For millions of people around the world, living a long and healthy life is the ultimate dream. Although longevity may seem out of our control, there are many lifestyle changes we can make to shift the odds in our favor.
Here at Montes Medical Group, our doctors take a long-term approach to patient health by carefully monitoring each individual’s well-being over time. We guide our patients to make smart choices in areas closely related to longevity, such as activity levels, nutrition, stress management, and sleeping habits.
Although genetics plays a role in longevity, environmental factors are also a very important part of the equation. By focusing on things like diet and exercise, people can improve their life quality and quantity in the long-run.
We wanted to dive deeper into each of these areas and provide additional insight into some of the keys to longevity. Keep reading to learn more!
1. Managing Stress
We all know that too much stress can negatively impact our health. However, you may be surprised to learn that excessive stress can also shorten your lifespan.
For example, women under stress are twice as likely to die from heart disease, stroke, or lung cancer. Accordingly, stressed-out men are three times more likely to die a premature death than men who aren’t under stress.
As you can see, it’s quite important to find a positive outlet for stress in our lives. Activities like yoga, meditation, and tai chi are great ways to calm the mind and bring stress levels back down.
You can also choose hobbies that make you happy and practice them on a regular basis. Activities, such as writing, painting, and cooking are all great ways to channel our energy into something positive.
Eating well is one of the best ways to boost both the quantity and quality of our lives. But what exactly does a good diet look like?
Although there are many nutritional options out there, research has shown that plant-based diets offer many incredible benefits that can lead to longer lives.
A major Japanese study published by the Jama Internal Medicine journal followed 70,696 adults for over 18 years. This intensive study found that a higher intake of plant protein was associated with lower total mortality.
In fact, substituting plant protein for animal protein (red or processed meats) was associated with lower risks of total, cancer-related, and cardiovascular disease-related mortality.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to increase the number of vegetables we eat on a regular basis. Try incorporating more salads into your meals and substituting meat for plant-based proteins more often.
3. Social Connections
Strong social relationships are another vital component of good health and well-being. How we connect to people around us makes a big impact on how happy we are on a daily basis. Positive relationships can actually increase a person’s lifespan while negative or lacking social ties can shorten it.
Surprisingly, personal connections are so important, that risk of death increases by 50% for people lacking them. That is on par with the negative effects of smoking and exceeds other risk factors for death, such as obesity or physical inactivity.
To reap the benefits of social ties, keep your friends and family close and nurture positive connections with those around you. On the flip side, try to reduce negative relationships that damage your mental well-being.
To learn more about the importance of social relationships, check out our related blog post dedicated to this interesting topic.
4. Staying Active
Keeping our bodies active can do wonders to boost our chances of living a long and healthy life.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to work out intensely every single day.
Some of the longest living people in the world stay active by doing small things around their house all day long. Simply going for regular walks, gardening, and doing household chores can keep our blood flowing as we go about our daily tasks.
If you sit for most of the day, make sure to get up every twenty minutes or so. Take a quick break, get some water, or try a stretching break.
Taking part in sports or activities that you enjoy makes it more likely that you’ll stay active over time. Try to identify some things that make you happy and you’ll be well on your way to building an active lifestyle.
5. Oral Health
Oral health is more important to our long-term health than you may think. With over 600 types of bacteria living in our mouths at any time, it is critical to practice regular oral hygiene like brushing and flossing.
Unchecked oral bacteria can lead to gum disease which can make it easier for our gums to start bleeding. This bacteria can then travel through the rest of our body through the concentrated blood vessels in our gums, causing many more health problems to arise.
Consequently, it’s essential we care for our mouths very well if we want to live long and healthy lives.
By paying attention to our oral health we can positively impact:
- Levels of toxicity and inflammation in our bodies
- Inflammation loads on our heart and cardiovascular system
- How resistant we are to dementia
- Pregnancy health
Try to floss daily, brush your teeth, and see your dentist regularly to stay ahead of any oral health issues that may arise.
In conclusion, there are many great steps we can take to improve our chances of living a long and healthy life.
Start by looking at fun ways to stay active and by eating a more plant-based diet. Take it even further by nurturing your social ties, taking care of your dental health, and keeping your stress levels in check with positive outlets.
Another great tip is to see your doctor annually and checkup on your overall health. By incorporating these changes, you’ll be well on your way to a long, healthy, and happy life!
To schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, please contact us by clicking here.