If you want to live longer and have more healthy years, you need to take steps to keep all of your cells healthy. After all, no one wants to live more years if those years are to be spent sick and in pain, right? A good, happy life is more about quality than quantity when it comes down to it.
Here are 4 simple things you can do to live a longer, healthier life!
You've probably heard all of these things are bad for your health, but did you know they are also associated with accelerated aging? Not only do they cause your cells to age faster, but they also have been linked to numerous diseases, such as cancer, liver disease and heart disease (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
If you smoke or use other tobacco products, stopping can be one of the best things you can do for your health! Limit alcohol consumption, and make sure to get plenty of regular exercise, which not only helps keep you young, but reduces stress. If you have a high-stress lifestyle, you may also want to consider taking up a stress-relieving activity such as meditation or nature walking.
2. Get enough sleep.
We have mentioned before the importance of sleep to your overall health and well-being. A lack of sleep is associated with accelerated aging and a shorter lifespan - especially if you get less than 6 hours per night (7). Be sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and nap if you can!
If you have trouble sleeping, make sure you're getting plenty of exercise (but not right before bed), eat at least 3 hours before bedtime, and if necessary, take a natural sleep aid such as melatonin or the amino acid l-thianine. Stay away from pharmaceutical sleep drugs though, as these upset your normal biochemical balance and can have potentially dangerous side effects.
3. Take the right supplements.
Most of the foods you buy do not have enough vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. Even if you eat a healthy diet including lots of fruits and vegetables, unfortunately most modern crops, including those used to feed livestock, come from nutrient-depleted soil. Processed foods also contain far too many omega-6 fatty acids, which can cancel out the healthy effects of omega-3s.
Taking a good supplement can help to protect your cells from free radical damage caused by pollution, trans fats, and other chemicals. Many natural doctors recommend you supplement with 5,000 IUs of vitamin D and 3 grams of vitamin C (8, 9, 10). Then add omega-3s, including of 300 mg. of the EPA form and 200 mg. of the DHA form, preferably from krill oil or squid oil.
You may also want to take two important forms of vitamin E – 200 IUs of tocotrienols and 200 IUs to tocopherols (11). Don't buy the synthetic forms labeled "d-alpha" or "dl-alpha." Those labeled as "alpha-" or "mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols" should be okay.
4. Stop consuming soda pop and processed meats.
In a recent three-year study, people who consumed a 20-ounce serving of sugary sodas every day shortened their lifespans by the equivalent of 4.6 years!
And judging from the results of another study, hot dogs, bologna, pepperoni, and other processed meats should probably come with a skull-and-crossbones on the label! Those who consumed lunchmeat only twice a week had a significant aging response within their cells (12).
This doesn't mean you can't eat meat or drink beverages you enjoy anymore. Grass-fed organic meats actually have high levels of Omega-3s, and are reasonably healthy in moderation. Just avoid excess processing and sketchy preservatives. If you love sausage, buy ground grass-fed meats and mix your own seasonings in, or if you have a meat grinder, grind your own for an even fresher taste.
Obviously, limiting sugar consumption is good for your health, but you can try making your own naturally fermented sodas at home, with limited sugar and a nice health boost from naturally occurring probiotics. Try this easy and tasty recipe for naturally fermented raspberry ginger soda!
Just by following these 4 simple steps, you can increase your lifespan, and enjoy more of your years!
To your health,
1. Shammas, M.A. Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jan; 14(1): 28-34. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32834121b1.
2. Epel, E.S., et al. "Accelerated telomere shortening in response to life stress." PNASUS. December 7, 2004. Vol. 101. No. 49. P17312-P17315.
3. Scutti, S. "Depression's physical impact extends to mitochondrial DNA and telomere length." Medical Daily. 4-23-15. medicaldaily.com/depressions-physical-impact-extends-mitochondrial-dna-and-telomere-length-330454. Retrieved 5-4-15.
4. American Association for Cancer Research. "Excessive alcohol consumption may lead to increased cancer risk." ScienceDaily. sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100421102336.htm (accessed May 4, 2015).
5. Staff. "Fast-slow telomere shortening predicts cancer." Genetic Engineeering & Biotechnology News. genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/fast-slow-telomere-shortening-predicts-cancer/81251220/. Retrieved 5-4-2015.
6. Staff. Medical Express. "The CNIO links telomeres to the origins of liver diseases such as chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis." medicalxpress.com/news/2015-04-cnio-links-telomeres-liver-diseases.html. Retrieved 5-4-2015.
7. Jackowska, Marta, et al. "Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Shorter Telomere Length in Healthy Men: Findings from the Whitehall II Cohort Study." .plos.org/. journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0047292. October 29, 2012. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047292. Retrieved on 5-4-2015.
8. Pusceddu, I., et al. "The role of telomeres and vitamin D in cellular aging and age-related diseases." Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM). ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/cclm-2014-1184, March 2015.
9. Paul, L., et al. "Effect of a high folic acid diet on telomere length of colonic mucosa in mice." The FASEB Journal. Vol. 29. No. 1. Supplement LB340.
10. Healthy Agriculture, Healthy Nutrition, Healthy People. Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers (August 8, 2011). Editor: Simopoulos, A. Part I: "Importance of omega-6/omega-3 balance in health and disease: Evolutionary aspects of diet."
11. Von Schacky, Clemens. Chapter 4: "Optimal omega-3 levels for different age groups." Omega-6/3 Fatty Acids: Functions, sustainability Strategies and Perspectives. Editor: De Meester, F., et al. Springer Science+Business Media, New York, N.Y. DOI 10.1007/978-1-62703-215-5_4.
12. Nettleton, J., et al. "Dietary patterns, food groups, and telomere length in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)." Am J Clin Nutr, November 2008; Vol. 88, No. 5, 1405-1412.