We have all heard the cliche “it’s the little things that count”
Well, that is certainly true when it comes to adding years to your life. According to Sandra Gordon’s article “Secrets to Longevity”, “In the 20th century, the average life expectancy shot up 30 years, the greatest gain in 5,000 years of human history. And this: Centenarians–folks who make it into the triple digits–aren’t such an exclusive club anymore, increasing 51% from 1990 to 2000.
How to account for these dramatic leaps? Advances in health, education, and disease prevention and treatments are high on the list–and that makes sense. But what you may not know is that seemingly unimportant everyday habits, or circumstances in your past, can influence how long and how well you’ll live.”
Check out the latest longevity research and the tips for a long-life path:
Post-menopausal women who are too round in the middle are 20% more likely to die sooner (even if their body mass index is normal), according to a National Institute on Aging study. During those midlife years, it takes more effort to keep waists trim due to changing hormones. If you can measure 35 inches or more (40 inches or more for men), then consider these changes from Prevention Magazine:
1. Add two or three 20-minute strength-training sessions into your weekly exercise regimen to preserve lean muscle mass and rejuvenate your metabolism.
2. Eat a daily serving of omega-3s (in salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed) to help combat inflammation and seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.
3. Get 25% of your daily calories from healthy fats–such as monounsaturated fatty acids–which protect your heart and may help you store less fat in your belly (for a 1,600-calorie diet, that’s 44 g).
Another way to tell if you are on the right path to longevity is if you were a healthy weight as a teenager. A Journal of Pediatrics study followed 137 African Americans from birth to age 28.
They found that being overweight at age 14 increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes as an adult and that those adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than those without the condition, according to the American Heart Association.
Gordon states in her article that “Most Americans eat 14 to 17 g of fiber per day; add just 10 g and reduce your risk of dying from heart disease by 17%, according to a Netherlands study. Dietary fiber helps reduce total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and boost weight loss.”
Your breakfast can be healthier by topping your oatmeal (1/2 cup dry has 4 g fiber) with 1 cup of raspberries (8 g). You will get about 12 g of fiber in just one meal. Other fiber-rich foods: 1/2 cup of 100% bran cereal (8.8 g), 1/2 cup of cooked lentils (7.8 g), 1/2 cup of cooked black beans (7.5 g), one medium sweet potato (4.8 g), one small pear (4.3 g).
Limiting your daily caloric intake has been proven to protect the heart. Researchers in St. Louis reported that men and women who limited their daily calories to 1,400 to 2,000 (about 25% fewer calories than those who followed a typical 2,000-to 3,000-calorie Western diet) were literally young at heart, meaning that their hearts functioned like those who were 15 years younger.
“It’s about not just eating less but getting the most nutrition per calorie,” says study author Luigi Fontana, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. Study subjects stuck to vegetables, whole grains, fat-free milk, and lean meat and nixed white bread, soda, and candy. If you cut empty calories and eat more nutrient-rich foods, your health will improve, says Fontana. To find out how many calories you need to maintain a healthy weight, go to prevention.com/caloriecalculator.
Gordon notes that “Both green and black teas contain a concentrated dose of catechins, substances that help blood vessels relax and protect your heart. In a study of more than 40,500 Japanese men and women, those who drank 5 or more cups of green tea every day had the lowest risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. Other studies involving black tea showed similar results.”
Simply drink 1 or 2 cups of freshly brewed tea daily to benefit your heart. Keep in mind that some studies have shown that adding milk or cream may eliminate tea’s protective effects on the cardiovascular system. Adding lemon or honey is your best bet should need to add anything to your tea.
For other great tips to add longevity to your life, click here to read the full article.