Food Is Not Your Enemy

10 Tips for Living a Long and Healthy Life
March 15, 2012, 3:23 pm
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We all want to live a long, healthy life. But what’s the best way to make that a real possibility? Read on for my 10 tips to help you reach the century mark …

Add more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits into your diet. No one diet fits all, but everyone would benefit from eating more of these foods and less meat, dairy, and processed foods (I’m looking at you, Doritos, Kraft Singles, Cool Whip, and frozen chicken nuggets).

Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, you’re at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and many other problems. Leaner individuals tend to live longer.

Don’t smoke. No further explanation needed, right?

Move. A combination of vigorous exercise, moderate exercise, and simply moving around more–even via activities like pacing while on the phone or washing dishes rather than sitting all day, every day–brings on a tremendous host of health benefits, from weight loss to improved heart health to reduced stress.

Rest. Inadequate amounts of sleep and rest can have negative effects on your immune system, energy, and stress levels, and studies have shown that getting fewer than seven hours of sleep per night leads to a much greater caloric intake of snacks the next day and therefore an increased risk of obesity over time.

Get your vitamins from food. Recent studies have found that vitamin pills don’t seem to be providing us with much benefit; there’s something about vitamins found in their natural form, surrounded by all kinds of other micronutrients in food, that makes them much more effective. Higher intakes of the antioxidant vitamins C and E from food, in particular, were associated with markers that lead to longer life.

Make your brain work. Use it or lose it. Never stop looking to learn new things or to engage in activities that challenge you.

Be social. As we get older, it can be all too easy to become lazy about maintaining ties with friends and extended family. But it’s so worth the effort–studies have shown that people with a good social network are happier and live longer.

Manage stress. Uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and lead to a whole host of diseases.

Don’t just treat, prevent. Rather than only paying attention to your body once it gets sick, try caring for it every day. Feed it nourishing food. Give it exercise. Allow it to rest when it’s tired. Get it a massage when it’s stressed. Show it the love it deserves.