercise seems like hard work if you haven't been active for a long time, most people report that, after a while, it gives them moreenergy throughout the day, and feels so good (as a result of the release of pain-suppressing endorphins) that they never want to miss a session. Since it has so much health- and lifespan-increasing potential, what's your excuse for not giving it a try?

2. Replace processed foods with natural foods:

The big food corporations add huge quantities of preservatives, salt, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavoring, artificial coloring, and texturizing agents to many of the foods on our grocery store shelves. Needless to say, these additives are notput there to enhance your health. Industrial-scale food production and distribution involve lengthy time delays and huge inventories. If these companies didn't load them with preservatives, these foods would go bad while being transported or stored.

And competition in the food business is cutthroat, with fortunes made or lost by capturing or losing a few percentage points of market share. The executives at these companies know that market share can often be gained by adding a bit more salt or a bit more sugar or a bit more artificial flavoring or coloring than the "other guy."And we, the consumers, get accustomed to - or even addicted to - that sweet, salty, zippy, "flavor enhanced" taste. So, over time, use of these additives ratchets up - almost never down - and we consumers end up eating food that is increasingly composed of chemicals and empty calories and less and less real nutrition (processing often strips foods of nutrients, too).


For example, food corporations responded to the publicity about the bad health effects of saturated fats by replacing them with what was thought to be a heart-friendly alternative: trans fats. But new research has now proved that trans fats are in fact twice as badfor your heart as saturated fats. Some studies say they cause up to 100,000 heart disease-related deaths every year. Trans fats decrease cholesterol, all right - but it turns out they reduce the "good cholesterol" (HDL cholesterol) and actuallyincrease the bad LDL kind. By increasing your LDL levels, and also increasing your levels of lipoprotein and triglycerides, something that saturated fat doesn't do, trans fats contribute to clogged arteries.

Trans fats can hide under a number of different names on ingredient labels: Look for the terms "partially hydrogenated," "hydrogenated," or "fractionated." Cutting out trans fats can make you 53 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup is another additive to avoid. It's been linked to increased chances of arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. You'll have to give up all sweetened soft drinks to avoid it, and a lot of other things, even cheap rolls and hamburger buns - so read your ingredient labels.

Grains and Starches

Refined grains are another culprit, providing your body with empty calories with much of the beneficial nutrients and fiber naturally present in grain stripped away. Avoid white bread, white rolls, low-fiber cereal, white rice, and white pasta.

Replace them, consistently, with whole grain products - like kasha or bulgur, dark bread, cooked oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn, bran, and others - and see your risk of heart attacks go down by almost a third. Read the ingredient labels and look for whole oats or whole grain with a high fiber content of two, three or more grams per serving.

Avoid Processed Food

A great way to minimize the amount of processed foods you eat is to start buying food at your local farmers' market, where you can eliminate the middlemen and all their additives and practices. If you still shop at the supermarket, there are organicfoods there if you take the trouble to look for them. Use extra virgin olive oil for cooking, and consume lots of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. A widely varied diet, eating foods that are as fresh, unprocessed, and natural as possible should be your goal.

3. Don't smoke or abuse drugs:

Do I really have to tell you not to smoke tobacco or abuse drugs, prescription or "recreational" (including alcohol)? Do I really have to tell you that inhaling smoke - whether from cigars, pipes, cigarettes, or marijuana "joints" - is very bad for your throat and lungs, proven again and again to severely increase your risk of painful, irreversible, fatal cancer?

Do I really have to point out that overmedicating yourself to "feel good" - as a substitute for having and happy and healthy lifestyle that naturallymakes you feel better than any drug - is a very bad, health-destroying idea? Looking at human behavior as a whole, I suppose I do!

The human body was made to take in natural food and drink that enhancebodily and mental function, notelevated levels of the artificial compounds of Big Pharma - or misused natural substances that make you intoxicated. There's a reason the word "toxic" is contained within the word intoxicated. There may be exceptions for illness and extraordinary situations (for example, chronic severe pain is more dangerous to health if untreated than the painkillers needed to treat it), but overmedication as a lifestyle choice kills thousands of people every year, and blights the lives of millions.

