“Live fast, die young, have a good-looking corpse.”
– Novelist Willard Motley (1947)
Chances are, you couldn’t agree less with the sentiment of Motley’s famous line. You may want to “live fast” and even “have a good-looking corpse,” but dying young isn’t in your plans.
The problem, though, is most prescriptions for a long, healthy life are no fun at all. Nutritionists tell you to avoid all the foods you love. Trainers tell you to spend endless hours on the treadmill. And most doctors probably tell you to do both.
Can’t you enjoy your life, while taking care of yourself? It turns out there are quite a few simple ways to support a longer, healthier life… without making yourself miserable. Today, we’ll explore five simple ways to promote a longer, healthier life.
And, unlike traditional advice, you may find some of them downright fun.
Have Seconds on Steak, Not Pasta
The folks at Ontario’s McMaster University are pros at turning the health world on its ear. We’ve known for years it’s carbs – not fat – that makes you fat. But now McMaster researchers have shown it’s also carbs that make you dead.
Or, at least, increase your risk of an early death. In this large study, a high-carb diet boosted your risk of early death by 28%. While a high fat diet cut risk by 23%. Folks who got up to 35% of their calories from fat also cut their risk of stroke by 18%.
The study also found that a diet very low (less than 7%) in saturated fats may actually be unhealthy.
The study’s authors emphasize balance is important in your diet. Still a second small portion of steak – instead of pasta or white rice – could be a smart move. The protein is more filling than carbs… and a little more fat may be a safer choice than carbs.
Walk the Dog
I don’t usually give business advice, but I’ll make an exception here. If you’re retired and don’t own a dog, consider starting a dog-walking business.
Why? Because dog-walking could make the difference between being active and independent and… Well, you know.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia discovered that people who walked their dogs were more active than those who didn’t. That’s not news. But they found dog walkers were more active on the worst weather days than non-dog walkers were on the best days.
Don’t have a dog? Don’t want a dog? That’s okay. Even if you just offer to walk a dog for a friend or two. As long as you’re consistent about it.
The increased activity could easily make the difference between remaining independent and a life on the sidelines.
Feed Your Gut to Save Your Heart
Would you like to strengthen your heart and lower your risk of heart disease? It may be as easy as eating more onions.
Onions? Yes – seriously.
You see, onions and some of their relatives are high in a type of fiber your body can’t digest. But it’s like candy to some of the “friendly” bacteria in your gut.
These fibers – particularly inulin and fructooligosaccharides (or FOS) – cause healthy bacteria in your gut to thrive. This helps these “good” bacteria to out-compete dangerous bacteria. One of the results? Support for better heart health.
According to recent research, cultivating a healthy “garden” in your gut also fights the effects of aging on your heart.
Garlic, onions, bananas, asparagus, oats, apples, and flaxseed are among the richest source of FOS. Adding more of these delicious foods to your diet may be the easiest – and tastiest – way to defend your heart from the effects of aging.
Defend Your Vision With… Guacamole?
Once upon a time, eating avocado was an indulgence. But this fruit is loaded with healthy fats. So it’s okay to eat a moderate amount regularly.
New research suggests avocado may even give your eyes a boost.
Scientists at the US Department of Agriculture tested avocado with older adults. Those who ate avocado daily saw an increase in macular pigment.
Why does this matter? Because macular pigment is the substance that protects your retinas from ultraviolet (UV) damage. The thicker your layer of macular pigment, the better protection for your vision.
Avocados make a great addition to salads. Or enjoy some guacamole with celery and carrot sticks. Just keep in mind you’ll be adding a fair amount of calories. So maybe you’ll want to skip dessert.
A Shortcut to Defeating Depression
If you’ve ever suffered through a bout of depression, you know how paralyzing it can be. When you’re depressed, nothing feels “worth it.” Consequences don’t matter. And you may even think the unthinkable.
Researchers at the University of New South Wales have good news. You may be able to stave off depression with remarkably little effort.
The study looked at more than 11,000 people over 11 years. And it found a very small amount of exercise can beat depression. In fact, the researchers found just an hour of exercise a week could have prevented 12% of the cases of depression in the study.
An hour a week is less than 10 minutes a day. And the study found that the exercise didn’t need to be high intensity. Any level of exercise seemed to work.
Beating depression may not help you live longer (though it could)… but it will certainly help you live a happier, healthier life.
And it’s just one of several new discoveries that show boosting your overall health and longevity can be easier than the so-called “experts” claim.
Live Longer; Live Better
Let’s be honest. If you don’t like vegetables, you probably won’t force yourself to eat them because your doctor says you should. And spending hours at the gym is only “fun” for a very small group of people.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t take small-but-effective steps to improve your life and health.
If you love dogs, walking a dog is fun. The fact that it boosts your fitness is beside the point. And the fact it’s a viable part-time job is a bonus.
Maybe you really like avocados. But you only eat them occasionally because of the fat content. Now you know you’re probably better off cutting out other foods and eating the avocados you love. Protecting your vision is a bonus.
Living a fulfilling life and a long, healthy one isn’t mutually exclusive. As these studies show, there are many ways to promote a longer life… while enjoying it, too.
About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.
“Diet Study Suggests It’s Carbs, Not Fats, That Are Bad for You,” MedlinePlus. Aug 29, 2017.
“Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life,” ScienceDaily. Jul 24, 2017.
“New strategies to optimize and slow cardiovascular aging,” ScienceDaily. Aug 12, 2017.
Scott, T.M., et al, “Avocado Consumption Increases Macular Pigment Density in Older Adults,” Nutrients. 2017; 9(9): 919.
“One hour of exercise a week can prevent depression,” ScienceDaily. Oct 3, 2017.
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