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The Surefire Way to Live Longer, According to Science

There's no magic pill that can prolong your life, but there are several ways you can add years to your lifespan by practicing healthy habits. It's no secret that diet and exercise are the key to living a long healthy life, but the list doesn't stop there. Eat This, Not That Health spoke with experts who share their tips for the easiest ways to live longer. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Protect Your Heart Health

Health visitor and a senior man during home visit.
Dr. Katie Hill (MD) and CMO of Nudj Health tells us, "The #1 thing you can do to live longer is protect and enhance your cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association, focusing on Life's Essential 8 metrics will give you the best chance at a long and healthy life. The list was recently updated to include sleep health as an important component."

Dr. Hill recommends everyone:

  • "Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and legumes and low in animal products, processed, and highly refined foods.
  • Be physically active with at least 150 minutes of exercise spread out over the whole week.
  • Get 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight with BMI 18-24.
  • Keep your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure in the normal range, which are natural outcomes of physical activity and healthy eating.

People who routinely live to be over 100 years old, like those from Sardinia, Italy, Loma Linda, California, Okinawa, Japan, and other Blue Zones, all make The Essential 8 part of daily life and have, collectively, the best cardiovascular health in the world."

2

Do Strength Training

senior woman lifting weights
Dr. Allan Mishra, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who also teaches a class at Stanford University about how to enhance your vitality recommends, "Lifting weights or using resistance bands. Muscle strengthening exercises have been shown to reduce the risk of dying by 10-17%."

3

Quit Smoking

Attentive doctor analyzing x ray of his patient

Sean Marchese, MS, RN, a registered nurse at The Mesothelioma Center with a background in oncology clinical trials and over 15 years of direct patient care experience states, "One of the simplest ways to live longer is to quit smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, cigars, vape or use tobacco products, stopping is the fastest way to add years to your life. If you don't currently smoke or use tobacco, living longer and healthier usually comes down to the most obvious (and practical) solution: diet and exercise. Increasing your activity level through a hobby or regular exercise is a great start, and maintaining a healthy weight can ensure you stay consistent. One of the most nutritious diets found in people who live the longest is the Mediterranean-style diet which is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, grain and olive oil. Avoiding red meats, refined sugars, and processed foods can also decrease the risk of cancer and diabetes." 

4

Eat Mushrooms

roasted mushrooms
According to Alyssa Wilson, RD and Signos Health nutritionist, "Incorporating mushrooms into diets can improve overall well-being. A meta-analysis of five studies involving more than 600,000 individuals concluded that mushroom consumption resulted in a reduced risk for all-cause mortality. Mushrooms are the only dietary source of a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory amino acid by the name of L-ergothioneine (ERGO for short). The amount of ERGO in the typical American diet is much lower than that of several European countries, likely explaining why countries with high consumption of ERGO, including France, Ireland, and Italy, have a higher life expectancy than the United States, prompting some scientists to dub ERGO a 'longevity vitamin.'"

5

Exercise

exercise

Dr. Steve Hruby, a Doctor of Chiropractic and founder at Kaizen Progressive Health reminds us to, "Exercise at least 30 minutes every day. Do this especially if you have high blood pressure or diabetes. The exercise will help regulate your blood pressure levels so that they don't become too high or too low over time. Levels that are too high or low can lead to heart disease or stroke later in life. And the outcome of these could be fatal."

6

Limit Animal Protein

shula's steakhouse steak
Rebecca Washuta MS, CNS, LDN Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist with Happy Healthy Bites says, "It's been well documented that calorie restriction is associated with longevity, but by cutting back on specific foods you can really add years to your life. Studies have demonstrated that diets low in the amino acid methionine can increase lifespan. Reducing methionine intake has also been shown to be cardioprotective as well as lower oxidative stress in the body. Methionine is found in high concentrations in animal proteins like turkey, steak, tuna, and cheese so by focusing on a more plant-based diet you can increase your longevity." 

7

Focus on Phytonutrients

grapes

Washuta explains, "Phytonutrients like resveratrol and quercetin can have powerful effects on your health and longevity. Resveratrol, which is found in foods like grapes, wine, blueberries, peanuts, and cocoa, has been shown to not only improve life expectancy but also reduce symptoms associated with aging. Quercetin, which is found in foods like apples, onions, and kale, is associated with increased life expectancy and also offers neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects in the body." 

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