Alcohol accelerates age-related brain deterioration, which can manifest itself as early as age 30 and accelerates rapidly by age 50. Cognitive deficits and an increased chance of dementia are associated with misuse of amphetamines, "ecstasy," marijuana, heroin, oxycontin, and other opiates. In a very real sense, your brain is you. Are you really sure you want to impair it temporarily and possibly damage it permanently?

Think on these facts and then act:

A 30-year-old non-smoker of tobacco can expect, on average, to live 18 years longerthan a 30-year-old smoker.

Heavy marijuana use can increase your risk of lung disease, chronic cough, mucus, nasal congestion, and can trigger lack of motivation, decrease in sexual desire, and weight gain - and long-term use can lead to significant deficits in memory, attention, and other cognitive abilities.

Heavy alcohol use can take ten to 12 years off your lifespan. Not only does it increase risk for heart disease, liver disease, and stroke, but your chances of death by violence or accident are increased by alcohol abuse - and alcohol overdose itself can be a cause of death.

4. Take a good vitamin supplement:

There's no substitute for eating a highly varied diet of fresh, natural foods. You can't just pop a few vitamin pills while subsisting on a diet of junk food and expect to be healthy - there are so many nutrients, minerals, fibers, and trace elements in good food that no cocktail of supplements can adequately replace them. Scientists admit, furthermore, that there are probably unknown beneficial elements in natural food that haven't even been discovered yet!

Nevertheless, taking vitamins and other nutritional supplements can benefit your health: You can't always eat your preferred diet every day - schedules and unplanned emergencies sometimes prevent it. Taking supplements can ensure that we get specific required nutrients nevertheless. Some of us practice veganism or religious diets that make it harder to get certain nutrients. Sometimes stress or illness depletes some elements in our bodies, and age can cause lower production of certain hormones to below replacement levels. Supplements can help in many of these situations, when lifestyle changes and intense exercise are added to the mix.

A daily (sometimes several times daily for certain formulations) multivitamin can make sure that you're getting the basic minimum nutritional requirements for vitamins and certain other substances as set out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Many anti-Aging physicians believe that some of the FDA suggestions for daily vitamin intake are lower than they should be.

There are so many different brands and manufacturers of vitamins and other supplements that it can be quite confusing to the end user. Several independent organizations have testing procedures and manufacturing requirements that must be met before their seal of approval - shown on the product's packaging - can be displayed. These include U.S. Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, Life Extension Foundation, and NSF International.

5. Exercise your mind:

For many years, the "received wisdom" in the health community was that you could never increase the number of cells or neural connections in your brain - what you were born with was what you were stuck with, and any losses, such as from injury or alcohol abuse or aging, were permanent. You simply couldn't recover.

But the latest research has shown that that's not true. With proper stimulation, nutrition, and exercise the human brain can create new brain cells and connections between them. This growth of new cells -- called neurogenesis-- takes place in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is associated with learning, memory, and emotion - and, properly stimulated and nourished, this growth can continue throughout a person's lifespan.

Synapsesare the connections between nerve cells in our brains, and our thinking processes are totally dependent on communication between cells. This communication relies on the exchange of chemical signals, called neurotransmitters, at each of these, literally, trillions of synapses. For proper mental functioning, our brain cells and synapses must be maintained in top condition. Breakdown of cells and synapses can occur due to injury, disease, disuse, or aging. Such breakdown can negatively affect our mood and cognitive functioning, possibly leading to depression, memory loss, lower intelligence and problem-solving ability, and, in extreme cases, even dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Stress, especially long-term stress, can cause synapses to malfunction. Removing sources of severe, long-term stress can improve brain health (and overall health, too). Loss of synapses can also be caused by alcohol, PCP, ketamine, and exposure to heavy metals and pesticides.

