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The scenic route to a longer life

There are certain widely accepted paths to good health and a longer life. But if quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight aren't your thing, what's an aspiring centenarian to do?

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THE SCENIC ROUTE TO A LONGER LIFE


There are certain widely accepted paths to good health and a longer life. But if quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight aren’t your thing, what’s an aspiring centenarian to do? Luckily, studies are released seemingly every day that tout some new way to extend your life. Though they’re not without their drawbacks, here are a few of the most unlikely keys to longevity. 

WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK


Alcohol
Drink up! Among older adults, heavy drinkers may actually have a lower risk of mortality than those who abstain from drinking altogether.

Increased risk of mortality compared to moderate drinkers...
Alcohol abstainers 51%
Heavy drinkers 45%


Coffee
Keep your caffeine fix. Recent studies show coffee can protect women against heart disease and other ailments.

>> Women who drink 2 or 3 cups of coffee a day are 25 percent less likely to die from heart disease compared to those who don’t drink coffee.
>> They’re also 18 percent less likely to die from something other than cancer or heart disease compared to non-coffee drinkers.


Chocolate
Chocoholics may have found the key to longevity. Those who eat a moderate amount of chocolate live longer than those who eat it several times per week and those who never eat it. 

        < Moderate amount of chocolate >  
< Chocolate 3+ times a week >  < No chocolate at all >


Garlic
Load up on garlic. Overlooking the bad breath it causes, garlic and the herb family it comes from have been linked to a host of different health benefits. 

Garlic’s Superpowers
● Lowers blood pressure
● Improves circulation
● Helps regulate blood-sugar levels
● Boosts the immune system


THE BIG PICTURE


Love your mum.
Keep her close. A study by Harvard Medical School found that people who have close relationships with their mum have a dramatically smaller risk of disease by midlife.

91% of people who weren’t close to their mums developed a serious disease by midlife.
45% of people who had close relationships with their mums developed serious illness.


Start school later.
School can wait. Beginning school at an earlier age can lead to increased risk of mortality. Having enough playtime and being able to relate to classmates is crucial for children.


>> Starting formal schooling before the age of 6 is a risk factor for earlier mortality.


Choose the right spouse.
Wed wisely. Companionship has links to longevity over time, but who you choose to marry also makes a difference. New research suggests longevity and healthy aging can be inherited. 


>> Longevity is an inherited phenotype across three generations. Choosing a spouse whose grandparents are still alive can help your children live longer.


Develop a strong handshake.
Get a grip. Walking speed, balance, and now grip strength are suggested indicators of longer life. Those with greater physical capabilities are likely to live longer.


>> Those with a weak handshake were between 2 and 3 times more likely to die in a period of study.


Get rich.
Money might buy health. Studies show people with greater income have decreased incidence of disease. Access to better food, housing, and medical care are possible explanations.


Americans “Limited” by Chronic Disease
24% of Americans whose family income is roughly less than £12,700
6% of Americans whose family income is roughly more than £47,600


Live in the country.
Leave the concrete jungle. According to the Office for National Statistics, people who live in rural areas typically live longer than people who live in cities.

Woman’s Average Life Expectancy
West Somerset 84 years
Manchester 76 years


Own a pet.
Pets heal the heart. Owning a pet decreases loneliness, limits depression, encourages laughter, and prompts exercise. Studies suggest they also have an impact on heart health.

>> Survival rates for heart-attack victims are 12 percent longer for those who have a pet than for those who don’t have one.


EVERYDAY LIVING


Be positive.
Think happy thoughts. People with a positive outlook are usually less stressed and better able to deal with challenges. That positive outlook has been linked to decreased mortality risk.


>> Optimistic people live about 12 years longer than pessimists.

Listen to your dentist.
Floss every day. Poor dental care has been linked to a host of serious illnesses later in life, including heart disease. 

>> Bacteria that live in the mouth can cause a person’s arteries to swell and can lead to greater risk of heart disease.


Meditate more.
Free your mind. Meditation is a powerful healing tool for stress, one of the most common factors that lead to increased risk of disease later in life. Just 2 minutes a day can be helpful.


>> 15 minutes of meditation can produce a much more relaxed state of mind than 1 hour of deep sleep.


Surround yourself with indoor plants.
Stock up on super plants. Harmful indoor pollutants are responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths each year. Certain ornamental indoor plants have shown to significantly improve the quality of indoor air.  

Best Plants for Removing Air Pollutants
1. Purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternata)
2. English ivy (Hedera helix)
3. Waxy leaved plant (Hoya carnosa) 
4. Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus)


Get up every hour.
Sitting could kill you. The average person should take roughly 10,000 steps a day. And getting fewer than that could have a big impact on your risk of death.

>> People who sit for 4 hours a day outside work have a 50 percent greater risk of dying than those who sat less than 2 hours a day.

Just relax.
Chill out. Letting stress roll off your back is one way to live a healthier and longer life. Anger is typically linked to high blood pressure and can cause increased risk of certain ailments.

Men with the highest level of anger in response to stress are …
3x more likely to develop premature heart disease
6x more likely to have a heart attack by age 55


SOURCES: MSN, FORBES, TIME, “ALCOHOLISM: CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH”, DAILY MAIL, HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, IVILLAGE.CO.UK, EXAMINER.COM, THE LONGEVITY PROJECT, DIGITAL SPY, MAYO CLINIC, JOURNAL OF AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY, 

--------------------

FOR REFERENCE ONLY

http://health.msn.com/health-topics/depression/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100147176 - 
http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/28/cx_vg_0501featslide2.html?thisSpeed=6000
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2017200,00.html - alcohol
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01286.x/abstract - alcohol study
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1026963/Coffee-protects-women-heart-disease--men.html - coffee
http://www.ivillage.co.uk/25-ways-live-longer/79045?field_pages=2 - chocolate
http://www.examiner.com/health-in-portland/five-ways-you-can-use-garlic-to-extend-your-life - garlic
http://www.ivillage.co.uk/25-ways-live-longer/79045?field_pages=2  - mom relationship
http://newsroom.ucr.edu/news_item.html?action=page&id=2573 - school
http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/28/cx_vg_0501featslide2_10.html?thisSpeed=6000\ - spouse
http://www.digitalspy.com/odd/news/a276329/strong-handshake-means-longer-life.html - handshake
http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/28/cx_vg_0501featslide2_6.html?thisSpeed=6000 - get rich
http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/28/cx_vg_0501featslide2_2.html?thisSpeed=6000 - think positive/mayo clinic
http://www.wikihow.com/Live-a-Long-Life - dental
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6510084/Indoor-plants-could-save-your-life.html - plants
http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/6-easy-ways-to-extend-your-life-in-one-minute-or-less-2543283 - get up, college of cardiology
http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/28/cx_vg_0501featslide2_8.html?thisSpeed=6000 - relax
http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/28/cx_vg_0501featslide2_4.html?thisSpeed=6000 - pet
http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/28/cx_vg_0501featslide2_15.html?thisSpeed=6000 - meditate
http://www.ivillage.co.uk/25-ways-live-longer/79045?field_pages=1 - country living
http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/03/the-longevity-project-decades-of-data-reveal-paths-to-long-life/72290/ 

Stay single.
http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/medical/story/2011/02/5-myths-about-living-longer/44304898/1

Apples
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110302121702.htm

Antioxidants
http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/28/cx_vg_0501featslide2_9.html?thisSpeed=6000

Learn to play the banjo.
http://www.ivillage.co.uk/25-ways-live-longer/79045?field_pages=1


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