Longevity is a simple term that describes the most complex aspect of our lives: how long will we live. And even though it cannot actually be measured (although some experts are pretty close), there are things we can do and rituals we can acquire to fight the ticking clock and do what’s in our power to live longer. [This article, “12 Proven Ways to Live Longer and Fight Off the Effects of the Aging Process” was originally published in News7Health]
And it’s not just about living longer, it’s about improving the quality of our life and staying energized, active, mentally focused, and thriving. What’s the point in extending our longevity if we’re not going to be able to use it to maximize our fullest potential? That’s why it’s so important to implement the lifestyle changes and habits that will promote our physical and mental health, boost our energy levels, and keep us feeling very much alive as we live longer with an increased life expectancy..
What Happens When We Age?
Aging is a natural process we cannot escape, and it starts with the day we are born into this world. Biologically, our cells constantly divide, grow, die, and regenerate. As we grow older, the pace of dividing and regeneration slows down, and in some of our organs and tissues, the cells even stop doing so altogether with age, compromising our potential to live longer.
If the cells aren’t renewed, the organs cannot perform their function in the optimal way, causing them to shrink and slowly, over time, stop working. As morbid as this sounds, this is just the pure biological way of explaining aging. Now, this happens over the span of cca 80 years, but the focus on finding ways to live longer is in preventing these processes from speeding up or starting too early.
Chronic inflammation, stress, and environmental toxins are all contributors to aging, making your cells grow older faster than your biological clock. So, to live longer, you need to tackle these factors and help slow down the process.
Aging and Disease
Some experts consider aging to be the ultimate disease, as damage and mutations that occur in the normal divide, die, and regenerate process can cause abnormal cell growth in wrong areas, but the verdict is still out as the topic is just too complex to allow for a simple answer.
What we do know is that by targeting some of the main contributors to aging, we can delay or prevent many age-related diseases and improve the length as well as the quality of our life. That’s why the general focus on human healthcare and well-being has been so prominent in the last few decades.
And although some diseases may be hard to prevent or even control, what you do with the tools you have at your disposal can make a substantial difference, and there’s never been a better time to start living longer than today.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Keeping a healthy and balanced diet ensures that your body gets all the important macro- and micronutrients to nourish your cells and tissues, promoting their regeneration and optimal function. In today’s world, the quality of food has unfortunately gone down, what with the soil depletion and overuse to the overall pollution and other environmental toxins. Studies from the last decade already warned of the dangers of soil depletion and what that could mean for human health.
Still, choosing wholesome foods instead of their processed counterparts is the best way to create a good nutritional foundation for your health. Especially by including certain superfoods that are rich in powerful plant compounds and antioxidants with the role of fighting free radicals and their oxidative damage. Being selective in making dietary choices is crucial to living longer.
Free radicals are extremely harmful to your cells and accelerate aging as they inflict oxidative damage on your cells, disabling them to either divide, grow, or regenerate properly. Even though this theory has been revisited and updated as scientists continue to learn more about aging, it’s still one of the major harmful effects of toxins we can try combatting with the right antioxidant-rich foods.
Implement Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a concept that doesn’t tell you what to eat, but when to eat. It uses a time-restricted window for eating while the rest of the day you’re fasting. There are many ways and methods to intermittent fasting, but research shows how having longer fasting periods promotes cell autophagy (cellular clean-up) and regeneration, increasing lifespan. If you’re someone who’s interested in learning more about intermittent fasting, talk to your healthcare provider before embarking on this journey as it might not be suitable for everyone and their health situation.
Avoid Processed Foods and Sugars
As much as it’s important to eat healthy, it’s even more important to avoid processed foods and excess sugars. No amount of nutrients can counteract the negative consequences and chronic inflammation that these toxins can create in the body. It comes as no surprise that processed foods and added sugars accelerate the aging process as they speed up cell aging, make you lose precious hydration, and wreak havoc amongst your hormones.
