Eight healthy habits, which, if adopted in everyday life, can increase lifespan by up to 20 years. This is the result of a very recent scientific research presented a few days ago by an American team from Harvard Medical School at the Nutrition 2023 congress, held in Boston between 22 and 25 July (Nguyen et al, Nutrition 2023, Boston 22-25 July 2023).
Prevention is our most powerful weapon
The secret of longevity lies in lifestyle. In fact, how we live and the habits we adopt can make a difference and increase or decrease the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, tumors and dementia. These diseases, in turn, impact our life expectancy. More and more scientific studies indicate that it is possible to prevent these diseases and live more years in health, but we need to act now.
The 8 habits that make you live even 20 longer
The research just presented at the Nutrition 2023 congress is a study involving 719,747 adults, aged between 40 and 99. The volunteers were subjected to questionnaires to analyze their lifestyle and were followed between 2011 and 2019. Scientists were able to draw up a list consisting of 8 habits considered healthy. These habits are, not smoking, being physically active, not drinking alcohol in excess, practicing good sleep hygiene, eating a healthy and balanced diet, keeping stress levels low, having good social relationships, not having opioid addictions. Each habit listed here can reduce the risk of disease and extend life expectancy. However, when adopted together, these 8 habits have a special synergy that significantly increases lifespan, more than if taken individually. In addition, if these habits are adopted at a young age, by the age of 40, they can lengthen life span by more than 20 years, to be exact almost 23 years for women and 24 years for men. Adopting these habits in later life has a smaller but still noteworthy and significant effect on longevity. However, indulging in bad habits can cost you dearly. For example, using opioids, not exercising and smoking have shown the most harmful effects, with up to a 45% increase in the risk of developing fatal diseases. Not following good sleep hygiene, eating unregulated, drinking alcohol in excess and not coping with stress can increase the risk of getting sick by 20%. Poor social relationships can increase the risk of chronic diseases by 5%.
The research is noteworthy and, even if it does not clearly show a cause-and-effect relationship, it is in line with other studies in the sector. In short, those who adopt a healthy lifestyle are more likely to live much longer and not to contract diseases than those who don't. A healthy lifestyle is the adoption of a series of habits considered to save life. The study we talked about today identified 8 habits, all easily applicable in everyday life, such as not smoking, eating in a balanced way ensuring an intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dried fruit, legumes and extra virgin olive oil, a good restorative sleep with an adequate number of hours of rest, not drinking alcohol in excess, not using opioids, counteracting stress, being immersed in a lively social fabric, practicing moderate physical activity. The message is that the sooner you start living healthily the better, but that doesn't mean that beyond 40 there are no more benefits. Indeed, as the study reports, the adoption of these 8 healthy habits always leads to improvements in terms of health and life expectancy, at any age.