Top Thirteen Habits For Longevity & Anti-Aging

Four common bad habits combined -smoking, drinking too much, inactivity and poor diet -can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests.

The findings are from a study that tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, and they highlight yet another reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy behaviors. Among them, 91 died during the study, or 29 percent. Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 died, or about 8 percent.

Your daily habits are vitally important for longevity. In the last of the longevity series, read on to learn important habits to follow for longevity and anti-aging!

For something that occupies about one third of our lives, little was known about the importance of sleep with regard to our life expectancy until recently. Based on a study of twins that took more than twenty years to complete, scientists discovered that not only does sleep have an effect on our health; it also has a bearing on how long we live. The investigators reached an outcome that our sleep should only amount to no more than seven to eight hours every twenty four hour period. Any more or any less and it could have a damaging effect that could include mortality. 

It's a fact that 40% of Americans do not get enough sleep. Because of this, lives are put in danger and health is compromised. It has been estimated that over 50% of automobile accidents are related to drowsiness. Lack of sleep affects job performance and the ability to think clearly. The long-term effects of sleep deprivation can be devastating. When you sleep, your body is meant to repair itself and get back into balance. Toxins are supposed to be removed and immune system cells activated. With chronic sleep deprivation, these activities are reduced, which leads to many physical and emotional problems, including premature aging. During phase 4 deep delta sleep, human growth hormone, a powerful anti-aging and immune stimulating substance is released. The more phase 4 delta sleep one gets, the less one ages.

A study led by Washington State University Regents professor of soil science John Reganold, is one of the most comprehensive, persuasive studies yet to show the nutritional and environmental benefits of organic foods and organic farming. The study was done on strawberries and the results are pretty convincing: organic strawberries are healthier, tastier, and better for the soil than conventional strawberries. Food is undoubtedly healthier if it is not contaminated by pesticides, nitrates, and other agrochemicals. Organic food is higher in phytonutrients, higher in cancer-fighting antioxidants. The research suggests that pesticides and herbicides actually thwart the production of phenolics chemicals that act as a plant's natural defense and also happen to be good for our health.
The results showed a significant increase in antioxidants in organic and sustainably grown foods versus conventionally grown foods. The levels of antioxidants in sustainably grown corn were 58.5 percent higher than conventionally grown corn. Organic foods taste better and the most important aspect being that they aren't doused in pesticides.

Studies show that the presence of periodontal diseases, diseases most common in people with tooth loss, actually affects longevity. The best of these studies done at Emory University with the Centers for Disease Control, indicated that people with gingivitis and periodontitis have a mortality rate that is 23 percent to 46 percent higher than those who don't..why? They are linked to increased rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as to an increase in mortality from other causes, such as infections. 

Flossing your teeth daily can make your arteries younger. The probable reason: Flossing helps keep your immune system young. The same bacteria that causes periodontal disease also trigger an immune response, inflammation, that causes the arteries to swell. The swelling of the arterial walls results in a constriction of blood flow that can lead to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease. Other studies have shown that periodontal disease leads to a higher white blood cell count, which is an indicator that the immune system is under increased stress. Poor oral hygiene and particularly increased tooth loss are important indicators of your risk. The fewer teeth you have, the greater your risk of gum infections.

The good news is that a classic NASA study found that common house plants could improve air quality. In fact, they reported that houseplants were able to remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours. The recommendation? Use 15 to 18 "good-sized" house plants in 6-to 8-inch diameter containers for an 1,800 square-foot house. Plants can remove a variety of toxic air emissions including ammonia, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene, xylene and trichloroethytene. House plants make people feel calmer and more optimistic, says Bruno Cortis, M.D., a Chicago cardiologist. 

Interestingly, he says that studies have shown that hospital patients who face a window with a garden view recovered more quickly than those who had to look at a wall. According to a University of Agriculture in Norway study, indoor plants can reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30 percent, partially by increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust. The top air purifying plants are: dragon tree, ivy, ficus, philodendrons, spider plants, peace lilies, ferns, chrysanthemums, and palms.

Regular exercise extends life, and the effect is so powerful that even people who wait until they are middle-aged to begin exercising gain extra days on earth. Therefore it's never to late to start. Medical researchers at Harvard and Standford Universities who studied the habits and health of 17,000 middle-aged and older men, reported the first scientific evidence that even modest exercise helps prolong life. Dr. Ralph S. Paffenberger, the visiting professor of epidemology at the Harvard School of Pubic Health, who is the principal author of the report said, 

"We have found a direct relationship between the level of physical activity and the length of life on the people we have studied." He added, "This is the first good evidence that people who are active and fit have a longer life span than those who are not."
According to some recent studies, the folks at Reader’s Digest hit the nail on the head when they say that “Laughter is the best medicine.” Scientific proof of this has come from the medical school at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Dr. Sven Svenbak tracked 54,000 Norwegians for seven years and discovered that those individuals who found life the funniest lived longer than their less mirthful countrypeople. People who found the world to be the most humorous were 35 percent more likely to still be alive at the end of the seven years of the study and cancer patients were many times more likely to survive if they managed to maintain their sense of humor despite their cancer diagnosis.