One source of synapse dysfunction is totally under our control, thankfully: lack of stimulation. A lack of proper stimulation has recently been found to correlate with with reduced synaptic function, which, if it goes far enough, can increase the likelihood of contracting Alzheimer's disease. It was found that older subjects who had demanding jobs requiring a high degree of skill or education actually had between 15 and 20 percent more synapses per neuron than average. Studies have also shown that senior citizens who engage in mentally-challenging activities, such as working crossword, chess or Sudoku puzzles, or playing a musical instrument, have significantly less chance of developing dementia.

Brain health and mental acuity are directly linked, so follow these tips to maximize your synaptic function throughout your life:

Exercise - a good, and regular, workout maximizes brain function and promotes the factors that allow brain growth. Don't sit and vegetate - keep that body moving! Walk, run, hike, lift weights. It's good for your brain as well as your muscles.

Cut down on stress - relax, engage in hobbies, do lots of pleasant activities with your loved ones, meditate, and don't overwork yourself. Chronic stress actually damages the brain.

Expose yourself to mental challenges and new experiences - take up activities you've never done before, learn a new and complex skill, visit places you've never seen, do puzzles, read widely, meet new people, take classes in unaccustomed subjects. All of these can be very beneficial in warding off the usual affects of aging on the brain and can add many top-functioning, happy years to your life.

6. Be spiritual and positive:

Having a positive attitude can add years to your life - to be specific, studies show that being positive about aging itself can add an average of seven and a half yearsto your lifespan. No one knows for sure why this is, but many researchers believe that there is a connection between positivity and the will to live. Having a strong will to live encourages the individual to take action to improve health, and positivity is linked to lower stress levels.

Aging-positive people don't deny the beauty and strength of youth, and in fact many exercise and stay in shape as much as their age allows, but they also recognize that maturity and experience and depth of understanding can increase as we grow older. Appreciation for one's own good qualities gives a sense of well-being that apparently has a positive effect on health - and on how long we live.

Spirituality- believing that our lives are a part of something greater - has also been shown to help us live longer. A study by the National Institute on Aging found that people who attended some kind of religious service once a week were 46 percent less likely to die in a given period of time than those who did not. Even when corrected for factors such as age, sex, race, prior health, and other factors, there was still a 28 percent difference - comparable to the difference between smokers and non-smokers!

It doesn't always seem to be the religious services themselves that make the difference: Other studies have shown comparable benefits among people who simply consider themselves spiritual- lowered blood pressure, less chance of suffering strokes, and less incidence of anxiety and depression. You can also benefit greatly from the social networks you form when part of a church or other spiritual community.

7. Boost your antioxidants:

One of the ways we age is through oxidationof our cells: Oxygen, as we all know, is necessary for life - but oxygen also interacts with the other substances in our bodies, causing cellular damage. Oxidation causes changes in body chemicals that result in particles called free radicals. Alcohol, cigarettes, and air and water pollution can also induce free radical production. Free radicals damage cells, alter important body chemicals, and can even lead to changes in cellular DNA, so cells don't reproduce properly and quickly die. Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer can be exacerbated by free radical damage, and research has shown that the ever-increasing number of free radicals in our system as we get older is a significant factor in the aging process.

An antioxidantis a natural or man-made substance that can prevent or reverse the damage caused by free radicals. Though the body produces some antioxidants on its own, it's a good idea to include antioxidant-rich foods as a substantial part of your diet. Try whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, especially foods containing seeds and nuts. Don't overdo supplements, but some that have antioxidant properties are vitamins E, C, and A, as well as selenium, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene.

8. Sleep well:

Humans evolved over millions of years to be diurnal creatures: sleeping during the hours of darkness and being active during the hours of light. Acting in accord with our inner nature is wise, and science confirms the health benefits of deep, long, and regular sleep. You can juggle the hours around a bit, but consistently denying yourself proper sleep can take years off your lifespan.

Of course, we all know that a tired driver or equipment operator can end up dying violently, but that's far from the only risk. For the maximum lifespan-boosting effect, researchers have found that, for most of us, sleeping more than six and less than nine hours every night is best - with the higher hours best for young people and the shorter best for older folks. Studies have shown that those who get regular, restful sleep have a lower incidence of heart disease, depression, and stress-related disorders.

Here are some tips for sleeping well:

Shut out distractions while you relax and read, or meditate, just before turning out the light.

Let your room temperature be a bit on the cool side during your hours of sleep.

If others are up in the home, close your bedroom door, and ask others to close theirs and be reasonably quiet.

If noises keep you awake, consider getting a "noise machine" that can mask them with a rushing noise, a simulation of ocean surf, or other pleasant sounds. Simply running a fan can help too.

Keep your room reasonably dark while you sleep. A little light, like that from a night light (or from behind closed blinds if you must sleep during the day) is all right, but flashing or moving lights (such as those from some modems, car headlights, or a television screen) can easily disturb your tranquility.

9. Protect your skin:

Probably nothing affects your appearance more than your skin - and no organ of the body is more subject to impact from your environment. One of the main factors in aging your skin (and also possibly causing cancer) is sun exposure. The ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun can do damage to the microscopic underlying structure of the skin, and, even though this damage can be almost invisible when you're young, it is cumulative. The days you spent baking under the hot rays at 20 or 30 can really haunt you when you're 50 or more.

To avoid UV damage to your skin, severely limit your time spent outdoors when the sun is most intense, roughly between 10AM and 2PM: 15 minutes or less is best. And, when you must go out, wear a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or more, and wear long pants, long-sleeve shirts, and wide-brimmed hats if possible. And don't smoke: Studies show that smokers experience more age-related skin damage than non-smokers.

Although some inevitable effects of aging will impact the appearance of your skin - the long-term effects of gravity on your cheeks, and the lines on your face from your customary expressions repeated again and again over a lifetime, for example - there arenutrients that can help heal the skin from the inside out, and often these are more effective than slapping on some skin cream or moisturizer. Vitamin D is vital for good-looking, healthy skin. It's not naturally found in foods - the body synthesizes it from sunlight - so some of us need supplements if we stay inside all the time or live at higher latitudes. Soy milk and foods containing vitamin C are known to decrease wrinkling, and the caffeine that moderate tea and coffee drinkers consume helps block a protein that skin cancer cells need to divide, providing some protection. Vegetables, nuts, and whole grains are also thought to be beneficial in keeping your skin youthful-looking.

10. Have a healthy sex life:

I'm sure that none of you doubt that having an active, healthy sex life is beneficial. But not only does regular sexual intercourse give intense pleasure, improve self-esteem, banish sadness, make the next generation possible, and foster closeness, bonding, and love - but it also can improve your health and help you live years longer than you could without it.

Here are some of the benefits:

Oxytocin is a chemical released during orgasm that has been shown to increase trust and facilitate a bond of loyalty and love between partners - and it also lowers blood pressure, calms the nerves, and counteracts the effects of cortisol, a stress hormone.

The more often a man engages in sex, up to once a day, the less likely he is to get prostate cancer, according to an Australian study in 2003, research later confirmed by the National Cancer Institute.

Women who have frequent vaginal intercourse have a lower risk of breast cancer than those who don't.

Frequent intercourse enhances your ability to communicate emotions effectively and leads to enhanced intimacy and honesty in interpersonal communications, as well as an increase in self-esteem and sense of well-being.

Levels of the hormone prolactin rise significantly immediately after orgasm, which can actually help form new neurons in the part of the brain receptive to both smells and new memories.

Men and women who have sexual intercourse a couple of times a week or more have higher levels of the antibody that fights colds and flu.

It's been proved that another beneficial effect of oxytocin, released during orgasm, is a reduction in headache and body pain by as much as one half.

Most importantly, many studies have proved that an active sexual life actually helps you live longer: Make love two times a week - or preferably more - and you'll have a notably lower risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease generally.

