Healthy habits for longevity

Everyone wants to live long and most importantly long and strong.

Here are the habits that in my opinion will seriously increase your chances of living a long and happy life in a strong and healthy body.

  1. Eat your greens. Not just and old wives tale, green vegetation supplies the body, especially your liver with essential nutrients necessary for detoxification. If you keep your liver happy and working well longevity you shall have. In fact all the major studies about longevity show that those who live the longest and strongest eat their greens every day, just ask Popeye.
  2. Eat 7 colours every day. Colours means antioxidants, antioxidants mean low oxidative stress which in turn means longevity. Fruits and vegetables that are coloured all the way through are rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals. Try to eat 7 cupsful each day and watch your skin glow.
  3. Long live cod liver oil. Passed on through generations, via the “mums” this spoonful of treasure will keep you going well into the 90’s. Full of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and important vitamins such as D and A this liquid gold will lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation, improve brain function and your mood.
  4. Fat for life. Contrary to common belief fat is good for you, but quality counts. Stop eating vegetable oils and margarines. These oils are highly processed; think about it, how is the oil removed from the grain or seed? Free radicals, even trans fats are produced in the refining processes and all nutrients destroyed. So longevity is not an option when eating these oils. And remember the food industry uses them abundantly in all processed foods; even milk chocolate contains these oils. For longevity eat cold pressed, extra virgin olive and coconut oils and good quality, organic butter.
  5. Protein means power and strength. Everything in your body is made from protein (even your bones). Get minimum 1g protein per kilo lean body weight each day for optimal repair and maintenance of body systems and strong bones and muscles.
  6. Get the sugar out. Longevity enemy number one. Sugar affects your hormones, mood, immune system, weight, even the growth of cancer cells in a negative way. Remove all added sugar and sugar substitutes from your diet and add years to your life instead.
  7. One glass of red wine. Resveratrol, a molecule found in dark grapes has been studied and is seen to increase longevity and red wine contains lots of it. The one glass a day studies repeatedly report an increase in health and longevity, maybe resveratrol is the reason why. If you prefer not to drink alcohol, you can get resveratrol from the grapes, even peanuts have some.
  8. Here comes the sun. The power of a ray of sunlight must not be ignored in the longevity equation. Full body exposure 15 - 20 minutes every day, when your shadow is shortest, without sunscreen is the optimal amount, but even 3 times a week will make a big difference. Studies indicate that people who live the longest live in sunny climates. Sunlight affects your biochemistry, pumping up your neurotransmitters thus improving your mood and increasing vitamin D levels, which among other things enhances bone strength and the immune system.
  9. Be active every day. We were born to run after our dinner, or run away from being someone else’s dinner. We were not born to sit all day long behind a desk, computer or TV. Aim for 30 minutes movement every day as studies show that just 30 minutes will reduce the risk of disease and can even help you grow new brain cells. Try adding these movements to your daily routine; take the stairs, walk, or bike to work, turn off the TV and go for a walk.
  10. The power of a nap. Nothing supports longevity like sleep and rest. It is only during rest that the body rebuilds and repairs, tops up all the chemicals so your biochemistry runs like clockwork. So if you want to live long and strong get to bed on time. Many of today’s symptoms, such as low energy levels, weight gain, grumpy and miserable attitudes and generally looking worn-out are all down to lack of sleep and rest. The saying I’ll sleep when I get old doesn’t work here, guess what? You won’t get old if you don’t sleep enough. Nothing nourishes, replenishes and restarts the system like 7 - 9 hours’ uninterrupted, peaceful sleep in total darkness.
  11. Focus. Happy people live longer. Focusing on what you’re grateful for and love - even if it’s only 5 minutes a day- affects the brain biochemistry so positively that it even reduces stress. Start by making a list of all the good things in your life, things you’re grateful for, things that make you smile. Read this list at least once a day, you may find that as you focus on all the good things your list gets longer.
  12. Be social. By this I don’t mean facebook. Studies show that people living in their 90’s are big on “physical” social connections. They are actively, connecting through family, church, clubs and institutions. In other words feeling connected is an important part of the longevity equation. Finding something or someone you care about, even responsible for, such as an animal will increase your energy, make you feel good and that extends life.

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