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7 surprising things to do to live longer

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Eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly may increase your life expectancy. Other factors, like overeating and drinking more than a moderate level of alcohol, may increase your risk of certain diseases.

1Avoid overeating
The link between calorie intake and longevity currently generates a lot of interest.

Animal studies suggest that a 10–50% reduction in normal calorie intake may increase maximum lifespan

Studies of human populations renowned for longevity also observe links between low calorie intake, an extended lifespan, and a lower likelihood of disease .

What’s more, calorie restriction may help reduce excess body weight and belly fat, both of which are associated with shorter lifespans

2 Eat plenty of healthy plant foods
Consuming a wide variety of plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans, may decrease disease risk and promote longevity.

For example, many studies link a plant-rich diet to a lower risk of premature death, as well as a reduced risk of cancer, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, depression, and brain deterioration

These effects are attributed to plant foods’ nutrients and antioxidants, which include polyphenols, carotenoids, folate, and vitamin C.

3 Stay physically active
It should come as no surprise that staying physically active can keep you healthy and add years to your life.

As few as 15 minutes of exercise per day may help you achieve benefits, which could include an additional 3 years of life .

Furthermore, your risk of premature death may decrease by 4% for each additional 15 minutes of daily physical activity

A recent review observed a 22% lower risk of early death in individuals over 60 who exercised — even though they worked out less than the recommended 150 minutes per week .

4 Don’t smoke
Smoking is strongly linked to disease and early death

Overall, people who smoke may lose up to 10 years of life and be 3 times more likely to die prematurely than those who never pick up a cigarette.

A recent review states that quitting tobacco before age 40 will prevent almost all increased risks of death from smoking. Keep in mind that it’s never too late to quit.

One study reports that individuals who quit smoking by age 35 may prolong their lives by up to 8.5 years.

5 Prioritize your happiness
Feeling happy can significantly increase your longevity (52).

In fact, happier individuals had a 3.7% reduction in early death over a 5-year study period

A study of 180 Catholic nuns analyzed their self-reported levels of happiness when they first entered the monastery and later compared these levels to their longevity.

Those who felt happiest at 22 years of age were 2.5 times more likely to still be alive six decades later

6 Avoid chronic stress and anxiety
Anxiety and stress may significantly decrease your lifespan.

For instance, women suffering from stress or anxiety are reportedly up to two times more likely to die from heart disease, stroke, or lung cancer.

Similarly, the risk of premature death is up to three times higher for anxious or stressed men compared to their more relaxed counterparts.

If you’re feeling stressed, laughter and optimism could be two key components of the solution.

7 Develop a good sleeping pattern
Sleep is crucial for regulating cell function and helping your body heal.

A recent study reports that longevity is likely linked to regular sleeping patterns, such as going to bed and waking up around the same time each day

Sleep duration also seems to be a factor, with both too little and too much being harmful.

For instance, sleeping less than 5–7 hours per night is linked to a 12% greater risk of early death, while sleeping more than 8–9 hours per night could also decrease your lifespan by up to 38%

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