That’s why in addition to keeping a healthy and balanced diet, it’s even more important to cut inflammatory foods from your daily diet and allow your body to naturally absorb nutrients without having to overwork its immune system.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
In addition to processed foods and sugars, alcohol is also a big factor that contributes to inflammation and with it, premature aging. Alcohol usually brings no nutritional value to the table and is often coupled with very greasy or carbohydrate-heavy foods which in combination create an inflammatory cocktail, ready to wreak havoc on your system. Limit your alcohol consumption and protect your health and longevity.
Consider Dietary Supplements
The same foods you ate 10 years ago cannot even compare its nutritional value to the ones from today. A carrot from 10 years ago would have had more vitamins, minerals, and other plant compounds than the one you eat today; from the same farm.
And although this is not the brightest news, that’s where dietary supplements come in and provide the additional micronutrients we need to thrive and live longer. Life Extension is one of the best and most valued supplement brands on the market with a full-on scientific approach behind every one of their products. They have even taken it so far as to offer lab testing to consumers, as they’re keenly aware of how every individual has different needs, health goals, and deficiencies.
Brands like these are helping us fight the good fight to promote our longevity, either through educating consumers on preventing inflammation and disease, or by simply nourishing our bodies by providing high-quality nutrients to perform their functions in the best possible way. The right program of supplementation may help us to live longer.
Implement Self-Care and Stress-Reducing Techniques
Stress is known as the silent killer for a reason: it creates inflammation in your system and doesn’t allow you to properly regenerate, repair, and renew your cells. Self-care and stress-reducing techniques you can implement by yourself can do miracles to your overall health. Find something you enjoy doing that will help you reduce your stress levels throughout the day and improve your lifespan significantly.
Improve Your Sleep
Sleep deprivation is linked to accelerated aging and as we grow older, it seems to be even more detrimental than we think. Sleep is when we rest, repair, regenerate, and relax, and it’s the only time during the day when our bodies can perform all their important functions without other areas of our body interjecting. That’s why it’s crucial to implement all the possible tools and techniques to improve the quality of your sleep and work towards longevity.
Protect Your Skin
Your skin is your largest organ and it’s your first level of defense against anything coming from the outside world. It’s therefore crucial to do everything you can to protect it and prevent pathogens and toxins from penetrating your skin barrier and entering your bloodstream. Skin damage not only accelerates aging but causes damage to your cells, potentially leading to cancer. Use SPF sunscreen protection every day and be careful with the kind of products you put on your skin. Remember: whatever you lather your skin with can come into your bloodstream.
Exercise is one of the best lifestyle routines you can implement to combat aging and help you live longer. Not only does it help improve your blood circulation and strengthen your musculoskeletal frame, but it also stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals and promotes cardiovascular health, helping you stay vibrant and healthy. It also reduces inflammation and stress, promoting repair, rest, and regeneration.
Spend Time in Nature
Nature has a way of healing our bodies and mind, whether through its relaxing characteristics or by allowing us to breathe in more oxygen than we normally would. Anything that keeps your stress levels down is in the end helping you live longer, so make it a habit to spend some time in nature. And you don’t have to go on hiking expedition. Simply taking a walk through the park, running on the beach, or taking the scenic route home from work will already do plenty for your wellbeing and longevity.
Blue Zones, or areas of the world with the oldest population, place socialization as one of their main pillars of health. In addition to healthy food and exercise, socializing with family and friends enriches their lives, helping them live longer and with much greater quality. This is your sign to spend time with your loved ones and take breaks when you need them, all for longevity.
Be an Optimist
Although it’s easier said than done, it’s no novelty that thinking positively can bring you a plethora of health benefits. And now, there are even studies that support it. There are many negative things in the world, but there are also many positives and it’s incredibly beneficial if we focused more on those. Start seeing the world through a different lens and you’ll notice your stress levels go down, positively affecting other areas of your entire body and mind like dominoes.
Aging is a biological process we cannot stop or run away from, but according to the latest scientific evidence, we can definitely slow it down and prevent it from accelerating. Implement these techniques and support your mission to live longer and healthier.
Want to Live Longer? Science Says to Do These 5 Things, TIME Magazine
Humans Could Live up to 150 Years, New Research Suggests, Scientific American
Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.