The search for longevity is on everyone’s mind. What can I do to live longer? While there is no magic pill, there seems to be a magic formula that can make you live longer.
As a Registered Dietitian and one that lives in a country with a Blue Zone (Nicoya, Costa Rica), I’ve learned there are several things you can do to help you extend your life.
If you think there is only one factor that affects longevity, you are wrong. It is a combination of different habits.
In this article, I will explore all the factors that I’ve learned that impact your aging, your health, and what you can do to help you live longer.
Habits To Make You Live Longer
Nutrition For Longevity
One of the essential things when talking about longevity is nutrition. There is a strong connection between your food and living longer.
However, as mentioned before, there is not only one thing you can do to help you live longer. It is a combination of different nutritional aspects that help you stay healthy and help you live longer.
So, let’s talk about those fundamental aspects to consider when discussing diet and nutrition for longevity.
Oxidative stress is one of the main reasons your body ages.
This happens when there are a lot of molecules known as free radicals. These unstable molecules can affect healthy cells, increasing the signs of aging.
Antioxidants help reduce the number of free radicals in your body.
Foods like blueberries, raspberries, pecans, dark chocolate, artichokes, and kale are very high in antioxidants.
Include as many high-antioxidant foods as possible in your diet to help reduce the aging process. Keep in mind that every color of fruit and vegetable provides a different antioxidant. So, whenever you eat, follow the rule: eat the rainbow.
Have as much variety in your colors as possible. I always recommend having at least three different color fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
Also Read: Health Benefits of Taking Super Reds
One of the things I realized by studying people from the Blue Zones is that they tend to consume minimally processed foods.
There are no fast-food restaurants nearby, foods don’t come in packages, and their meals are fundamental. A protein, whole grains, and some vegetables.
There must be a connection, right?
Research shows that consuming ultra-processed foods, high in additives and chemicals, can increase the number of free radicals in your body and increase the signs of aging.
Consuming vegetable oils (typically found in fast-food places) increases your inflammation markers, affecting your cell aging.
If you choose an oil, go with those high in omega-3 fatty acids, like olive or flax seed oil. These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which makes them an ally when you want to extend your life.
So, if you want to live longer, avoid ultra-processed foods. The more natural the food, the better it will be for the body, which brings me to the next point.
Also Read: 9 Superfoods to Eat After 50
Studies have shown that following a plant-based diet can increase their lifespan significantly.
Focusing on consuming whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds has been linked to having better health and longer life.
While this doesn’t mean that you need to go vegetarian or vegan, it means that consuming lower levels of animal proteins can better impact your health.
If you are going to add animal protein to your diet, make sure to choose white meat over red since studies show that consuming processed meats and red meat was associated with higher mortality rates.
Finally, when it comes to nutrition and longevity, there is a relationship between your weight and your lifespan.
Decreasing your excess weight by 5 to 10% can add a couple more years to your life.
With greater weight, you risk developing chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
However, having a very low weight can also put your health at risk. People with a lower muscle mass seem to shorten their lifespan too.
The Role Of Sleep
Sleep also plays a crucial role in helping you live longer.
Having a good quality of sleep can significantly extend your life.
No wonder those people on Blue Zones go to bed early and wake up early. They understand the importance of having a good night’s sleep.
An interesting fact is that the quality and duration is not the only thing that matters. Studies have shown that those with a stricter sleep pattern seem to have a longer lifespan.
Creating a bedtime routine can help your body get into sleep mode and make it easier for you to have a restful night, all while making sure you go to bed (and wake up) at the same time each day.
The food you eat is not the only thing that can impact longevity
Studies show that factors that affect the quality of your life can directly impact how many years you can live.
According to recent studies, being under constant stress can shorten your life by almost three years.
While having stress is part of our regular lives. How you handle stress is what matters.
Including meditation, yoga, or any form of therapy can help you deal with stress better and prevent it from affecting your quality of life.
Being physically active can help extend your life.
Research shows that active people can extend their life by 2 to 8 years, according to their activity levels.
With that said, exercising one hour a day can bring several benefits. The movement you make throughout the day is equally important.
If you spend most of your time sitting, this won’t bring any health benefits. Make sure you have active pauses every 30 to 60 minutes.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, no one factor can affect longevity. A combination of nutrition, sleep, stress, and movement plays a role in extending your life.
Check which areas you need to improve and start replacing your bad habits with good ones, so you reach old age feeling vibrant.