health tips to boost your lifespan

Posted on: 19 March 2014 by 50connect editorial

Here are some simple health tips that show there's more to wellbeing than vitamin supplements and zumba.

health tips to boost your lifespan

With a new survey released suggesting that many of us think we will still be working by our 70th birthday, it’s becoming more and more important to ensure that we inject some extra life into our years. But what are the best ways to do that? We ask the experts.

Eat a rainbow

“In order to keep your body in tip-top condition as you age it's important to maintain a healthy balanced diet and my number one tip is to eat plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables,” says Robert Hobson, Head of Nutrition at Healthspan. “The rainbow of colours offer unique powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals that can help protect against degenerative illnesses as well as maintaining good eye health and even slowing down skin ageing. Highly nutritious veggies include those rich in protective carotenoids such as kale, butternut squash and orange peppers and anthocyanin-rich blueberries, beetroot and cherries.

Be Social and challenge your mind

Keep your brain cells active as you get older as it is crucial to maintain links between brain cells, so they continue to function properly. And that’s important, because brain cells that transmit few signals are programmed to die in a process known as ‘apoptosis’. Take up a new hobby, read books, solve crosswords and do puzzles such as Sudoku to help maintain your memory.  Mary Jordan, author of ‘The Essential Guide to Avoiding Dementia’ says ‘Be social – there is evidence that indicates that some behaviours such as being socially active can be a powerful protective factor against conditions such as dementia.”

Floss your teeth     

“Daily flossing can add an estimated 6.4 years to your life, as people with inflamed gums (gingivitis, periodontitis) have a mortality rate that is between 23% and 46% greater than for those with a healthy mouth,” explains Cosmetic Dentist Dr Uchenna Okoye.  Inflammation allows bacteria from the mouth to enter the circulation to trigger arterial disease that increases the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Get some sleep

Sleep is when the body carries out repairs and getting the right amount lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease as well as boosting your immunity and combating depression.  explains GP and medical nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer explains, “Achieving the right amount of sleep is important for long-term health. Studies have consistently shown that sleep 7-8 hours is associated with the lowest risk of chronic disease and adult age-related mortality.”

Think positively     

Scientists writing in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who have a sunny outlook on life and who view the ageing process optimistically tend to live, on average, 7.5 years longer than those with more negative thoughts. In fact, smiling through adversity adds more years to your life than not smoking as it appears to have a direct impact on the will to live as you get older. Jean Marie Calment, who lived to the age of 122, advised that you should ‘Always keep a smile. That’s how I explain my long life.’
 

Take regular exercise     

A study involving more than 10,000 men found that exercise reduced the number of age-related deaths from all causes by almost a quarter, even if exercise was not started until middle age. Regular exercise has also been shown to prevent diabetes, with the protective effect appearing strongest in those with the highest risk. And don’t let painful joints hold you back “Alongside maintaining a healthy body weight by adopting a balanced diet, glucosamine may help to relieve the pain associated with swollen joints,” says Roberto Hobson. “Glucosamine in the body works by slowing the breakdown of cartilage by activating chondrocytes (specialised cells in cartilage) to produce more collagen which holds the cartilage tissue together.  Glucosamine also attracts water into the cartilage (to maintain the 70% water content of cartilage) producing a gel-like sac providing cushioning and flexibility in the joint.  Supplementation with glucosamine is thought to increase this effect within the body.”

Tip and advice on ‘Live Longer, Live Younger’ can be found in Dr Sarah Brewer’s book http://www.amazon.com/Live-Longer-Look-Younger-Twenty/dp/1859063454

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