We all want it; a long fulfilling life, one of mobility, and one free of illness. Sadly, however, most of us won't achieve this. The average life expectancy now stands at over 70 years- a massive increase considering that during the year 1950, this average was just 45.
But yet, even though public health has improved by leaps and bounds, so too has the availability to processed foods, which offers up endless morbidity to make those extra years feel harrowing.
Is there a way to grow old, healthily and with satisfaction? There is. Rather, there are several ways to increase your likelihood of doing so.
In this blog post, we bring to you a playbook for doing just that- living your best life for as long as possible.
Let’s go, shall we?
Adopt A Plant-Based Diet
Food has never been more accessible. The availability of fresh produce is just what you need.
Embracing a plant-based diet can be a game changer in your quest for a longer, healthier life. By focusing on whole, plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, you're providing your body with a slew of the essential nutrients it needs to thrive.
One of the key benefits of a plant-based diet is its potential to lower your risk of chronic diseases. Plants are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, which help to reduce inflammation and combat oxidative stress. This, in turn, can decrease your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer.
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Drinking enough water is crucial for promoting longevity and maintaining optimal health. Staying hydrated helps your body function properly, as water plays a vital role in numerous biological processes. By ensuring that you consume an adequate amount of water daily, you're setting yourself up for a longer, healthier life.
First and foremost, proper hydration is essential for maintaining healthy organ function. Your kidneys, for example, require water to filter waste and toxins from the blood efficiently. Dehydration can put a strain on your kidneys, leading to potential harm and an increased risk of kidney-related diseases.
Water also plays a key role in maintaining a healthy heart. When you're well-hydrated, your blood volume remains constant, which allows your heart to pump blood more efficiently. This can lead to better blood circulation, optimized blood pressure, and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Of course, that’s just touching the surface of all that water does. Virtually every process requires water- so trust us; drink up.
Practice Portion Control And Calorie Restriction
Portion control and calorie restriction are two strategies that have been shown to contribute significantly to longevity. By being mindful of the amount of food you consume and the calories you take in, you can not only maintain a healthy weight but also promote a longer, healthier life.
Portion control involves being aware of serving sizes and eating the right amount of food to satisfy your hunger without overeating.
In today's world, it's easy to fall into the trap of consuming oversized portions, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity is a major risk factor for various chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. By practicing portion control, you can effectively manage your weight and reduce the risk of developing these health problems.
Calorie restriction, on the other hand, refers to limiting the total number of calories consumed while still meeting the body's nutritional requirements. Research has demonstrated that calorie restriction can extend the lifespan of various organisms, from yeast to mammals. Although the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, calorie restriction is believed to promote longevity through several key pathways.
For instance, calorie restriction reduces the production of free radicals and oxidative stress, which are known to cause cellular damage and contribute to aging. When you consume fewer calories, your body produces fewer free radicals, resulting in less damage to cells and tissues.
Second, calorie restriction has been shown to activate certain genes and proteins, such as sirtuins and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which are involved in cellular repair, stress resistance, and metabolic regulation. These protective effects help maintain the health and functionality of cells, which is crucial for a longer life.
Restricting calories can also lead to improved insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is important for overall health and longevity.
However, it's important to note that calorie restriction should not involve malnutrition or extreme diets. The goal is to consume a diet that provides all the necessary nutrients while keeping caloric intake in check. This can be achieved by consuming nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Engage In Regular Exercise
Regular exercise is a key factor in promoting longevity and overall health. Engaging in physical activity on a consistent basis can help you maintain a healthy weight, prevent chronic diseases, and improve mental well-being, all of which contribute to a longer, more fulfilling life.
To reap the maximum benefits, it is recommended that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, along with strength workouts two or more days per week.
Aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise, is essential for maintaining heart health. Activities such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling can help strengthen your heart, improve circulation, and increase your lung capacity.
These benefits translate to a reduced risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, and stroke, which are leading causes of death worldwide.
Strength training, which includes weightlifting, resistance bands, and bodyweight exercises, is crucial for maintaining muscle mass and bone density as you age. Loss of muscle mass, known as sarcopenia, can lead to reduced strength, mobility, and balance, increasing the risk of falls and fractures.
Regular strength training can help counteract these age-related changes, allowing you to maintain your independence and functionality as you grow older. Additionally, strong muscles can help protect your joints, reducing the risk of developing osteoarthritis and other joint-related issues.