Final words

What's the lesson here? Just this: You can take charge of your life, and improve both its quality and length, to an extent never known before in history. By following a few simple guidelines, investing some effort, time, and a little money, and by being informed by the latest research, you can live longerand be happier- and be a better lover, partner, parent, and friend than you ever thought possible. The only thing that can stop you is inertia - so get moving today!


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Houston, Mark C., Oyslipidemia: Non-Pharmacologic Treatment, Encyclopedia of Clinical Anti-Aging Medicine & Regenerative Biomedical Technologies, p. 129

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Flavin, Dana, "Metabolic Danger of High-Fructose Corn Syrup," Life Extension Magazine, December 2008.

Colliver JD, et al., "Projecting drug use among aging baby boomers in 2020," Ann. Epidemiol.,April 2006.

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Sahelian, Ray, MD, "Marijuana smoking safety, danger, medicinal uses, health risks and benefit," raysahelian.com/marijuana.html, accessed March 11, 2014.

ADAM In-Depth Report, "Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse," New York Timesonline edition, nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/alcoholism/possible-complications.html, accessed March 11, 2014.

Watt, Tim, et al., "Cognitive and Neurodegenerative Diseases & Impairments, Non-Pharmacological Interventions," Encyclopedia of Clinical Anti-Aging Medicine & Regenerative Biomedical Technologies, p. 261

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Goodman M, et al., "Clinical trials of antioxidants as cancer prevention agents: past, present, and future," Free Radical Biology & Medicine,2011;51(5):pp 1068-1084

Ferrie, Jane E. et al., "A Prospective Study of Change in Sleep Duration: Associations with Mortality in the Whitehall II Cohort," Sleep2007;30(12):pp 1659-1666

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Written by Dr. Welsh, Article reviewed and edited by Dr. Fine M.D..
Published on 06 February 2014

Eighteen Tips for Extending Your Lifespan!

Everyone wants to live a long and healthy life, but there isn't just one simple and easy way to do it. Here are eighteen steps that you can take in your everyday life to help you increase the odds of seeing 80, 90, or even 100 years or more!

Safeguard Your DNA to Live Longer

Healthy DNA help us live longer in a number of different ways. Healthy DNA reduces the risk of cancer, because genetic mutations are a significant contributor to cancer risk.

In the past, many scientists believed that there was a hard limit to the length of time that human beings could live because of our telomeres. Telomeres function like aglets on your shoelaces. They keep your shoelaces from becoming frayed and ripping apart by capping the ends. Telomeres are the caps to the ends of our DNA and they function in a similar fashion.

Over time, the tips of the telomeres slowly break down, which increases the risk of health and aging conditions related to genetic breakdown. In a recent study, researchers proved that changing one's lifestyle to incorporate healthier habits seems to have the ability to increase the length of the telomeres. Further research shows that exercise and diet also have the ability to strengthen telomeres.

This means that taking the advice in this article likely will be able to improve your health even at a genetic level!

Live Conscientiously to Live Longer

An eighty year longitudinal study has shown that one of the strongest and most reliable factors which contribute to long life is a personality grounded in conscientiousness. In this lengthy study, researchers considered a large variety of personality attributes to see which factors helped people live longer, such as persistence and attention to detail.

Researchers found that one of the strongest correlations between personality and long life was conscientiousness. People that considered how the things that they did affected themselves and others were more likely to live longer because they were more likely to make thoughtful life decisions.

They were more likely to take steps to maintain and safeguard their health, and they were also more likely to choose careers and relationships that fit themselves in a healthy way. They also had more impactful and healthy relationships, and tended to be more successful in their careers.

Maintain Strong Friendships to Live Longer

There is also strong evidence that sharing your lives with others has the ability to improve your health and your life. Keeping strong connections with your friends has the ability to help you live longer, and this correlation is stronger the older that you happen to be.

An Australian study showed that elderly individuals that were active socially in fostering friendship with others were more likely to live longer than those that were not as active socially. Elderly men and women with more friends were more likely to still be alive after ten years than those with fewer friends.

