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25 Ways to Live a Decade Longer

5 MIN READ • 16th May 2022
Health and Wellbeing by Health and Wellbeing

Tricks, tips and tactics to help you beat the clock

Everyone knows that a healthy diet and regular exercise can help boost longevity, but what unexpected things could you do to live to a ripe old age? We’ve rounded up 25 of the best healthy habits from around the world that you could adopt to live longer. From eating chocolate to seeing more of your friends, these easy tips and tricks will help you live a long, healthy life.

    • 1. Read a book “According to a recent study, reading for only 30 minutes each day helped people live an average of 23 months longer, regardless of gender, wealth, education or health,” says GP Dr Shan Hussain (shanhussain.com). Read every day for a year and who knows how many years you’ll clock up!

    • 2. Prolong your slumber “A new study has revealed that adults live longer if they get around seven hours of sleep a night – those who clocked either more than eight hours of shut-eye or less than four hours of snooze time fared worse than those who got the magic seven hours,” says nutritional physiologist Rick Hay ().

    • 3. Go on a fast “Research has shown that occasional fasting of around four or five days once a month can decrease the biomarkers for life threatening conditions, such as cardiovascular disease to cancer and diabetes,” says Rick.

    • 4. Get a dog “New research shows that dog owners are 23 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease, and they also experienced a 20 percent lower risk of mortality from all causes,” says Dr Shan. Plus, you’ll gain a canine friend!

    • 5. Drink red wine Love to sit down with a drink in the evening? It turns out that drinking half a glass of red wine a day can add five years to your life, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. What could a full glass do?

    • 6. Make time for your friends As we get older, it gets harder to spend time with our friends but a study found that people with strong social relationships increased their odds of longer survival by 50 percent – and this is the same life-boosting odds you’ll gain from quitting smoking!

    • 7. Brew a cup of coffee Not only do coffee drinkers have lower risks of heart failure, stroke, diabetes and cancers, a Swedish study also found that moderate coffee consumption increases your chances of living to be 100! Time for a coffee break?

    • 8. Eat more fibre “According to a study, consuming 35g of fibre every day from fruit and veg is associated with a 54 percent lower chance of heart disease, and reduces your risk of dying from all causes by 37 percent,” explains Dr Shan. So, don’t forget to add plenty of the good stuff onto your plate.

    • 9. Follow a blue zone diet “Researchers have discovered five blue zones where the longest-living people on earth come from. These are Sardinia in Italy, Ikaria in Greece, Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica and Loma Linda in California,” says Rick. “Interestingly, all of their diets include colourful, fibre-rich foods, nuts and seeds, plus fermented products such as kefir and whole grains.” Start following in their footsteps today.

    • 10. Take a brisk walk “In 2015, a study reported that 25 minutes of brisk walking daily can add up to seven years to our lives,” Dr Shan tells us. “It has also shown that any regular leisure time activity can potentially increase your lifespan by two to seven years.” Try going for a longer walk when possible for even more benefits.

    • 11. Become an optimist Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that women who were optimistic were 14 percent less likely to die from any cause than pessimists and they were 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease overall. They were also less likely to have high blood pressure or diabetes. So, look on the bright side.

    • 12. Include more omega 3 “You can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease with omega 3, which you can get from fish, chia seeds or supplements,” says Rick. Try Holland & Barrett Omega 3 Fish Oil Concentrate (£11.29, hollandandbarrett.com).

    • 13. Volunteer your time New research published in the APA journal Health Psychology has shown that people who volunteer may live longer than those who don’t, but only if their reasons for volunteering are to help others rather than themselves. Visit do-it.org to find opportunities near you.

    • 14. Turn off your TV “Prolonged TV viewing is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and all causes of mortality,” warns Dr Shan. “This was strongest among people watching television for over three hours per day.” Take time to unplug every now and then.

    • 15. Spend time in or near nature “A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who live in greener areas have a lower risk of mortality,” says Rick. “This means that living closer to nature is better for your health — and may even extend your life.” Even if you live in an urban area, there’s sure to be a green space nearby that can boost your longevity.

    • 16. Practice yoga Not only is yoga great for flexibility but it can also help you to tap into the fountain of youth. “A recent study has revealed that not only can we slow down the ageing process but we can also reverse the effects of ageing by taking up yoga,” says Dr Shan.

    • 17. Keep up your levels of vitamin D “Vitamin D3 boosts immunity, improves protein homeostasis and slows ageing,” says Rick. “Low levels are associated with an increased risk of age-related chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive impairment and cancer.” Try Vega EveryDay-D Vitamin D3 Chewable Tablets (£5.95, vegavitamins.com).

    • 18. Use a sauna “Frequent use of a sauna has been found to reduce your risk of heart disease and all causes of mortality, with the lowest risk found in those who bathed for 20 minutes each session at least four times a week,” says Dr Shan.

    • 19. Avoid burnt food “Don’t overcook or burn your meat!” warns Rick. “Any blackened bits contain carcinogens, meaning that they have the potential to cause cancer. Substances called heterocyclic amines are formed in foods that are cooked at high temperatures or are charred.”

    • 20. Have a laugh “A recent study showed that women with a good sense of humour had 48 percent lower mortality rates,” says Dr Shan. If that wasn’t enough, research shows that those who smile more (and mean it) live longer than those who don’t.

    • 21. Meditate daily Taking the time to meditate once a day provides a lot of benefits – it can boost your immune system, lower inflammation, reduce your risk of heart disease and lower anxiety. Download Stop, Breathe and Think (free, itunes.co.uk) for a selection of guided meditations and start today!

    • 22. Consume whole foods “A study last year found that a whole food plant-based diet (meaning foods that have been minimally processed), led to improvements in body mass index, cholesterol levels and many other chronic disease risk factors,” says Dr Shan. Try to eat more fruit and veg and steer clear of processed meat.

    • 23. Reduce stress “Work place stress can knock several years off of your life expectancy,” Rick tells us. “In fact, prolonged chronic stress is never good, whether it be work place related or in your personal life.” Try to reach out for support and destress in healthy ways, such as doing yoga or going for a run.

    • 24. Find a satisfying job “A famous study by Erdman Palmer in 1969 discovered that the single best predictor for life span in our latter years was job satisfaction,” explains Dr Shan. “He concluded that people who felt useful and were doing meaningful work during their latter years of employment were most likely to live longer.”

  • 25. Enjoy dark chocolate Yep, you read that right! Scientists found that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate (containing at least 70 percent cocoa solids) each week is associated with a lower risk of heart failure. Enjoy Ombar 72% Cacao bar (£1.99, ombar.co.uk) – it’s raw and vegan.

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