Tag Archives: longevity

11 Foods To Help You Live Longer

senior-with-redwine-943080-mI am obsessed with living longer. I want to live to be over 100 years old. However, I also want to be a healthy centenarian.

I have been reading that more and more research shows what we eat can influence how long we live. What works for weight loss can also help slow the aging process. That’s because what you’re eating affects your waistline, the condition of your heart and even how long you live.

So, take a good look at your pantry and see if you’re eating for longevity. Here are 11 foods that science proves will help you live longer:

Green tea
The world’s second most popular beverage can reduce the risk of death by up to 26% if you consume several cups a day. In addition, it has the added benefits of reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Nuts
A study found that people who snack on a handful of nuts every day live longer than those who didn’t. Nuts are packed with cholesterol-free protein and other nutrients. Almonds have vitamin E, which protects the body from cell damage and boosts the immune system. Pecans have antioxidants and walnuts are good for your cholesterol.

Fish
Fish has been called brain food because it has fatty acids, DHA and EPA – all are important to brain and nervous system development. The Omega-3 fats found in seafood or fatty fish can lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

Berries
Berries are a great source of antioxidants. Blueberries, strawberries and acai berries are a source of polyphenols, a powerful compound that may help combat cancers and degenerative diseases of the brain. Cranberries may also help you live longer.

Fiber
Fiber may help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, prevent constipation and help digestion. Fiber also fills you up so that you can eat less. Beans are fiber-rich and can be eaten three or four times a week. Fruits and vegetables can also add fiber to your diet.

Vegetables
Veggies contain phytonutrients and loads of vitamins and minerals that may protect you from diseases. Dark, leafy greens have vitamin K that builds strong bones. Sweet potatoes and carrots contain vitamin A – good for your eyes, healthy skin and protects against infection. Tomatoes or tomato products may help prevent cancer.

Protein
Protein provides essential building blocks for daily repair of your cells. It’s critical to your health and vitality, especially as you get older. You can add protein to your diet with lean meat, fish, seafood, beans, low-fat dairy and eggs.

Healthy fats
You’ve probably heard about the Mediterranean diet. But what you may not know is the heart-healthy diet has been shown to increase the lifespan of elderly people by about 20 percent. The diet encourages eating healthy fats, like olive oil, as well as vegetables and whole grains.

Whole grains
Eating whole grains can reduce your risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Choose whole-grain breads and pastas, as well as brown or wild rice, instead of white options. Whole grains are less processed and retain more of the nutritional value. Whole grains also add fiber.

Dairy
Drinking vitamin D-fortified beverages like milk can help increase your calcium absorption. That’s important for bone health. Vitamin D also reduces the risk of colon, breast and prostate cancers. Eating yogurt can also give you the benefits of dairy and aid in digestion.

Red wine
Just a half a glass of wine a day can help you live longer. Research found that light wine drinkers lived up to five years longer than those who did not drink wine at all. Red wine is rich in antioxidants that help protect against heart disease.

Eat these super-foods to help increase your lifespan and improve your quality of life. By incorporating a balanced diet into your daily life, you can fight off some of today’s most life-threatening diseases and live longer!

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How to Make New Friends at Any Age

colors-1174715-mI recently wanted to go see a chick flick, and my husband said he would absolutely not go with me. It was then I realized I have very few close friends. I know hundreds of people – at least that’s what my Facebook page says – but I could only think of a few girlfriends to call up and invite to go with me.

When did I lose all my friends? After high school, we went our separate ways to conquer the world. While I still keep in touch with many of these friends, we live all over the country. I have friends I made at work, but many have moved to different jobs in other cities. Now, I am a freelance writer working at home, so my work friends have become my husband and kids.

I made new friends when my kids started school and now our kids have grown up and taken over our lives. I went to dinner with two high school friends over two months ago. That’s the last girls’ night I remember.

I need more friends! It’s difficult to make and keep friendships in our 30s and 40s. However, having a great group of friends impacts your health and longevity.

Here are several strategies you can use to expand your circle of friends and create a more active social life:

Nurture current relationships
It’s so easy to get caught up in work, your kids’ activities and the demands of having a family. Make an effort to maintain your current relationships by keeping in touch and organizing at least one activity together a month. You may be waiting for friends to connect with you. Take the initiative and reach out to them!

Reconnect with old friends
The same approach goes for old friends. You may have that one friend who is a ball of energy and always makes you laugh. Another friend may love to go shopping or hit the antique malls. I actually have a friend I used to call when I wanted to go to the movies. We joked that we would still watch movies together when we were 80 years old. I need to call her before I am 80!

Change your day
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. We do the same routine every day, and it’s easier to just continue doing it rather than switch things up. I will admit it – I can be plain lazy. It takes so much less thought to simply sit on the couch and watch TV in the evenings than to go do something. Be open to random opportunities to change up your day and hang out with friends.

Think about your interests
It may help you connect with new friends if you have something in common. What are your interests? What do you like to do? I enjoy quilting, scrapbooking, and playing volleyball and softball. I used to belong to a quilting club but quit going when it interfered with my kids’ sports schedules. I am about 5 years behind in my scrapbooking, and I’m sure I could find friends who meet regularly. I could join a local adult sports league. You can also take classes in dance, art, fitness or even join a book club.

Accept invitations
When you’re busy and feeling overwhelmed with day-to-day activities, you may end up ignoring invitations. Try to change this habit. Even if the event isn’t something you would normally attend, it can open you up to a new set of people. You might be able to reconnect with old friends, get to know acquaintances better or meet new friends. Plus, if you keep turning people down, they will eventually stop inviting you.

