The number of Americans living past 100 is on the rise. Do they know something the rest of us don’t? Maybe. These 100 easy habits could help you hit the century mark, too.
Talk it out
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Knowing your family’s health history can help you get a head start on many diseases that can shorten your life; be sure to check on a history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer. “Ask questions, talk at family gatherings, and look at death certificates and family medical records, if possible,” advises the Genetic Alliance. You can’t change your genes (yet), but if you know you are at a higher risk for heart disease, for example, there are many things you can do to lower that risk, such as exercising, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a normal weight.
Stay slim and trim
For people who fall into the overweight or obese category, every two pounds they gain shaves two months off their life expectancy, according to a study published in Nature Communications.
Enjoy a cup of joe… or 8!
It may be time to reload your Starbucks card: Drinking coffee (even as much as eight cups a day!)—decreases your risk of dying from all causes, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. However, if you get headaches, an irregular heartbeat, or gastric upset from drinking coffee, just skip it.
Look into weight loss surgery
Weight loss surgery does more than help you lose weight, it may also extend your life. Research from the University of Cincinnati and a research institute in Seattle shows that bariatric surgery improves life expectancy for most obese people when they’re compared to obese patients who do not have the surgery.
Stretch your telomeres
Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of our chromosomes that dictate how long cells live. Short telomeres are linked to a host of age-related diseases and conditions, but a small study shows that positive changes in four key areas—your diet, exercise, stress management, and social support—may lengthen telomeres. “Our genes—and our telomeres—are not necessarily our fate,” says lead author Dean Ornish, MD, a UC San Francisco clinical professor of medicine, and founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in a news release. “So often people think, ‘Oh, I have bad genes, there’s nothing I can do about it.’ But research indicates that telomeres may lengthen to the degree that people change how they live.”
Nail the longevity test
This doesn’t require a laboratory or white-coated examiners. This deceptively simple measure of flexibility and strength can predict if you will have a long life.
Find your calling
Whether it’s fighting to save abused animals or helping to ban plastic straws, if you can find a calling that gives you purpose, you’ll live longer. It’s possible that having a sense of purpose encourages you to take better care of yourself so that you can focus on changing your world. People with a higher sense of purpose were more likely to eat lots of vegetables, exercise, get good sleep, and even floss their teeth, according to a study in the Journal of Health Psychology.
Invest in a garlic press
Garlic may help lower inflammation and cholesterol levels and that helps your heart stay healthy, according to a study in Clinical Nutrition ESPEN. The results were apparent in just six weeks.
It’s true. People who donate blood more frequently live longer than people who don’t donate, finds a study out of Denmark. Blood donors are known to be healthier in general, but the researchers still found an added benefit from the act of giving itself.
The skip-me five
Just avoiding the top five diet offenders—saturated fat, trans fats, added sugar, syrups, and refined carbs—can significantly lower your chances of disease and premature aging.
Know where you stand
Learn these six numbers: The calories you need in a day, your waist size, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and morning pulse rate. Then figure out what’s healthy for you, and keep them in the proper ranges—you’ll tack years onto your life.
Do as they do
Don’t smoke, avoid red meat, and follow these eight other secrets of “super agers” to live a longer, healthier life. We can all pick up a healthy habit or two from people who are aging so well that they have cognitive abilities on par with people decades younger than them.
Source: Readers Digest