Melissa Breyer of MNN writes:
Back in the 13th century, English philosopher and scientist Roger Bacon proposed that aging was caused by the waning of vital spirit, or “innate moisture.” To increase oneâ€™s longevity, he advised, old men should spend time in the company of young women to take in their sweet, moist breath. Well alrighty then! To our contemporary sentiments, this comes off as completely creepy, but it goes to show that when it comes to the quest for immortality, weâ€™ve been grasping at straws for a long time.
And who doesnâ€™t want to live forever? Yet while scientists, futurists and ponderers have been occupied with the idea for ages, short of cryogenics or a vampire bite, we will all eventually give up the ghost.
But that doesnâ€™t mean there arenâ€™t steps we can take to keep that ghost working a few extra shifts. Modern science hasnâ€™t been immune to the lure of longevity, and researchers have worked tirelessly, reaching a number of conclusions about how not to die so quickly. Here are 59 of them, any of which you can start now.
Researchers in Sweden found that singing improved heart health. More research is being conducted at the University of California San Francisco to determine if singing can lead to a longer, healthier life.
2. For men, stay married
According to The Longevity Project, men who got and stayed married were likely to live beyond age 70, but less than one-third of divorced men made it to that age. Men who never married outlived those who divorced, but not those who stayed married. Marital status made little difference for women.
3. Work hard and be conscientious
Also discovered by The Longevity Project, people with conscientious, hard-working personality traits had a longer life by an average of two to three years â€” thatâ€™s equivalent to a 20 percent to 30 percent decreased risk of early death.
4. Eat berries
Berries donâ€™t get the â€śmiracle super foodâ€ť label slapped on them for nothing; the benefits of eating berries are practically too numerous to mention. Just about any of them will do, but hereâ€™s the skinny on 11 berries to improve your health.
5. Stay connected
People who have a social network â€” as in real-life friends, family or other community â€” have a tendency to live longer. One study found that widows, for example, live longer that widowers and still-married women because of the social bonds they form with other women.
6. Put on your sneakers
And then run. But you donâ€™t have to be a marathoner to enjoy the life-extending benefits of running. Researchers found that runners lived an average of three years longer than their non-running peers and that running a minimum of 30 minutes to 59 minutes each week at a pace of less than 6 miles per hour offered the same health benefits as running for longer or faster periods.
7. Don’t forego the joe
A 13-year study found that among men and women who drank coffee, death rates decreased with the number of cups per day, up to six. The trend was seen for deaths from an array of causes, including heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke and diabetes.
8. Be like Jean Calment
The world record for the longest confirmed human lifespan belongs to French supercentenarian, Jean Calment, who lived for 122 years and 164 days. What was her magic? She ascribed it to a diet rich in olive oil, port wine and two pounds of chocolate every week! Plus, a set of calm nerves, said she, “That’s why they call me Calment.”
9. Get off your tush
Stop sitting around so much! One study found that sitting could be responsible for some 173,000 cases of cancer each year. When looking at the American population as a whole, another study concluded that if people sat for less than three hours daily, on average, life expectancy would be increased by two years.
10. Help out, for the right reasons
People who volunteer for selfless reasons live longer than those who do no charity or volunteer work. (However, those who volunteer for self-centered reasons do not reap the same life-extending benefits!)
11. Donâ€™t worry
A study from the University of Texas found that those with a positive attitude were significantly less likely to become frail compared to negative Nellies. The scientists suggested that a positive outlook might affect health by altering the body’s chemical balance. But then again â€¦ see number 12.
12. Embrace your inner Grinch
This one goes against expectations, but here goes. Based on data from a large, 10-year survey, older Germans who were more pessimistic tended to live longer, healthier lives than their counterparts with a more positive outlook.
13. Eat like a Sicilian
When researchers began looking into a significantly large group of centenarians on the island of Sicily, they found a few things in common, most notably that they all consumed a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in red meat, refined carbohydrates and sweets.
14. Go Mediterranean in general
According to another study, about 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet. Think: nuts, olive oil, and wine, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and fish; commercially made cookies, cakes and pastries should be avoided, and dairy products and processed meats should be limited.
15. Add a dash of turmeric
Given all of its vibrancy, it comes as little surprise that this bright orange spice is packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. Turmeric is proving to be a powerful anti-inflammatory as well.
16. Take a walk
The benefits of a daily walk are many and include significantly reducing the risk for developing type-2 diabetes, stroke and dementia.
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