A full research review of nearly 150 studies also strongly reinforces this correlation between positive social activity and longevity.

Pick Your Friends Intelligently to Live Longer

Although strong friendships may help you live longer later in life, poor friendships can also have a negative impact on your longevity throughout the lifespan. Choosing friends that make positive life and health choices makes it more likely that you will also make intelligent and proactive decisions with regard to your health.

In one series of studies in particular, there was a strong correlation found between having a friend gain weight and gaining weight yourself. If one of your friends gains a lot of weight and becomes obese, this increases your odds of becoming obese by nearly sixty percent.

People with friends that smoke are also more likely to start smoking themselves, and if you surround yourself with smokers, it also makes it much harder to quit. In this case, like many others, making positive life changes can have a positive effect on those around you. If you are actually successful in quitting smoking, it makes it more likely that others around you will quit as well, and the same goes for losing weight!

This applies to younger people in more ways. If you surround yourself with others that are taking significant risks, such as driving fast, taking drugs, or other risky behaviors, it increases your risk of early mortality significantly.

Stop Smoking to Live Longer

These days, everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, but many people keep smoking, resigned to the mistaken belief that the damage has already been done. In fact, there are strong and powerful benefits to quitting smoking, no matter how young you were when you picked up the habit or how old you were when you chose to quit.

Many people also feel that the benefit of quitting at a later age is overshadowed by the difficulty to quit, but this also appears to be a hugely mistaken belief. Researchers in Great Britain conducted a fifty-year longitudinal study which showed the benefits of smoking cessation at a variety of different ages.

They found that individuals that stopped smoking by the age of thirty lived on average ten years longer than those that continued smoking throughout their life. Those that quit at forty lived nine years longer. Those that quit at fifty lived six years longer, and those that quit at sixty lived three years longer on average.

Taking Naps Can Help Your Live Longer

In America, many people think that frequent napping is a sign of laziness, but there is strong evidence that taking naps on a regular basis does have a protective effect upon the heart. In many areas of the world, afternoon naps are an ingrained part of the culture, and scientific evidence shows that naps may be a proper and healthy aspect of day-to-day activity.

Researchers conducted a broad study, researching over 24,000 men and women. They found that, regardless of sex, individuals that napped regularly had a greater than 35% risk of dying from heart disease at a given age than those that only nap occasionally.

Scientists hypothesize that napping may strengthen the heart by reducing levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. Stress hormones are beneficial in emergency situations or over short time spans, but chronic stress wreaks all sorts of havoc on the cardiovascular system, as well as other systems of the body.

Eat Like a Mediterranean to Live Longer

The Mediterranean lifestyle has done wonders to enhance our knowledge of how diet affects lifespan and life quality. In the Mediterranean, people tend to have a diet that is high in fish, whole grains, veggies, fruits, and heart healthy oils, which helps them live longer.

A review of fifty studies including more than 500,000 men and women from the Mediterranean provided powerful evidence that this lifestyle was highly conducive with a long life. In particular, researchers found that this form of diet greatly reduces the odds of experiencing metabolic syndrome, which has a starkly negative impact on lifespan.

Metabolic Syndrome is the name for a collection of related conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, obesity, and atherosclerosis which all vastly increase the risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Choose the Okinawan Diet

The residents of Okinawa, Japan were once recognized for living longer than anyone else on earth. Scientists have conducted a number of studies regarding the members of this culture, and found that their diet had a powerful impact on their unique ability to live longer than anyone else in the world.

Residents of Okinawa have classically followed a very traditional diet, centered around yellow and green vegetables, which contributed to their longevity. In addition to this, Okinawans naturally subsisted on restricted diets, which also appears to have extended their life spans. In Okinawa, it has long been a strong tradition to only eat eighty percent of the food served in a meal.

Recent changes in life expectancy in younger Okinawans also supports the hypothesis that diet allowed these Japanese to live longer and healthier lives. As younger Okinawans have turned away from these traditional dietary habits, they no longer live the long lives that their elders experienced.

Get Hitched to Live Longer

Being single may have its benefits, but it is not conducive to a long lifespan. On average, married couples live longer than their single cohorts. There are a number of different reasons for this, some psychological, some social.

There are many scientists that believe that the economic and interpersonal support that is necessary in a healthy marriage helps those in the marriage live longer. Anecdotally, this can be seen in couples that live long lives together and die at nearly the same time. The connection to the partner increases the desire and will to live, and once the partner is gone, this often causes the other to lose the inner strength which keeps them going.

Even in the case of those that have been widowed or divorced, a previous marriage seems to have a positive impact on mortality. Those that have been married earlier in their life also tend to live longer than those that have never been married.

Drop the Pounds to Live Longer

One of the most powerful things that you can do to help yourself live a longer, happier, and healthier life is simply to lose weight. Obesity is one of the strongest risk factors for a wide variety of health conditions. Obesity increases the risk of both Testosterone Deficiency and HGH Deficiency. It also vastly increases the likelihood of diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

The worst form of fat in regard to your health is known as adipose fat. Adipose fat cells are located mostly around your midsection, stomach, and thighs, and they are simultaneously the hardest form of fat to get rid of and the most dangerous to both your short-term and long-term health. A five year study of African Americans and Hispanics has shown that engaging in healthy exercise habits and consuming more fiber are two particularly strong ways to burn belly-fat.

Simply dieting can show some improvement, but studies have shown that if one diets and does not combine it with exercise, then the individual is more likely to burn muscle before fat, which reduces the benefits of dieting and can negatively impact health as muscle mass contributes strongly to positive health.

Exercise Regularly to Live Longer

Whether you are at a healthy weight or you are overweight, engaging in regular exercise can have a spectacular impact on your overall health and outlook. People that engage in healthy exercise habits clearly live longer lives than those that commit to a more sedentary lifestyle.

A multitude of studies have outlined the various benefits. Exercising on a regular basis alleviates depression, reduces cancer risk, and diminishes the risk of diabetes, stroke, and cancer. Cardiovascular exercise works out the heart and the circulatory system, and anaerobic exercise stimulates the muscles and strengthens the structural capacity of the body, defending against frailty.

There is even scientific evidence that physical activity positively impacts cognitive health as well, reducing the risk of general cognitive impairment as well as the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Ideally, you should engage in moderate physical activity for at least 150 minutes each week.

Drink Moderately to Live Longer

In the not-so-distant past, many people believed that alcohol had a universally negative impact on health, but in recent decades, it is becoming more and more clear that mankind has evolved to incorporate alcohol consumption into health.

People that drink moderately are less likely to experience heart disease than others that don't drink anything. Alcohol does seem to have some anti-oxidant effects on the body when imbibed in moderation, but long-term, heavy drinking counteracts these benefits with a negative impact on liver health.

Over-consumption of alcohol can also lead to other health problems such as obesity, increased blood pressure, and cognitive decline, so it is important to be judicious with alcohol consumption. To experience the optimum benefit of alcohol consumption with the minimum risk of negative effects, the American Heart Association suggests that men should drink two alcoholic beverages per day and women should drink one per day.

This isn't to say that those that do not drink should take up the habit, however. There are a number of different ways to safeguard your heart rather than drinking, and if you aren't interested in drinking, there is no reason to start simply for your health.

Engage in Spiritual or Self-Reflective Activity to Live Longer

Research shows there is at least some link between religious activity and longevity. People that go to church or attend other forms of spiritual gathering live longer lives on average than those that have never attended church at all.

In a twelve-year research study conducted with a pool of participants older than 65, men and women that went to religious services weekly had stronger immune health than others that did not go to church at all. In addition to this, those that attended services had a much lower mortality rate than those that did not.

There are a number of hypotheses why this is true, but the strongest seems to be that religious activity fosters strong social ties that help people keep themselves going. Simply the pleasure derived from interacting and acting collectively with others has powerful physiological effects.

