Who doesn't know the perfect ways to live? From eating the Himalayan pink salt that will help us lose weight to consuming olive oil, we all know one or two ways to make the right decision for our bodies. If you're looking to hack your health and thus your longevity, check out the following 11 longevity hacks.
Longevity Hack #1: Always trust your gut
With an estimated 100 million neurons, our gut is also called our second brain. A recent study from Imperial College London found that those who ate 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day had the most significant reduction in disease risk. Micro-organisms in our gut produce mood-regulating chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Diets that are high in refined sugar are harmful to the gut. It causes inflammation and reduces microbiota diversity, while turmeric and black pepper help reduce inflammation. It becomes essential to maintain good gut health. This way, we can able to prevent illness and so increase longevity.
Hack #2: Consume good fats and cut the sugar
Good fat is a crucial nutrient for our bodies. Omega-3 fatty acids found in wild fish reduce inflammation and prevent clotting. By using fat as our body's primary fuel, we can slow down glucose absorption via vegetables, avocados, berries, nuts, and seeds. These lower the risk of heart disease, inflammation, and even cancer. They may even improve cognitive function. A study by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences suggests that sugar-rich diets harm health due to excessive build-up of a natural waste product which is uric acid. Sugar is surely a villain linked to hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and strokes. It is hence a great idea to cut sugar and replace it with good fats.
Hack #3: Trust in Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is the latest trend that is here to stay. It is also known to make one's age stay. By fasting without food for 24 to 48 hours triggers autophagy which has been shown to reduce gut inflammation. It also lowers blood pressure and eliminates pre-cancerous cells. By utilizing apps and tools to help align your eating schedule with your body's natural circadian rhythms, fasting along with some cardio exercise will set you on the right track to achieve that youthful grace.
Hack #4: Limit your alcohol intake
While alcohol is served in almost every social setting, it can get effortless to rely on alcohol. But this reliance on alcohol can add pounds to your waistline while increasing the risk of cancers such as breast, colon, or even pancreas. The highest probability of achieving 90 years was found when drinking less than 15g of alcohol a day. The Dietary Guidelines by U.S. government publication defines optimum alcohol intake to be a one drink for women per day and two for men. In this case, one alcoholic drink-equivalent is defined as containing 14 grams (0.6 fl oz) of pure alcohol. To his credit, Warren Buffett, an 88-year-old billionaire, swears by not drinking alcohol.
Hack #5: Stay hydrated
Our bodies are made up of 80% water. Drinking water aids the body systems to function correctly, including the kidneys and liver, to function optimally. A University of Illinois study found that increasing water consumption by 1-3 cups could reduce calorie intake by up to 200 calories a day. In addition, adequate hydration promotes healthier, more subtle skin, promoting a more youthful appearance. Mild dehydration can reduce mental energy and capacity while causing fatigue and lethargy in the body. Essential for digestion, nutrient absorption, and positive chemical reactions, regular hydration helps carry nutrients and oxygenation to the cells. Drinking water even removes toxins from the body hence aiding in longevity.
Longevity Hack #6: Exercise to pump the heart
The best longevity hack to improve your health is to get in 6-7 days of exercise in a week. Studies suggest that this amount can even add 5 extra years! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity twice a week. According to Reuters, a 2014 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that even formerly inactive elderly experienced the benefits of exercise. The health benefits of exercise are that it lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It also improves mental health and mood and even increases the chances of living longer.
Hack #7: Amp up those social settings
The pandemic might have forced us into our houses, but it has been studied that a robust social network is good for our health. Our social circle makes a massive difference to our mental health. While taking care of our body is essential, it is crucial to tend to our relationships. A Harvard study has proved that embracing community and being actively engaged in helping and supporting the community helps in living longer.
Longevity Hack #8: Get in a minimum of 8 hours of good night's sleep
A Harvard study has shown that you can lower your life expectancy by skipping or cutting down your night's sleep. Insufficient sleep ultimately affects your everyday well-being. In fact, three separate studies suggest that sleeping for five or fewer hours per night increases mortality risk by 15%. Not just that, but insufficient sleep even increases your risk of developing severe medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Keeping your internal body clock maintained even keeps your immunity at its best. It is never late to recalculate your circadian clock.
Hack #9: Quit smoking
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death. It is also a known cause of almost every severe health issue, from heart disease to even cancer. A remarkable fact here, former President of the United States Barack Obama is one successful leader who quit smoking through Nicorette gum. Not smoking is indeed one of the best ways to improve your longevity, and Obama knew it. Not just smoking makes one age faster, it also increases wrinkles. In addition, smoking literally causes internal damage to your genetic code, blood vessels, and multiple organ systems. Who wants that, anyway?
Longevity Hack #10: Break out the stress
As per a Harvard study, negative emotions put the body in harms' way. Interestingly, stress plays its own important role in putting us into action. But when the tension reaches a breaking point, it is seen that severe and sustained anxiety and fear can alter biological systems. Sometimes, the pressure can add up to cause the body and mind to add wear and tear. Next thing you know, you're susceptible to illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. A University of California study found that chronically stressed women had significantly lower levels of klotho. This hormone regulates the aging process. Leverage Meditation, yoga, journal-writing, counseling, and make your own system to keep stress at bay.
Longevity Hack #11: Embrace Mindfulness
The mind-body connection, also known as embodied cognition, talks about our mind's effects on our body. Amy Cuddy, a Harvard psychologist, promotes how simple actions like breathing and posture impact our health profoundly. In fact, merely smiling (or even laughing) makes us happier. A well-known trick to fake confidence is adopting power poses that increase testosterone and stress hormone cortisol by 20% and 25%, respectively. The pose stimulates relaxation response in the vagus nerve and down-regulates epinephrine release, making us feel more confident. The next time the facial and postural expressions you give will be responsible for your feelings.
Lately, more and more people are waking to understand and make better decisions about their diet, exercise, and lifestyle and these studies are proof. Longevity hacks? It is time you do too.