Most of us are all too familiar with the standard formula for living a longer life: Dont smoke, drink only in moderation, eat well, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. While no one can argue with that advice, a specific list of action items tends to be more helpful – especially for those of us who are creatures of habit. Here are five simple – and inexpensive – steps you can take to improve your longevity today.
- Sit less. Sitting for less than three hours a day can add two years to your life expectancy. A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of developing life-threatening conditions like diabetes, obesity and cancer. If your job requires that you sit (and most jobs do), try to get up once every 20 minutes or so to walk around.
- Drink coffee. While coffee can have negative side effects like sleeplessness and anxiety, a new report from the nations top nutrition panel suggests that drinking more coffee — up to five cups a day — can help you live longer. According to the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, avid coffee drinkers are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.
- Eat more fiber. If you eat a lot of white bread, youre not doing your body any favors. Whole wheat bread and other foods naturally high in fiber – including fruits, vegetables and brown rice – reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, infectious and respiratory diseases, obesity, and even some forms of cancer. Processed foods claiming to be fortified with fiber arent nearly as effective as natural foods like whole grains, which reduce belly fat in addition to delivering a hearty dose of dietary fiber.
- Cut the fat. Just make sure its the right fat. The human body needs fat to function, but more and more evidence points to a deadly correlation with saturated fats, which are derived from meat and other animal products. Consuming polyunsaturated fats — meaning fats from plants like nuts and avocados — is a more healthful way to make sure your body gets the fat it needs. In fact, this type of fat is a basic component of the Mediterranean diet, which is a common denominator for many centenarians.
- Walk more. Obviously, walking is good for you. But according to a Cambridge University study published in January of this year, walking can actually add years to your life. As reported by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study indicates that walking just 20 minutes a day can cut your risk of premature death by nearly 30 percent.