Silence our inner voice
As we get older, we tend to sabotage our attempts to make friends. We may be afraid of being rejected or that others won’t like us. We all have traits that make us unique and interesting. And everyone has their own flaws and fears. Being able to look past someone else’s shortcomings – and have them do the same for you – is often what makes great, long-lasting relationships. So, let your freak flag fly a little bit, and see who waves a flag back at you.

Volunteer
Volunteering is a great way to meet others who have similar interests as you. If there is something you feel particularly passionate about, it will be good for your soul and help you make new friends. For instance, you may want to support cancer research, help the homeless or provide tutoring. Giving back is good for those you help, serves your community and can be rewarding for you as well.

Good friendships take time. Be yourself, keep your head up and embrace new chances to meet people or have fun with old friends. The best friendships develop over time and take energy and commitment. So, call up a friend and do something fun!

14 secrets to living longer

living longerMy husband and I have very different views on aging. He wants to live as long as possible – on the condition that he is in good health. He has made it clear to me that if he were on life support and there was no chance of regaining quality of life, he wants me to pull the plug.

I, on the other hand, want to live forever. Since that’s not possible, I at least want to live to 100. I have told him he is – under no circumstances – to pull the plug. I could be one of those miraculous survivors who beat the odds.

I know this is a rather morbid subject, but if you are like me and want to live your longest life, you want to know what you can do to make it to 100. After reviewing studies, research and even tips from centenarians, here are some secrets to longevity:

Be conscientious
Having a conscientious personality and attributes like attention to detail and persistence may help you live longer. Studies have shown that conscientious people do more things to protect their health  – such as exercise, eat healthy and avoid bad habits – and make choices that lead to stronger relationships and better careers.

Make friends
Be grateful for your friends. As we mentioned in our blog, 7 Reasons We Need Friends, your friends may help you live longer. But, be picky. You want to have friends with good habits, such as exercising and healthy eating. Otherwise, a friend’s bad habits, like smoking or overeating, can rub off on you.

Take naps
This may be one of my favorite secrets on the list. I now have permission to take naps! There’s scientific evidence that napping may help increase longevity. A recent study suggests that by taking naps you are 37% less likely to die from heart disease. So, go take a siesta!

Get married
There is some debate about whether being married will help you live longer, but having a partner in life may have its benefits. With marriage, you have a friend and your own support system. In addition, being married may mean you are more financially stable, which can make you feel more secure and give you more opportunities to do things you enjoy.

Eat a Mediterranean diet
A Mediterranean diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and fish. Studies have shown that this type of diet can help reduce obesity, lower blood sugar, decrease blood pressure, and help lower your chances of heart disease and diabetes.

Lose weight
Belly fat seems to be particularly bad for your health and longevity. So, work on slimming down and deflating the spare tire. The health benefits can include protecting against diabetes, heart disease and other life-shortening conditions. One way to lose weight is to eat less. Stop eating when you’re 80% full. Eat less meat and eat twice as many fruits and vegetables. We know we need to eat better, so add living longer to the reasons you should adopt a healthy diet.

Keep moving
According to studies, regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some forms of cancer and depression. Exercise may even help you stay mentally sharp as you age. You should aim for 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week. You can break that down to 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Even if you can only get in 10 minutes at a time, it all adds up to increase your lifespan. Here are some tips to Get Motivated to Exercise in 2013.

Drink in moderation
Yes, heart disease is less common in people who have a drink or two a day than those who don’t drink at all. However, you need to remember that alcohol is also empty calories that add to that belly bulge. The American Heart Association recommends that if you drink alcohol, the limit should be one drink a day for women and one or two for men. If you don’t drink currently, you shouldn’t start.

Quit smoking
We all know that smoking is bad for your health. Not only is there a greater risk of cancer, you’re also taking years off of your life. So, if you haven’t already, now is the time to quit smoking.

Have faith
Having faith seems to help you live longer. By having strong spiritual beliefs, you are able to better deal with stress and difficult times. It may also offer protection against heart, respiratory and digestive problems. In addition, the strong social network that you create when you worship with others may contribute to overall health.

Manage stress
We always hear that stress is bad for you, but moderate stress can be a good thing. It means you are probably busy, active and involved. Rather than being sedentary and ambivalent, you are persistent and dedicated to getting things done. However, too much stress can be harmful if it causes anxiety, insomnia or digestive issues. Are you too stressed? Read our blog Do You Have Chronic Stress? 6 Major Signs.

Sleep more
As you may have read in our blog, 10 Reasons Get More Sleep, getting plenty of rest can help you fight disease, lose weight, look better and build your brain. Getting enough good quality sleep can even lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease and mood disorders. Sleep will also help you recover from illness faster.

Offer forgiveness
Just let it go. Offering forgiveness has surprising physical health benefits. Forgiveness can help you reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and help you to breathe more easily. These benefits tend to increase as you get older.

Have a sense of purpose
There is something to doing what you love. We all have days when we need a reason to get out of bed. Having a sense of purpose leads to a higher quality of life. You may love your work and look forward to it every day. You may have hobbies and activities that have meaning for you. You may find that volunteering makes you feel fulfilled. For more benefits of volunteering, see our blog, 5 Surprising Benefits of Giving Back. Basically, doing what you love may contribute to a longer life.

So, now you know what you need to do to live your longest life! Do you know someone who is 100 or older? What are their secrets to longevity?