But we’re not done yet- its important not to forget mobility type movements. Flexibility and balance exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, and stretching routines, are also important components of a well-rounded exercise program. These activities can help improve your range of motion, coordination, and stability, all of which are essential for preventing falls and maintaining overall mobility as you age.
Finally, regular exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Physical activity can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve cognitive function. What would a long life be like if you’re physically there, but mentally out of it? Not very fulfilling..
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy body weight or losing weight, if necessary, can have a profound impact on your longevity and overall well-being. Carrying excess weight not only puts a strain on your joints and organs but also increases the risk of developing numerous health conditions that can shorten your lifespan. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly enhance your chances of living a longer, healthier life.
One of the primary benefits of maintaining a healthy body weight is the reduced risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. Excess weight can contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis, all of which can compromise heart function. By keeping your weight within a healthy range, you can better support your cardiovascular health and decrease your risk of heart-related complications.
Another critical advantage of maintaining a healthy weight is the lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Excess body fat, particularly around the abdomen, can cause insulin resistance, which impairs the body's ability to regulate blood sugar. Maintaining a healthy weight can help improve insulin sensitivity and prevent or manage diabetes, which is a significant risk factor for other health issues, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, and vision loss.
In addition, losing weight or maintaining a healthy body weight can even decrease the risk of certain types of cancer. Research has shown that obesity is associated with an increased risk of various cancers, including breast, colon, and endometrial cancer.
Weight management can also positively impact your musculoskeletal health. Carrying excess weight puts additional strain on your joints, increasing the risk of developing osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease.
As you can see, there are so many benefits of weight management that contribute to healthy aging, as excess weight really taxes the body in difficult ways. Give Lean- our flagship weight loss and management supplement a whirl and see the difference it makes in helping increase caloric expenditure, and your waistline in as little as 8 weeks.
Establish A Consistent Sleep Schedule
Getting enough sleep is a crucial, and often neglected factor in promoting longevity and overall health. Adequate sleep is essential for the proper functioning of the body and the mind. When you consistently achieve the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night, you are providing your body with the opportunity to rejuvenate, repair, and maintain optimal health, which can contribute to a longer, more vibrant life.
First and foremost, sleep plays a vital role in the body's ability to repair itself. During the deeper stages of sleep, the body produces growth hormones and engages in cell repair and regeneration. This process is critical for maintaining the health of tissues, muscles, and organs. Without sufficient sleep, the body's natural repair mechanisms may become impaired, increasing the risk of developing age-related health issues.
Another way sleep contributes to longevity is by supporting a healthy immune system. While you sleep, your body produces cytokines, proteins that help protect against infections and inflammation.
Lack of sleep can reduce the production of these essential proteins, making it more challenging for your body to fight off infections and recover from illness. Ensuring you get enough sleep can help maintain a robust immune system, crucial for overall health and longevity.
Then there’s the fact that sleep also plays a crucial role in maintaining proper cognitive function. During sleep, the brain consolidates memories, processes information, and clears out toxins and metabolic byproducts that accumulate throughout the day.
Consistently getting enough sleep can help prevent cognitive decline, enhance memory retention, and reduce the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia, which can impact longevity.
Furthermore, adequate sleep is in itself essential for maintaining a healthy weight. Sleep deprivation can lead to hormonal imbalances that increase hunger and cravings for unhealthy foods. This can result in weight gain and a higher risk of obesity-related health issues, which can shorten your lifespan. By prioritizing sleep, you make it easier to support healthy weight management and decrease the risk of developing weight-related health problems.
Lastly, getting enough sleep can help improve your mental health and emotional well-being. Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased stress, anxiety, and depression, which can negatively impact your quality of life. By ensuring you get adequate sleep, you can promote a more positive outlook, better manage stress, and support overall mental health, essential factors for longevity.
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Participate In Preventive Healthcare
Preventative healthcare and regular screenings are essential components of a proactive approach to maintaining optimal health and promoting longevity. By engaging in preventative measures and scheduling routine checkups, you can detect potential health issues early, address them effectively, and ultimately improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life.
It is a much better practice than the more common therapeutic, or curative healthcare, which attempts to fix things after they have occurred. Sadly, this isnt always the outcome of this response.
One of the primary benefits of preventative healthcare is the early detection and management of chronic diseases that directly cut your lifespan.
Many chronic conditions, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, can be asymptomatic in their early stages. Regular screenings can help identify these conditions before they progress, allowing for timely intervention and treatment. By managing chronic diseases effectively, you can reduce the risk of complications and long-term damage, contributing to a longer and healthier life.
Another critical advantage of regular screenings is the early detection of cancer. Early diagnosis is often key to successful treatment outcomes for many types of cancer. Routine screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and skin checks, can help detect cancer at an early stage when it is more likely to be treatable.
By participating in regular cancer screenings, you can improve your chances of successful treatment and increase your overall life expectancy.
Preventative healthcare also encompasses lifestyle modifications and risk factor management. Regular checkups with your healthcare provider can help you identify and address modifiable risk factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition, which can contribute to chronic diseases and shorten your lifespan.
One thing is clear; do not overlook just how important preventative healthcare truly is .
Wear Sun Protection
While the sun provides essential vitamin D, which supports bone health, immune function, and overall well-being, it's crucial to balance sun exposure with proper sun protection. Overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation can lead to various health issues, including skin cancer, eye damage, and the opposite of what you’re after; premature aging.
However, by taking appropriate measures to protect yourself from the sun, you can reap its benefits while minimizing the risks associated with excessive UV exposure.
Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer worldwide, with the majority of cases being attributed to UV radiation from the sun? Melanoma, a particularly aggressive form of skin cancer, can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early.
By using sun protection, such as broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Additionally, wearing protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts, and seeking shade during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) can further help shield your skin from harmful UV rays.
Overexposure to the sun can also damage your eyes, increasing the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other vision-related issues. To protect your eyes and preserve your vision, it's essential to wear sunglasses that block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Good eye health is crucial for maintaining your independence and quality of life as you age, which will certainly determine how much you can enjoy those golden years.
Maintain Good Oral Health
Maintaining good oral health is an often-overlooked factor that can significantly contribute to overall longevity. A healthy mouth is not only important for your ability to speak, eat, and smile confidently but also plays a crucial role in your overall health.
By practicing good oral hygiene and seeking regular dental care, you can help prevent oral health issues and reduce the risk of developing more serious systemic health problems, ultimately promoting a longer, healthier life.
One of the primary ways oral health contributes to overall longevity is through the prevention of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the tissues surrounding your teeth.
Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and has been linked to several systemic health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Studies have shown that individuals with severe gum disease are at a higher risk of developing these life-threatening conditions than people with good dental health.
With good oral hygiene, which includes regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, you can help prevent gum disease and reduce the inflammation that may contribute to the development of systemic health issues.
Furthermore, early detection and treatment of gum disease can help prevent its progression, preserving the health of your teeth and gums and minimizing the risk of tooth loss. Tooth loss, in turn, can negatively impact your ability to eat a nutritious diet, which is essential for overall health and longevity.
Poor oral hygiene can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth, which can cause infections and lead to tooth decay or abscesses. These oral infections can potentially spread to other parts of your body, causing wide-spreading complications that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
It is believed that bacteria and pathogens are able to gain easier access to the heart’s valves and blood vessels via the mouth, making it of the utmost importance that you do not wait too late, or there might not be a later in life for you.
Alcohol and Tobacco Avoidance
Alcohol and tobacco avoidance are key lifestyle choices that can significantly enhance longevity and overall health. Both substances are linked to a myriad of health problems and can contribute to the development of chronic diseases, which can ultimately shorten your lifespan. By choosing to abstain from or limit alcohol and tobacco consumption, you can reduce the risk of these negative health consequences and improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life.
Tobacco consumption, particularly in the form of cigarette smoking, is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide. Smoking is a major risk factor for several life-threatening diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke not only damage the lungs but also affect nearly every organ in the body, increasing the risk of various cancers and chronic health conditions. By avoiding tobacco products or quitting smoking, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing these diseases and enhance your overall longevity.
Alcohol consumption, when excessive, can also have detrimental effects on your health and longevity. However, there is a bit of evidence to indicate that one drink per day could do the opposite and help you live longer!
Heavy alcohol use is associated with a higher risk of liver disease, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, as well as digestive issues, heart problems, and neurological disorders.
Moreover, excessive alcohol intake can impair the immune system, making it more difficult for your body to fight off infections and recover from illnesses. Alcohol is also a known carcinogen, and its consumption has been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including breast, throat, and esophageal cancer.
By avoiding or limiting alcohol and tobacco consumption, you can also improve your overall quality of life. Substance abuse and addiction can have negative effects on your mental health, relationships, and financial stability, all of which can impact your well-being and life satisfaction. Choosing to abstain from or reduce your intake of alcohol and tobacco can help support better mental health, emotional stability, and social functioning, which are essential for a long and fulfilling life.
If you plan to live a long life, expect a lot of stress. It’s just everywhere, and it’s absolutely unavoidable. What you can do, however, is learn to cope.
Stress management is an essential component of a long and healthy life, as chronic stress can have profound negative effects on both your physical and mental well-being. The constant activation of the body's stress response can lead to a range of health problems, from cardiovascular issues to impaired immune function.
By incorporating effective stress management practices into your daily routine, you can mitigate these adverse effects and pave the way for a longer, more fulfilling life.
One of the primary ways chronic stress impacts longevity is through its effect on the cardiovascular system. When you experience stress, your body releases “stress” hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
Over time, this heightened state can contribute to the development of hypertension, heart disease, and stroke, all of which can significantly decrease your life expectancy. By managing stress effectively, you can help protect your heart and reduce your risk of these life-threatening conditions.
Stress management is also crucial for maintaining good mental health, as chronic stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. These mental health issues can negatively affect your quality of life and even increase the risk of developing physical health problems.
By incorporating stress management techniques into your daily routine, you can improve your mental well-being and reduce the likelihood of experiencing stress-related mental health issues.
There are various stress management practices you can adopt to help you live a longer, healthier life. These include regular exercise, which releases endorphins and promotes relaxation; mindfulness meditation, which has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety; deep breathing exercises, which can help lower stress hormone levels; and maintaining a strong social support network of friends and family, who can provide emotional support during difficult times.
Gut health is an essential factor in promoting longevity, as the health of your gastrointestinal (GI) system plays a critical role in your overall well-being, even though most people are unaware of this.
The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiota, which contributes to several aspects of your health, including digestion, immune function, and even mood regulation..
One of the primary ways gut health contributes to longevity is through its impact on digestion and nutrient absorption. A healthy gut ensures that your body can efficiently break down the foods you consume and extract the vital nutrients needed for optimal functioning.
If you are unable to assimilate the essential nutrients required for the sustenance of life, it’s sad to say that you won't live to your full life potential.
Gut health also plays a significant role in immune function. A large portion of your immune system is located in the gut (70% to be exact), and the gut microbiota helps regulate your immune response.
A healthy gut can help protect your body from harmful pathogens, reducing your susceptibility to infections and chronic illnesses. By nurturing a robust gut microbiota, you can bolster your immune system and improve your body's ability to fight off disease, ultimately contributing to a longer, healthier life.
And Let’s not forget that gut health can influence mood and mental well-being, as the gut and brain are closely connected through the gut-brain axis. The gut microbiota produces neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in mood regulation. Research has shown that an imbalance in gut bacteria may be linked to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. By maintaining a healthy gut, you can support optimal brain function and mental health, which are important factors in promoting longevity.
Avoiding Toxin Exposure
Reducing exposure to toxins refers to minimizing contact with harmful substances that can have negative effects on your health and well-being. Toxins can come from various sources, including the environment, food, and household products.
By being aware of potential toxins and taking steps to limit your exposure, you can support your body's natural detoxification processes, reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, and ultimately promote longevity.
Some commonly encountered toxins include:
- Air pollution: Exposure to polluted air, including particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and ground-level ozone, can contribute to respiratory problems, heart disease, and even cancer. To reduce exposure, consider using air purifiers in your home, staying indoors on high-pollution days, and choosing to live in areas with better air quality.
- Heavy metals: Heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, can be found in contaminated water, food, and household products. Prolonged exposure to heavy metals can cause neurological and organ damage. To limit exposure, use water filters, choose seafood low in mercury, and avoid using products containing harmful metals.
- Pesticides: These chemicals, used to protect crops from pests, can be found in non-organic fruits and vegetables. Pesticides have been linked to various health problems, including hormonal disruption and cancer. To reduce exposure, wash produce thoroughly, and consider choosing organic options when possible.
- Bisphenol A (BPA): BPA is a chemical found in certain plastics and food packaging materials, which can leach into food and beverages. It has been associated with hormonal imbalances and an increased risk of chronic diseases. To minimize exposure, choose BPA-free products, and avoid microwaving plastic containers.
- Household chemicals: Many cleaning products, air fresheners, and personal care items contain potentially harmful chemicals. These substances can cause respiratory issues and have been linked to cancer and hormonal disruption. To reduce exposure, opt for natural, fragrance-free products or make your own cleaning solutions using household ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.
While living out a fulfilling and long life is the ultimate goal, it will require a little work on your part to get there. A great place to start is to get more sleep, cut out the wanton unnecessary (alcohol, junk food), and get more exercise.
There are factors beyond your risk, but modifying everything you can will most likely lead to an increase in longevity.