Aging sure isn’t for sissies. As we get older some things don’t work quite as well as they used to. And for each ounce of wisdom we gain there always seems to be some more gray hair to go with it.
But there are all the fantastic things you wouldn’t give up for the world, starting with that hard won wisdom. Then there are all the wonderful friends you’ve made along the way, the kids and especially the grandkids.
Grandchildren make you want to stick around for as long as possible so you can watch them graduate from college, get married and start families of their own. I’m betting you wouldn’t even mind welcoming a few great grandkids into this world.
Well it turns out besides a healthy diet and exercise there are a few more tricks you can try that can add years to your own personal timetable. Following are seven simple changes you can make that could add seven, or even more, years to your life.
1. Develop a coffee habit:
A growing stack of studies has linked coffee drinking to a longer life. After years of coffee having a reputation as a “guilty pleasure,” scientists now say drinking several cups a day could end up adding years to your life.
In a large study involving over 208,000 women, those who drank one to five cups a day had less chance of dying from any cause than the ladies who skipped the coffee.1 In another study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, middle-aged men and women who drank three to five cups of java a day were found to be 65 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.2
Your coffee habit could also slash your risk of diabetes—responsible for over 234,000 deaths a year—by an incredible 50 percent.3,4 And two and half cups a day could cut your cancer risk in half too.5
2. Chow down on chocolate:
Flavanol rich cocoa powders and dark chocolates can help relax blood vessels and trigger more blood to flow to the brain. As a result they may help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.
When researchers reviewed 133 different studies on flavonoid-rich foods they confirmed dark chocolate can help lower high blood pressure, which according to the CDC contributes to 1,100 deaths a day.6 In fact, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, just three ounces of quality dark chocolate could help reduce blood pressure up to 10 points.7
3. Take more rolls in the hay:
There’s nothing to not like about sex. It’s a huge stress reliever, it’s a great way to slip in a little extra aerobic exercise and it’s loads of fun. Plus, scientists say you likely can add age fighting to that list.
In a study, published in the British Medical Journal, researchers found a link between orgasm frequency and a significantly lower chance of early death. And we’re not talking peanuts here either. Mortality risk was slashed by 50 percent, and the increase in life span was around three to eight years for the guys who had more frequent orgams.8
4. Fall for apples:
If you’re a fan of apples I’ve got great news. Antioxidant rich apples aren’t just delicious, they may be able to help us live longer too.
Specifically it’s the polyphenols in apples that scientists say could add more years to our lives. In an animal study, apple polyphenols boosted lifespan an average of 10 percent.9 Plus it extended the ability to walk, climb and move around. In a similar, later study, apple extracts extended lifespans by up to 25 percent.10
We’re not lab animals, of course, but this study supports earlier research that credits frequent apple eating with slashing heart disease risk up to 22 percent.11 Heart disease kills up to 370,000 people every year, but regular apple eating could help reduce that number.
5. Turn up the heat:
If you’re a fan of spicy food you’re in luck. According to researchers at the Larner College of Medicine in Vermont, eating red hot chili peppers is linked to a 13 percent drop in mortality.12 In other words, a regular Szechuan beef or hot salsa habit could end up adding years to your life.
According to the study, published in the journal PLOS One, the peppers appear to reduce heart disease and stroke deaths. And while scientists aren’t exactly sure yet how the peppers work their magic, they believe it may be linked to the capsaicin in the peppers.
6. Go nuts for nuts:
If you’ve given up nuts because of their fat content it’s time to add them back onto your menu. Studies show nuts can actually help you lose weight. Nut eaters tend to have lower body mass indexes and smaller waists. Plus, studies show nuts could help slash your risk of cancer, fight inflammation, boost blood vessel function and even raise your good cholesterol.
In other words, it’s pretty obvious why nuts could help you add time to your life clock. In fact, according to a study published in the journal BioMed Central, frequent nut eaters have a 39 percent lower risk of death than folks who skip the delicious treat.13 Walnuts eaters had a 45 percent lower risk of early death.
7. Unseat your seat:
Stuck at your desk all day? Or do you have a serious Facebook or TV habit? If you’re spending a lot of time with your seat in your seat, experts say you are shortening your life span.
But according to a study based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, you may be able to easily add up to two extra years to your life simply be sitting fewer than three hours a day. Shaving just two hours off your seated time can add nearly as much, 1.38 years according to researchers.
Refuse to check out any sooner than you have to. Start implementing these seven changes today and you could end up adding seven, or even more, years to your life.
1. “Association of Coffee Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Three Large Prospective Cohorts,” Circulation, March 14, 2017, Volume 135, Issue 11
2. “Midlife coffee and tea drinking and the risk of late-life dementia: a population-based CAIDE study,” J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;16(1):85-91
3. “Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes,” Diabetes Care, 2006 Feb; 29(2): 398-403
4. “The evaluation of inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers on coffee–diabetes association: results from the 10-year follow-up of the ATTICA Study (2002–2012),” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69, 1220-1225, November 2015
5.“Expression of specific inflammasome gene modules stratifies older individuals into two extreme clinical and immunological states,” Nature Medicine, 23, 174–184, 2017
6. “Flavonoids, flavonoid-rich foods, and cardiovascular risk: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials,” Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jul;88(1):38-50
7. “Chocolate and Blood Pressure in Elderly Individuals With Isolated Systolic Hypertension,” JAMA. 2003;290(8):1029-1030
8. “Sex and death: are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly Cohort Study,” BMJ. 1997 Dec 20; 315(7123): 1641–1644
9. “Apple polyphenols extend the mean lifespan of Drosophila melanogaste,” J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Mar 9;59(5):2097-106
10. “Whole apple extracts increase lifespan, healthspan and resistance to stress in Caenorhabditis elegans,” J Funct Foods. 2013 Jul;5(3):1236-1243
11. “Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits,” Nutrition Journal, 20043:5
12. “The Association of Hot Red Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality: A Large Population-Based Cohort Study,” PLOS One, Published: January 9, 2017
13. “Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies,” BMC Medicine, 2016,14:207
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
Follow Alice and HealthierTalk on Twitter and Facebook.