Isn’t it funny how in our teens and early 20’s our minds were filled with catching up with friends, our love lives, career paths and perhaps even buying the latest fashion of the time.
Spending time this weekend at a Boho festival, It made me think about how much times have changed. In my teens I rarely thought about health and looking after myself. There was absolutely no need with youth on my side.
It seems now as I get older, my mind is preoccupied with reducing the risk of getting age related health issues in preparation for a new decade.
Always one to think prevention before cure, I have been doing some research on what kinds of things I can do to help avoid some common ailments before they strike.
The results are not surprising after reading all about ways to improve your chances of a healthier and longer life. Here are the 7 top tips to longevity:
1. Diet - surprise surprise (not) a reoccuring theme with diet for longevity is eating a predominantly plant based diet. This means having plenty of leafy greens and a variety of vegetables, fruits and grains. If you do eat meat, then reduce it to a couple of times a week. Think Michael Pallen’s famous words ‘ Eat food, not too much, mostly plants’. What he means here is eat real food, not highly processed food-like substances.
2. Exercise - Keeping active as we age is vital. As another famous saying goes “Use it or lose it”, this is particularly important as we get older and we start to get aches and pain. We don’t need to run marathons (although don’t think you can’t either!) but doing some movement daily will help keep you healthy.
3. Stress - This one should really be at the top of the list. There is no denying that constant stress will shorten your life so learning to improve how you deal with stress is a major requirement. Experts say that daily stress can be reduced by changing our attitude towards it. This means rather than adopt the ‘doom and gloom’ way when things are not going as planned, learn to adapt and get flexible with your thoughts.
4. Sleep - ‘The less you sleep, the shorter your life’ insists world renowned sleep expert, Matthew Walker. Our bodies need at least 7-8 hours a night to repair and regenerate. Continuously reducing this sleep is detrimental to longevity. It’s a global epidemic and needs to change. Watch your caffeine and alcohol consumption at night too. They can be contributing to a less restful slumber.
5. Don’t Smoke - This is obvious now more than ever. The research is clear, smoking causes 84% of deaths from lung cancer and 83% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It’s a nasty, expensive habit that can cause fatal diseases such as pneumonia, and emphysema too. It’s a no brainer to give these up.
6. Active Mind - Just like the muscles in our body, our mind needs to stay actively challenged. Research has shown that many of the supposed age-related changes that affect the mind, such as memory loss, are actually lifestyle related. So look at crosswords, learn a new language or start writing a book. Try to keep learning to maintain a healthy mind.
7. Social Connection - When scientists analysed long life expectancy, they found regions of the world they called the Blue Zones where they claim people live much longer than average. What they found that was common in all these places was that people got together and shared their lives by eating together and staying connected in their community. Isolation as we age is highly detrimental and staying connected with friends is important.
I have always wanted to reach 100 years old. Part of becoming a nutritionist was to help me understand how I can stay as healthy as possible to achieve this. Sometimes genes and other factors can get in the way, but the science does say that there are real possibilities to hack a change if you try to follow the 7 tips above.
Yours in health,
(BHSc Nutritional Medicine)
The Longevity Diet by Dr Valter Longo, PhD (2018)
In Defence of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan (2008)
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
Feel Better, Live More - Dr Chatterjee
Bulletproof Radio by Dave Asprey
The Longevity and Biohacking show by Jason Hartman and Fernando Aires
This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that have read on this blog or in any linked materials.