It would be great to not only live longer but also live a longer vibrant life, this is an article on “tips for longevity” that I wrote for the www.greathealthguide.com.au magazine, the magazine is available online and from the Apple app store or the Google Play store, and for a limited time you can get a free copy.
While getting older is just a part of life, wouldn’t it be great if we could live longer and still be active both physically and mentally! While there are some unusual ways to live longer like following very low-calorie diets, which have been shown to extend life, but they don’t necessarily increase health, vitality and one of the most important things fun.
This is number one because being overweight increases your risk for developing many of the chronic diseases that affect longevity and quality of life as we age, conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and dementia are all affected by the inflammation that obesity causes.
Increased abdominal fat indicates that you are insulin resistant which means that you need to reduce your carbohydrates from food and drinks to lose weight, this does not mean a low-calorie diet as increasing the good quality fats will help with weight loss and ensure you’re getting enough nutrition.
• include 20-25 grams of protein with each meal
• Eat plenty of vegetables and salads plus 1-2 pieces of fruit each day
• Eat enough good fats like olive oil, coconut oil, macadamia oil, avocado and nuts each day
• Avoid all refined foods that contain sugar and grains
• Don’t drink your calories in the form of soft drinks, juices, and flavored milk
This seems almost too simple to include in an article on longevity, but it’s an area where many people fall short and it can have such a profound effect on so many areas of your health.
With so many choices of drinks these days it is easy to forget about good quality water, and I am not talking about buying water in plastic drinking bottles as these are not great for your health or the health of the environment.
• Install a water filter so that you can have your own good quality water at home
• Get a stainless steel or glass water bottle
• Try some herbal teas instead of high sugar drinks
• Drink green tea which helps the Chinese and Japanese live to a healthy old age
People are sleeping on average one hour less each night than before, and with the rise of electronic devices like computers and iPads affecting the quality of our sleep it is no surprise that the number one complaint in my clinic is fatigue.
Sleep is not just about energy though and poor sleep affects your hormones, increases inflammation which is the driver behind chronic diseases, quality of your skin and hair so that you age less gracefully, memory and mood and increases your risk of accidents.
• Aim for a minimum of 7 hours each night and some people may need up to 9 hours
• No screens or electronics for 1-2 hours before bed as not only does this make it harder for some people to fall asleep by suppressing Melatonin but it affects the quality of your sleep
• Turn off mobile phones or put them in flight mode, turn off wifi to decrease electromagnetic radiation, this has been shown to affect sleep quality
Exercise helps to increase longevity in many ways, and when I talk about exercise it does not mean running marathons or anything extreme, as this can actually increase inflammation and reduce longevity.
Exercise should mean more than just going for a walk if you’re going to increase longevity and quality of life you need to do some strength training as this will help to prevent osteoporosis, reduce arthritis and maintain strength to be able to do everything you want to do.
• Keep active during the day, especially if you have a job that involves a lot of sitting
• Do strength training 3 days a week, this does not mean you have to go to a gym
• Incorporate stretching and mobility into your day with yoga, pilates, and simple stretches
Stress is one of the biggest causes of many health problems, both physical and mental and in today’s fast-paced world many people don’t take time to slow time and live in the moment.
One of the best cures for stress is laughter and friendship, you don’t need to have lots of friends but a few close friends is important …. the next best thing would be to have a pet to keep you company.
• Have a spiritual or emotional outlet such as meditation, yoga, prayer or time in nature
• Take time to laugh and smile with friends, watching a comedy or reading a funny book
• Be involved in your community or sporting groups or plant a garden with friends.
Look after your health and wellbeing in these 5 small ways and you will find that you will increase your chances of living to a ripe old age, and be able to enjoy every moment.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen