5 happy habits for living longer

While aging in general is a complex process, five simple daily habits can help you win the war.

Fruits and vegetables of every color

Eating a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables consistently lowers the rates of chronic disease as well as helping maintain healthier body weights. People who actively incorporate a mix of fruits and vegetables live longer.

The various colors of fruits and vegetables represent different nutrients and antioxidants that help fight aging. For example, the antioxidant that gives blueberries their dark blue color can help fight cancer cell growth, while beta-carotene that gives carrots their orange color, can help support optimal immune function.

Long chain omega-3 fatty acids

Long chain omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — are natural aging fighters. EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut, mackerel and sardines. If you don't like seafood or you don't like fish enough to eat it every day, take a fish oil supplement.

According to study results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,  individuals with the highest levels of EPA and DHA in their blood had the lowest rates of heart disease and the slowest rates of chromosomal aging.

Floss every day

Flossing isn't just good for your gums; it's good for your longevity, too. Flossing removes the bacteria that causes periodontitis and cavities, which is important because if enough bacteria builds up, it can enter your blood stream, causing inflammation and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Research published in the Journal of Periodontology comparing people who floss every couple of days vs. those who floss daily showed that those who floss infrequently had an 86 percent higher chance of bacteria entering their blood than those who floss daily.

Drinking green tea

Believe it or not, green tea can help shed extra age-accelerating pounds. Green tea contains an antioxidant that enhances fat loss, especially by drinking three to five 8-ounce cups each day — which is easily achieved simply by having a cup of green tea with each of your meals.

Move more

Inactivity and losing muscle mass as you get older can accelerate the aging process. But by staying active, the age-related changes in muscle quantity and quality even down to the cellular level can be counteracted. Simple activities like walking, gardening, squatting, bending, and lifting help keep muscles conditioned for longer living.  

Posted on September 2, 2014 and filed under wellness.