If you are not religious, think about participating in group meditation, yoga, or any activity which allows you to be in the company of other people that you can share experiences with. It is likely that participating and fostering a sense of community in any aspect will produce similar effects to those that are experienced by spiritual individuals in regard to health and wellness.

Forgive Others to Live Longer

Anger and grudges have been scientifically shown to have a devastating affect upon health, especially if they are held for an extended period of time. These sorts of strong, negative feelings are linked to a number of diseases and conditions which are also associated with increased stress hormone levels.

Strong and long-term bottling of anger contributes to an increased risk of stroke and heart disease, as well as reduced lung capacity and a number of other ailments. Fostering an ability to accept forgiveness has been shown to increase lung capacity, improve blood pressure, and alleviate anxiety. The older that you get, the more that these benefits will impact your overall health.

Wear Safety Equipment

Among people of all ages, accidents are the fifth highest cause of death in the United States, as well as the number one mortality risk for young people from the age of one to twenty four. The simplest way to dramatically reduce your risk of mortality caused by accidents is to wear safety equipment.

Wearing seat belts, helmets, and other safety gear will provide tremendous benefits to your overall lifespan from your first steps to your last breath, especially for younger people that are less experienced with activities like driving and more likely to engage in activities such as skateboarding and cycling which can be risky without safety gear.

If you get in a major automobile accident, simply wearing your seatbelt can reduce your risk of serious injury or death by half. In regard to bicycle and motorcycle accidents, most deaths occur as a result of traumatic head and brain injuries, and a helmet can improve your odds in an accident tremendously.

Make Sure You Get Your Sleep to Live Longer

Sleep is just as important as exercise and diet for a healthy life. Getting a full night's sleep every night can significantly drop the risk of experiencing a number of negative health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and a variety of mood disorders.

Sleep is when your body recovers from the day's activity and reorders itself to prepare for a new day. This is also when certain important hormones are produced at their highest levels, including Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone. If you don't get enough sleep, your body doesn't maintain healthy hormone balance, and unhealthy cortisol and stress levels increase in direct relationship to poor sleeping habits.

If you sleep well, your memory and cognitive faculties remain stronger, you are more resistant to illness, and you just generally maintain a happier and more positive outlook. 5-7 hours of sleep still provides some benefits, but 8-9 are maximally optimal. Sleeping fewer than five hours, on the other hand, can actually be dangerous, and greatly increase your mortality risk while sleeping so poorly.

Keep Stress Managed to Live Longer

You may think of stress as a psychological issue that impacts your mental health, but stress is actually a physiological process which affects every aspect of your mind and body, and ideally needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible in order to improve health.

There is even research that patients with heart disease may be able to actually improve the health of their heart by working hard to alleviate their stress levels. So stress not only contributes to heart disease, but also may be a primary contributor to the condition.

Stress also makes it harder to sleep, harder to lose weight, and harder to maintain hormone balance. There are a number of effective ways to manage stress. A few physical activities that you can engage in are deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. You can also work to balance the stresses in your life with the things that sustain you in order to help you live a healthier and longer life.

Live a Life with Purpose

This ties in with a number of other suggestions that we have made today, like having a healthy marriage and engaging in valuable interpersonal activity. In order to live a long life, it seriously helps to live a life that you, personally feel is worth living for. What that means is up to you. What are your values? What makes you feel like a productive, active, and happy person?

For each human being this will be different. In one Japanese study, scientists discovered that males that had a defined sense of purpose had a much lower risk of mortality from a variety of sources, including heart disease and stroke, over thirteen years, as compared with men that self-identified with less purpose in their lives.

An American study has shown a reverse correlation between Alzheimer's and purpose. Men and women that feel that they are living a life driven by purpose are much less likely on average to experience Alzheimer's disease in their life, especially at an early age.


Written by Dr. Welsh, Article reviewed and edited by Dr. Fine M.D..
Published on 11 April 2012

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