Building a long, healthy life is often a daily choice to build strong habits to support your body and brain. This means making part of each day a time for exercise, incorporating twenty minutes each day for meditation, and a refrigerator full of vegetables and fruit. Each of us can review our situations to try to make small daily improvements to build a healthier life.
1. Eat More Plants
A plant-based diet protects your
- brain, to reduce your risk of dementia
- gut, to reduce your risk of cancer
- heart, to reduce your risk of heart disease
A diet high in plants can increase your antioxidant intake. Antioxidants pick up the free radicals that are released through the digestive and oxidative processes. Free radicals, or particles that cause tissue damage when they find a place to bind, are an unavoidable part of life. However, a plant-based diet sends out antioxidants to collect these free radicals before they can attach and cause tissue damage. For the best protection, focus on brightly colored foods, from broccoli to bell peppers to blueberries.
2. Move Daily
Get your body up and moving each day. In the Blue Zones, or regions where people historically live longer, exercise is simply part of everyday life. You do not have to worry about where to park when you need groceries because you either gardened to grow your produce or walked to the market.
If you do need to visit the grocery store with your car, try to park a long way from the door. When you have unloaded your cart, go ahead and take it all the way back into the store. This is particularly critical if you struggle to find time to exercise. A walk across a parking lot does not take a great deal of time. If each of your weekly errands includes a walk, or even better, a flight of stairs, you can get even more exercise.
3. Manage Stress
Thriving under pressure is often seen as a badge of success for many citizens of the developed world. However, the fact that too many of us are constantly under pressure is never questioned.
Find twenty minutes a day to meditate. If you have thirty minutes, take ten minutes to daydream. Focus on a time when you can clear a space in your mind to think of nothing. If you can, set a timer and guide your mind like a curious child. If your brain wants to linger and look at a dandelion, let your brain do just that
4. Work Nuts Into Your Diet
If at all possible, try to snack on nuts instead of other crunchy treats. A diet that includes regular servings of nuts has been shown to reduce your risk of
- high blood pressure
- belly fat
Does this mean you will never develop these conditions? Of course not. Genetics will always play a part, and previous exposure to toxins could have placed limitations on your health for the rest of your life. However, fresh produce and nuts are a great addition to your diet moving forward.
5. Control Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is fundamentally a toxin that, if taken in small portions, can be enjoyable. However, too much alcohol can lead to a lot of organ and tissue damage. Additionally, too much alcohol can get in the way of impulse control and put you at risk of a really bad decision.
If you want to lay off alcohol but do not want to drink even more water, take heart. Coffee and green tea are both good for your longevity goals.
6. Supplement Wisely
There are many different opinions on whether or not you need a multivitamin. If you are eating well and your bloodwork looks good, you may be able to skip the multivitamin.
However, nicotinamide mononucleotide, or the B vitamin derivative of Niacin known as NMN, appears to be an important product for those working hard to live longer. NMN supplements are easier to absorb than getting Niacin from your food.
Getting your food energy from plants is an excellent start for long life. Avoiding processed meats and sugars are also critically important. Another critical component is getting enough sleep on a daily basis.
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