We all want to live longer, healthier lives. The average human life span is 72 years old worldwide. For women, the average life span is about 74 years. For men, it’s about 70 years.1 But is it possible to slow down aging and increase longevity?
You’ve probably come across the “usual suspects” when it comes living longer – eat right, exercise, limit stress, and so on. But specifics can be hard to come by.
Well, this article will provide some of those specifics – longevity tips backed by solid science. Hopefully, these tips will help you live to a ripe, old age.
1. Eat Foods Rich in Fiber
You already know that fiber helps the digestive process. But there are also indications that it could help improve longevity. Fiber-rich foods such as fruits, grains, and vegetables, can reduce the risk of a wide variety of health problems.2
2. Reduce Fat
Consuming too much fat can take years off your life. Everyone needs a certain amount of fat, of course – the key is making sure you get enough of the right kinds of fats while avoiding the bad ones. There are two main types of fats.
Saturated fats primarily come from animal products such as meat. Polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, are mainly plant-based. They come from vegetables and nuts.3
A study looking at men and women who lived past the age of 100 found that one of the main factors which contributed to their longevity was following what is known as the Mediterranean diet. This diet is low in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated fats.4
3. Choose Your Proteins Wisely
If you eat a lot of processed meats, such as hot dogs and sausage, you could be increasing your mortality risk. Getting most of your proteins from plants, on the other hand, could lower your risk. Many doctors believe it helps lower the chances you’ll suffer from heart problems.
Researchers conducting a study on this very subject found that when people increase the number of calories they get from plants by as little as 3 percent, they can reduce their risk of early mortality by as much as 10 percent.5
4. Go Nuts
We already touched on the fact that nuts are a good source of polyunsaturated fats, which can be good for your health. One study dove a little bit deeper into the benefits nuts can provide when it comes to longevity.
According to the results, people who eat nuts on a regular basis are 20 percent less likely to die from heart, respiratory and other issues than those who don’t.6
5. Consume Moderate Amounts of Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can obviously be bad for your health. But if you drink in moderation, you could actually enjoy some health benefits. One study showed that drinking red wine could increase longevity.
According to the study, men who drank no more than two glasses a day (one glass a day for women) have a reduced risk of developing potentially fatal cardiovascular problems.7
6. Spice it Up
Do you like a little heat with your food in the form of spices? You may be increasing your time on this planet as a result. One study found that people who consume chili peppers on a regular basis are nearly 15 percent less likely to die early than those who don’t.8
7. Get Active
The longer you sit, whether it’s in your chair at the office or on your couch at home, the worse it is for your health.
One way to maximize your longevity is to simply get up and around as often as possible. Doing so will reduce the chances you will become obese or develop serious health problems associated with elevated blood sugar levels.9
If you have to sit for extended periods of time, get up regularly to walk around a bit. You might just be adding years to your life.
8. Walk More
As it turns out, a brisk walk can improve longevity. But how can getting out and about actually help you live longer?
According to one study, elderly people who were able to walk at least a quarter of a mile had better odds of being alive six years later than those who could not.10
Another study found that people who walk at a brisker pace – both men and women alike, live longer than slower walkers.11
Walking can help improve your circulation and your mobility. And better mobility as you age can help prevent dangerous falls.
9. Try Running
Aerobic exercise, like running, could also add some years to your life – provided your health is good enough to engage in this activity, of course. Researchers found that people who jog live about three years longer, on average than people who don’t.
They also found that runners are at a 25 to 40 percent less of a risk from premature mortality than non-runners.12
Obviously, check with your doctor before you begin any kind of cardio program, including running.
10. Coffee Time
Research suggests drinking coffee could actually help you live longer. One study suggests drinking as many as six cups of Joe a day could add years to your life.
Researchers conducting the study found that avid coffee drinkers are at a lower risk for mortality factors such as heart problems, respiratory problems and other serious health issues.13
11. Be More Conscientious
One of the factors you might not have thought of when it comes to determining longevity is your personality. Researchers conducting the study found that people who are conscientious, persistent, careful, and well-organized tend to live longer.
As it turns out, researchers say that being conscientious leads to healthier behavior, including seeking proper health care (and following advice of doctors), not smoking, and eating healthy. Conscientious people also tend to have healthier relationships and work environments.14
So, when it comes to the human life span, striving to be more conscientious can be quite beneficial.
12. Keep Stress in Check
Stress is almost impossible to avoid. But living a stress-filled life can take years off of your life. One study involving women found that those who were always stressed had lower klotho levels. Klotho is a hormone that is one of the factors in regulating the aging process.15
Too much stress can also increase your risk of potentially fatal cardiovascular issues, according to another study.16
13. Genes and Longevity
One thing you can’t control when it comes to extending the human life span, of course, is your genes. While you’re not assured of a long life just because your parents lived to an old age, it does appear to help your chances.
Research indicates that some people have genes that simply make them more likely to avoid certain types of diseases.17
14. Stay in School
Getting a college degree not only improves your chances of getting a good job, it could also help you live longer. According to one report, people who achieve a bachelor’s degree or a higher-level degree live, on average, about nine years longer than people without a high school diploma.18
15. Consider Meditation
Meditation helps clear the mind and make you feel relaxed. It might also help you delay the aging process.
A study involving men and women who attended a meditation retreat showed that their bodies produced higher levels of an enzyme known as telomerase. And telomerase, it turns out, may help slow down the rate at which you age.
Researchers found that the men and women who meditated had 30 percent more telomerase than those who did not.19
16. Stay Social
It’s fun to hang out with friends and family, of course. But research shows that it may also help you maintain your health and extend your longevity.
One study suggests that because our bodies are less stressed when we’re with our friends, that could help strengthen the immune system and keep stress levels in check.20
17. Help Others
Generosity is a fantastic attribute – one that could help you maintain your good health. Researchers looked at two groups of elderly people. One group stayed engaged in helping others, while the others simply received social support.
As you might expect, the people who tended to be givers lived longer than those who tended to only receive.21
18. Soak in the Sun (In Moderation)
Too much exposure to sunlight can lead to serious health issues, but that doesn’t mean that men and women need to shutter themselves indoors all the time. Sunlight helps to provide vitamin D, which has been associated with several health benefits that could help increase longevity.
Getting between five and 10 minutes of sun two to three times a week should provide an ample amount of vitamin D while helping to keep your risk for skin problems to a minimum.22
Is There a Longevity Formula?
Although all of these tips could potentially be contributing factors to a longer life, there are obviously no guarantees. But as long as you watch what you eat, exercise regularly, avoid too much stress, and see your doctor regularly, your chances of living well into old age should be excellent.
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