Norman Cousins calls laughter “a form of internal jogging” and recent studies from Greece have shown that the act of hearty laughter, just like physical exercise, decreases arterial stiffness. Japanese researchers have demonstrated better blood sugar control in diabetics who laugh regularly, while research from Western Kentucky University has shown that laughter can improve the cancer killing ability of NK (natural killer) cells. Other studies have shown that laughter can decrease stress, increase pain tolerance, reduce depression and improve quality of life.

A recent study determined that people who have a strong social network and spend quality of time with friends and family are 50% more likely to live longer than the people who are lonely. Findings show being reclusive is harder on physical health than smoking or being an alcoholic, being socially isolated is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes per day, and being socially isolated can be more harmful than not exercising or twice as bad as the risks posed by obesity. 

Also, Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging (ALSA), was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health it was a 10 year study. The subjects of the study were 70 years of age and older. The study showed that people who had close friendship other than those with family members or relatives outlived those who did not have close friendships. They outlived them by 22%. The study did not state that family was not important, it showed that friendships beyond relatives and family had a larger impact on longevity. Regardless, having a social network, be it family or friends, or both, can extend your lifespan.

Studies show that people tend to live longer and enjoy better health if their homes are close to a park or nature, regardless of social or economic status.
College students do better on cognitive tests when their dorm windows view natural settings. Children with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have fewer symptoms after outdoor activities in lush environments. These are only a few of the findings from recent studies that support the idea that nature is essential to the physical, psychological and social well-being of the human animal, said Frances Kuo, professor of natural resources and psychology at University of Illinois. 

Humans living in landscapes that lack trees or other natural features undergo patterns of social, psychological and physical breakdown that are strikingly similar to those observed in other animals that have been deprived of their natural habitat, Kuo said. In a 2001 study of the Robert Taylor Homes (recently demolished), Kuo and her colleague, U-I landscape architecture professor William Sullivan, found that those who lived in housing units with no immediate view of or access to nature reported a greater number of aggressive - including violent - conflicts with partners or children than their peers who lived near trees and grass.

Studies have shown that helping others contributes to longevity, better mental health, boosting the immune system, reducing stress, and diminishing the effects of physical maladies. In fact, an Emory University study found that helping others triggered activity in the
same portions of the brain that are activated when people receive rewards or experience pleasure. 

Good evidence associates forgiveness with emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Research has shown that forgiveness can reduce grief, depression, anxiety, and anger. It can increase self-esteem, hopefulness, and positive attitudes toward the offender, as well as a desire for reconciliation. It can also help improve the health of marriages and families.
And don't forget to love yourself, forgive yourself, and also help yourself, not only others.

Find something positive in everything and everybody and dwell on it so it grows. Be optimistic and see the glass as half full and needing more water, or half empty and needing more air. We can choose our thoughts. Thoughts are extremely powerful.

If you learn to simplify your life and all things in your life you will be able to find more room for peace in your life. Finding peace will give you more time to be present to the more important things in your life – your family, yourself and those things in life that bring you the most value. By simplifying and de-cluttering your physical space, you have more space for healing yourself and focusing on the things that are important. Not only are the best things in life free, they are simple. Life shouldn’t be so hard, when it can be simple and easy. Life should flow and be full of more things that are enjoyable and bring us meaning than bring us headaches and grief. You can simplify, simplify, simplify, and be happy.

Scientists have shown that the amount of body contact (touch) plays a vital role in people's mental and physical development as infants and in our happiness as adults. The benefits of touch to a person's health are phenomenal. Touch can reassure, relax and comfort. It reduces depression, anxiety, stress and physical pain; and can be healing. It increases the number of immune cells in the body, and has powerful affects on behaviour and moods. A study was conducted where researchers asked people who had spent no longer than 15 minutes in a library how they rated their experience in the library. 

People who had brushed hands "accidentally" with the planted librarian reported a more enjoyable time. In a similar study, people who were touched by their waitress, a brush of the hand, or a gentle touch on the shoulder, said they had a more enjoyable dining experience and left larger tips for the waitress as compared with those people who had no contact. Touch is vital to the positive health and development of all human beings, regardless of age. Humans need to touch and be touched, just like they need food and water. It is a way of communicating, lifting their spirits, and experiencing happiness in their lives. Without it, people experience sadness, loneliness and isolation. It is important to have this physical contact in people's lives.

Enzymes are substances that occur in all raw vegetable and animal tissue in its natural state, so that all wild animals always ingest them with their food. Enzymes make possible the energy supply for every one of the millions of processes occurring within the human body. They are necessary for the digestion of food, for the metabolism of food after digestion and for all other bodily functions. 

As for calorie restriction, surprisingly, the less food that is consumed on a long term basis by insects the longer they live. By restricting the quantity of food it was even possible to double the life span. It appears that more food or greater activity causes more enzymes to be used up and this reduces longevity. Wild jungle animals live exclusively on raw food and don't develop degenerative disease, but when fed cooked food in captivity disease becomes rife.
In humans, enzyme levels are highest in young adults and decline with age. One of the digestive enzymes was found to decrease in quantity by about 30 times by the age of 80. It has been found that bigger college students tend to have poorer health than those who have grown less rapidly (and used up their enzymes less rapidly). It appears that maximum growth rate and longevity are incompatible. In addition, because greater enzyme potential is associated with increased vitality, enzymes may well emerge as the true yardstick of vitality. Put in another way, the enzyme potential and the life-force may be almost identical. Eating more raw foods supplies your body with more enzymes. Raw plants also have many other healthy substances. 

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