With so many new things to do, so many people to see and dreams to chase, wouldn’t it be great to live a little longer? To have a little more time and squeeze out everything you can from life to achieve so much more. Researchers believe that the human body is made to live beyond todays life expectancy figures in any country. However it is the impurities and toxicity of daily life, hygiene and importantly diet that reduce and make the body fight harder than it should.
There are parts of the world like Japan where men and women enjoy very long and healthy lives whereas other parts of the world are plagued with certain prevalent conditions and shortened life expectancies. There are a few factors and good habits however that we can introduce into our lives, and these will have a positive impact on the length and quality of life we live.
So here are a few tips to living a longer and healthier life:
1. Sleep - I’ll put this first even though there isn’t a real order to these, but getting the right amount of sleep is so vital to our overall health. Scientists believe now that getting too much sleep can be dangerous in the long run, they advise we get around 8 hours and preferably not more than this. Some people manage to sleep 4-5 hours and feel fine but can be setting their bodies up for a fall later in life. So get out the lavender, have some warm milk and start looking after the way and amount you sleep.
2. Exercise – Another massive factor in deciding what state our body will be in further down the timeline. Scientists recommened at least 25-30 minutes of good aerobic activity at least 3 times a week to keep our bodies in good overall health. Jogging and swimming are 2 of the best aerobic excercises we can do, swimming especially utlilizes the whole body. Your body will look after you if you keep it on its toes. Regular excercise can also help prevent premature death and cardio-vascular diseases.
3. Smoking – Smoking is a complete no no if you want to get the most out of your body now and in the future. The toxic chemicals inhaled into the lungs while smoking cause diseases such as lung cancer and throat cancer to name a few. They drastically reduce the lung capacity of even young people in a short amount of time. The good news is, if you are a smoker, you can stop, it’s not easy but you’ll know it was the best thing you’ve done for yourself once you do it. The sooner you stop, the sooner your body can begin the process of returning to a state similar to before you began.
4. Alcohol - Drinking alcohol within limits can be a healthy habit also, wine is believed to be beneficial to the body when taken in moderation. However with most things in life, consumption in excess generally leads to negative effects on the human body. Excess drinking leads to liver damage or even cancer. Try to watch the units you drink and pace yourself according to your size. Excessive drinking also ages the human face faster over time through the de-hydration it causes. Enjoy it, but just keep an eye on your weekly amounts.
5. Our Weight - People come in all different shapes and sizes, people may long underweight or over weight but the truth is people are just built differently. Being over-weight is known as a contributing factor to conditions such as heart disease, colon cancer and even breast cancer. I won’t give you figures but the point here is to look after your weight. Take time to visit a dietician, have your body fat levels measured and ascertain your optimal weight. Watch what you eat and get plenty of excercise. These little changes can add years to how you feel, and fill you with renewed energies and vigour.
6. Positive Attitude - Life is unpredictable and we can’t be over-joyed all the time. However we can learn to incorporate a positive attitude into our daily lives and change the way we look at things. Turning negatives into positives and trying to find the good in people is a start. Being happy and positive on the inside creates a good balance within us which in turn leads to good overall health in body and mind. So try and banish that pessimism and look for the positives!
7. Learn Learn Learn – Learning new things sparks our minds into gear, gets those neurons firing and keeps our mind fresh and youthful. Sometimes we get used to life and routine that our brains don’t need to work so hard so it loses a little power. Giving your brain food for though with puzzles, brain teasers, new subjects to learn, instruments, projects… can really preserve your mental capacity well into old age.
8. Our Diet – This is a massively vital part of a live longer regime that should be giving plenty of attention. I placed it low down so even if you only remember a few from this list, hopefully this will be one. A good diet can prevent illnesses forming in your body, even if you are suffering from an illness, a good diet can help your body battle it. A healthy diet will help to control you levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and weight. So briefly, a good diet consists of:
* Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables – Scientists believe 5 a day is a good start, but why stop there? Try and hit 7-8 a day for maximum health benefits. These help lower the risk of many diseases, make you feel and even look great.
* Oily Fish – 2 to 3 portions of oily fish a week will give your body essential omega oils and offers protection against
heart disease also.
* Reduce Your Salt – A reduction in your salt intake will help to lower and keep in check your blood pressure.
Reduce it little by little and learn to enjoy the real tastes of the foods you eat.
* Fatty foods – Foods that contain saturated fat can lead to higher levels of cholesterol which in turn can lead to
heart disease. Try to cut out saturated fats and replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
To conclude, I’d say there are many more additions out there waiting to go onto this list, try to discover what they are. Research into what people eat in the countries where life expectancy is greatest, what are their family and social circles like?
Think about what other changes you can introduce in your life, or which habits to remove and leave behind. Each person is different and genes also play a big role in the way our bodies will treat us. However we can consciously make the decision to play a bigger role in our own life expectancy. You’ll love the health benefits and feel years younger in no time at all, they won’t be able to keep you of the tennis court!
Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter