149 Easy Ways to Be Healthy Inside and Out
Everyone wants to look and feel healthy, and there are seemingly endless easy ways to improve your health from the inside out. Whether you’re improving your diet or just getting off the couch, small steps can make a big impact. Read on to learn about 100 different ways to make make an easy, healthy change for the better.
What you eat has a great impact on your health, but that doesn’t mean you have to do a crash diet. These are a few of the ways you can improve the food you eat without going overboard.
- Cut down on sugary drinks: Reduce your intake, or completely cut out soft drinks, juices, and sports drinks that are full of sugar, and opt for water, milk and healthier options instead.
- Don’t forget to eat your veggies: Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
- Make sure you’re getting enough Omega-3 fats: Eat a diet rich in fish, legumes, and nuts to get Omega-3 fats.
- Drink water: You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again. Drink water to stay hydrated. You can add some cucumber, lemon, orange, or grapefruit to bring some flavor to water if you need to.
- Never super size: Eating fast food occasionally is not bad, but eating astronomic portions of it is, so stick to smaller servings.
- Eat whole grains: The outer bran of grains is richer, and whole grains provide healthier carbohydrates than processed ones.
- Eat a varied diet: Balance your diet with a variety of different food groups to ensure that you get all of the proper nutrition you need.
- Find out the recommended serving size: Research regular portions for food so that you don’t overeat.
- Keep healthy foods on hand: Make healthy meals and snacks easily accessible, so you’ll eat them instead of ones that are bad for you.
- Steam your vegetables: Protect the antioxidant properties of your vegetables by steaming them instead of boiling or microwaving them.
- Avoid processed foods: Do your best to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible.
- Buy frozen vegetables: Make eating vegetables more convenient by buying and preparing frozen vegetables.
- Eat lean protein: Get your protein from chicken, beans, and dairy products.
- Drink tea: Most teas are full of polyphenols and antioxidants that not only make you healthier, but can clean your teeth.
- Just stop eating junk food: It’s obvious and simple, but effective. Don’t eat anything that comes in a box.
- Avoid eating in front of your TV: Pay attention to what you’re eating, and avoid sitting in front of the TV, computer or other distractions at mealtime.
- Eat from a smaller plate: Use salad plates instead of dinner plates to shrink your portions.
Going out to eat is fun and convenient, but restaurant menus are filled with landmines. Here are a few ways to find healthy food while eating out.
- Ask for what you want: If the meal you want only comes with fried chicken, ask if you can have it grilled instead.
- Look for the light options: Many restaurants have a light, low fat, or healthy section on their menu, so check it out.
- Request extra vegetables: Ask for more vegetables, and you’ll probably get them at no charge.
- Share: Split your entree with someone and you’ll get a much more realistic portion size.
- Get a soup or salad first: Eat a healthy starter, and you’ll eat fewer calories overall.
- Stay away from hidden fats: Descriptions like creamy, stuffed, sauced, or breaded generally indicate that the dish is heavy with fats.
- Avoid fancy drinks: Most mixed drinks like margaritas or pina coladas are full of sugar. Drink wine, beer, or a simple cocktail instead.
- Eat fish: Eat on the lighter side and order fish-just be sure to avoid fish that’s heavily sauced or fried.
Keep allergies, colds, and other nasties at bay with these small steps.
- Get rid of dust mite breeding grounds: Allergy sufferers can keep symptoms under control by avoiding stacks of books and magazines, stuffed animals, and pillows, all of which are great environments for dust mites.
- Wash your hands: Protect yourself from germs and illnesses by washing your hands frequently.
- Jog in the evening: If you suffer from a pollen allergy exercise outside in the evening when pollen counts are lower.
- Carry hand sanitizer: For times when you can’t wash your hands, keep some hand sanitizer ready.
- Go to free screenings: Even if you don’t have insurance, you can take advantage of free preventive screenings for illnesses like skin cancer and high blood pressure.
- Sleep with your windows closed: If you like to sleep with the windows open, but you wake up with allergy symptoms, close your windows and use a fan instead.
- Take a multi-vitamin: Get the vitamins your body needs to protect itself by taking a multi-vitamin every day.
- Eat plenty of fiber: Avoid digestive illnesses by cleaning your digestive tract with lots of fiber.
- Keep your animals out of your bed: If you’re allergic to pet dander, you need to avoid letting your pets sleep in your bed with you.
- Sleep well: One of the best ways to prevent illness is to get a good night’s rest every evening.
You spend a lot of your time at work, so make sure you’re in a healthy environment with these tips for the office.
- Spend some time outside: Get out of the office and see the sun, even if it’s just for a minute. Even better, use your lunch hour to take a stroll around the block or head to the gym.
- Pack your lunch: Don’t leave your lunch up to the fast food joint around the corner. Pack a healthy lunch ahead of time, and you’ll know that your lunch is good for you.
- Cut down on coffee consumption: Don’t put yourself on an energy roller coaster-avoid using caffeine as a way to get energy throughout the day, and use water and healthy food instead.
- Keep healthy snacks: Stay away from the office cookie jar and stock up on dried fruit, nuts, and bars instead.
- Clean your desk: Ban bacteria from your desk by wiping down surfaces like your keyboard and telephone on a regular basis.
- Be careful with buffets: Avoid overindulging at office buffets just because the food is there.
- Get away from it all: If you are suffering from intense levels of stress, step away from your office for a few moments by taking a walk in the halls or getting up to grab a glass of water.
- Resist the temptation of free food: Don’t eat free food unless it’s at least marginally healthy and you’re actually hungry. Don’t forget to exercise portion control, either.
A good night’s rest is vital to your well being, so follow these tips for more quality sleep.
- Create a sleep ritual: Read a book or drink a warm glass of milk every night before bed to improve the quality of your sleep.
- Sleep with your lights off: Keep your sleep hormones in check by sleeping with your lights off, including TVs.
- Don’t drink before bed: Drinking alcohol before bed might put you to sleep, but the quality of your rest will be affected.
- Don’t use an alarm clock: This is a challenge for most, but you’ll get better sleep if you go to bed early enough to allow your body to wake naturally.
- Pay attention to light exposure: Do most of your sleeping when the sun is down, and you’ll have higher quality sleep.
- Take a nap: Refresh yourself with a quick afternoon nap.
Be happier, satisfied, and more self confident by following these tips for mental health.
- Allow yourself to relax: Let go of your tensions and find a fun hobby that you can enjoy.
- Read: Exercise your brain with a good book.
- Adapt to change: Don’t resist change-just be patient and learn to adapt.
- Read something new: If you usually read mysteries, pick up a classic novel instead to give yourself a variety of reading material.
- Practice good self esteem: Give yourself credit, cut down on criticism, and be confident for a more healthy outlook.
- Write: Use writing as a way to stimulate your mind, release thoughts, and improve your memory.
- Praise yourself: When you’ve done a good job, don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back.
- Express your feelings: Find a way to let your feelings out, whether it’s by crying, singing, or writing in your journal.
- Learn something new: Make multiple areas of your brain get to work by learning a new skill.
- Turn your TV off: Spend more time actually living by turning off your TV and getting off the couch.
- Practice memorization: Practice memory games like remembering shopping lists, to do lists, and other tasks.
- Avoid procrastination: Putting off the things you really need or want to do will only make you feel bad about yourself.
- Play brain games: Find crossword puzzles, brain teasers, or graphic illusions to improve your mental clarity.
- Meditate: Give your brain a workout and relax at the same time with meditation.
- Laugh often: See the humor in everyday life, and you’ll be a happier person.
- Listen to music: Use music as therapy to reduce stress, improve your memory, and even stimulate the immune system.
- Do brain training: Seek out courses, websites or books that will teach you how to make your brain work better and faster.
These methods will make you healthy and enhance your outward appearance at the same time.
- Consider a detoxification: Consider cleansing detoxification diets to clean out your body from the inside out.
- Don’t over-wash your skin: Avoid going overboard by washing your face and body too often, or you’ll over dry your skin and produce more oil.
- Stay out of tanning beds: Golden skin may look good now, but your skin cells will pay a price. Limit your exposure to harmful UV rays, and never, ever visit a tanning bed.
- Trim your hair: Cut down on split ends and uneven hair with a regular trimming.
- Don’t drink or smoke: Drinking and smoking can accellerate the aging process and bring on harmful diseases.
- Don’t overdo hair treatments: Blow dryers, dying, and chemical straightening can all damage your hair.
- Be careful of UV rays: UV rays can damage your skin and cause skin cancer, so it’s important to limit your exposure to them. For most people, this means wearing appropriate clothing or sunscreen.
- Use natural beauty products: Steer clear of hamful preservatives and caricinogens by using natural products.
Foster healthy relationships that support your happiness and mental health by following these tips.
- Spend time with healthy people: We tend to pick up the habits of people around us, so hang out with your friends that have healthy habits.
- Surround yourself with positive people: Stay away from naysayers and spend more time with positive influences.
- Know when to say no: Don’t let others demand too much of your time-say no when you really don’t want to do something.
- Cultivate friendships: Grow as a person by working on a successful friendly relationship with another person.
- Embrace: Get a hug or kiss from someone you care about every day.
- Tell stories: Solidify your memories and have fun sharing moments by telling stories to your friends and family.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: When you need a shoulder to lean on, say so. If you don’t have anyone, seek out professional help.
- Practice random acts of kindness: Feel better about yourself and make someone else feel good by doing something nice.
Physical fitness is a large part of overall health, so make sure you’re implementing these methods for a healthier life.
- Just do it It doesn’t really matter what you do to be active, just that you do it, and you get started right away.
- Use free weights: Free weights are more challenging than exercise machines because they force you to stabilize the weight, allow natural movements, and will help you build functional strength.
- Do active chores: Fit activity into your daily life by seeing chores as a way to get exercise. Do lunges while you’re vacuuming and squats while you wash the car.
- Do whole-body exercises: Focus on exercises that will work out multiple parts of your body at the same time.
- Get at least 60 minutes of exercise daily: For at least 60 minutes every day, make sure you’re active. You can even break this time up into manageable 15 minute chunks.
- Have fun: Find something that’s both fun and active at the same time, like dancing or team sports.
- Pay attention to technique: Cut your risk of injury and improve the quality of your workout by using safe fitness techniques.
- Team up: Enlist the help of a friend who will work out with you to stay motivated and enjoy yourself.
- Be persistent: Focus on your long-term fitness goals and never give up.
Away from home
Traveling can take a toll on your body, so do your best to protect yourself by following these tips.
- Get vaccinated: Visit the CDC’s website to find out which immunizations you’ll need to take when traveling abroad.
- Drink bottled water: Often, local water supplies overseas will contain bacteria and parasites that residents are immune to, but can make travelers sick, so always bring your own sterilized water.
- Stay out of ponds and lakes: Just like local drinking water, you can pick up bacteria and parasites in still bodies of water like ponds or lakes. Chlorinated pools and the ocean should be safe, however.
- Brush your teeth with bottled water: Even if you’re drinking bottled water to avoid bacteria and parasites, you should remember to brush your teeth with bottled water, too.
- Peel your fruit and vegetables: Remove the skin from raw fruits and vegetables before you eat it.
- Bring extra medication: If you’re on a regular medication, bring extra doses along with you, just in case you run into delays or unexpected events.
- Spray for insects: Protect yourself from mosquitos and other pests by spraying yourself with a DEET insect repellent.
- Pack a first aid kit: With a first aid kit, you’ll have tools to deal with minor difficulties like diarrhea, motion sickness, and bug bites
Spice it up
Eating hot chili peppers may add years to your life. In a 2016 analysis of the dietary habits of more than 16,000 men and women over 23 years, those who reported eating hot peppers reduced their risk of dying by 13 percent. Not a fan of those peppers? Even a little spice can have health benefits. That’s because the body produces endorphins to reduce the heat from the capsaicin in the peppers; those endorphins also reduce pain and inflammation.
Drink whole milk
You’ve been told forever to drink low-fat or skim milk, or go for fat-free yogurt. But research published in the journal Circulation in 2016 concluded that those who consumed the most dairy fat had a 50 percent lower risk of developing diabetes, a disease that can shorten your life by eight to 10 years on average.
Just add water
Staying adequately hydrated — measured by urine that’s light yellow or straw colored — can also help prolong a healthy life by reducing the risk of bladder and colon cancer and keeping kidneys in tip-top shape. Bonus: It might even help you lose weight. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that those who sipped more H2O ended up eating 68 to 205 fewer calories per day.
If you want to reach 100, put down the fork, says Dan Buettner, who studies longevity hot spots around the world, such as Okinawa, Japan. Buettner found that the oldest Okinawans stop eating when they feel 80 percent full. A National Institutes of Health-funded study similarly found that cutting back calories reduced blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance.
Drink less (here’s a trick)
More-than-moderate alcohol consumption (generally, more than one drink a day for women or more than two a day for men) leads to a shorter life span. Here’s one way to cut your intake: Pour red wine into a white-wine glass, which is narrower. Studies by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab found that people poured 12 percent more into red-wine glasses. You’ll also pour less wine into your glass if it’s sitting on the table, instead of in your hand, says Brian Wansink, the lab’s director.
Save your pennies
Money might not make you happier, but it will help you live longer. A 2016 study by Stanford researchers published in JAMA found that people whose income bracket was in the top 1 percent lived nearly 15 years longer than those in the bottom 1 percent. The disparity could be attributed to healthier behaviors in higher-income groups, including less smoking and lower obesity rates, researchers say.
Or move to one of these states
If you’re not wealthy, consider moving to California, New York or Vermont, where studies show that low-income people tend to live the longest. Loma Linda, Calif., has the highest longevity thanks to vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists, who live eight to 10 years longer than the rest of us. Nevada, Indiana and Oklahoma have the lowest life expectancy (less than 78 years).
Ponder a Ponderosa Experiencing a sense of awe — such as when viewing the Grand Canyon or listening to Beethoven’s Ninth — may boost the body’s defense system, says research from the University of California, Berkeley. “That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions — a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art — has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy,” says Dacher Keltner, a psychologist and coauthor of the study.
Owning a dog can help lower stress and boost physical activity.
Get a friend with four legs
A few studies on the link between pet ownership and health have found that owning a pet can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, even improve the odds of surviving a heart attack. Now the American Heart Association has weighed in with a report published in the journal Circulation that recommends owning a dog, in particular, for those seeking to reduce their risk of deadly heart disease. Dog owners are more likely to be physically active and are also less vulnerable to the effects of stress, the report says.
Find your purpose
Do you wake up looking forward to something? In a 2014 study published in the Lancet, researchers found that those with the highest sense of purpose were 30 percent less likely to die during the 8.5-year study period. In fact, doing something that matters — whether it’s helping your children or interacting in a community of like-minded folks — is correlated with seven extra years of life, according to researchers who study people in “blue zones,” areas of the world where folks live the longest.
Embrace your faith
Attending religious services once a week has been shown to add between four and 14 years to life expectancy, according to researchers who study blue zones. Don’t belong to a church? Ask to join a friend at her services, or just drop in at a nearby house of worship; most have an open-door policy.
Be food safe
About 3,000 Americans die from food poisoning annually, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even seemingly healthy foods — like sprouts, cantaloupe, berries and raw tuna — can make you sick or even kill you, says the FDA. Your action plan: Keep your kitchen pristine, wash your hands and utensils before and after handling food, separate raw and cooked foods, refrigerate perishable food promptly, and cook food to a safe temperature to kill deadly bacteria.
Consider mountain life
People residing at higher altitudes tend to live longer, a study by the University of Colorado and the Harvard School of Global Health revealed. Of the 20 healthiest counties in America, many are in Colorado and Utah. Researchers think lower oxygen levels might cause your body to adapt in ways that strengthen your heart and circulation.
Eating a handful of nuts five times per week can lower your mortality risk from certain diseases.
In a European study of adults ages 55 to 69, those who ate 10 grams of nuts daily — 8 almonds or 6 cashews — reduced their risk of death from any health-related cause by 23 percent. As for specific ailments, consuming a handful of nuts at least five times per week lowers the mortality risk for heart disease (by 29 percent), respiratory disease (24 percent) and cancer (11 percent), according to a previous U.S. study. Sorry, peanut butter fans: Spreads didn’t show the same benefits.
31. Keep watching LOL cat videos
Laughter really is the best medicine, helping to reduce stress, boost the immune system, reduce pain and improve blood flow to the brain. In fact, laughter has the same effect on blood vessels as exercise, report researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Studies show that loneliness increases the risk of early death by 45 percent. It weakens the immune system and raises blood pressure while increasing the risk for heart attacks and stroke. By contrast, people with strong ties to friends and family have as much as a 50 percent lower risk of dying, according to a study in PLOS Medicine. So visit a friend. And don’t discount your online friends. A 2016 study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego found that those who use Facebook also live longer, but only when online interactions don’t completely supplant face-to-face social interaction.
Watch your grandkids
While babysitting every day is stressful, regularly watching the grands can lower your risk of dying by a third, according to a 2016 study published in Evolution and Human Behavior. That adds up to an extra five years of life, researchers say. They speculate that caregiving gives grandparents a sense of purpose, and keeps them mentally and physically active.
Try to stay out of the hospital
A 2016 Johns Hopkins University study found that some 250,000 patients die each year in hospitals from medical mistakes, such as misdiagnoses, poor practices and conditions, and drug errors. Sometimes the best way to avoid a grave condition is not to enter the system at all.
Sounds like we made it up, but scientific research supports the longevity benefits of reading — newspapers and magazines will do, but books are the best. “As little as a half-hour a day of book reading had a significant survival advantage over those who did not read,” said the study’s senior author, Becca R. Levy, a professor of epidemiology at Yale.
Read the ‘AARP Bulletin’
Really. This and other smart publications can keep you up to date on health info. Studies have shown that when people are empowered with information to make important medical decisions, it not only enhances their well-being but also improves a treatment’s effectiveness. So keep reading aarp.org/bulletin and aarp.org/health.
Don’t wait for annual checkups to consider your health. By then, a small problem could have morphed into a life-threatening illness. In one English study, researchers found that less than 60 percent of people who developed unusual symptoms in the previous three months had seen a doctor. Symptoms that might point to cancer include: unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more (this can be an indication of cancers of the esophagus, stomach or lungs); fever; extreme fatigue; changes in bowel or bladder habits; or unusual bleeding. Other unusual symptoms that could signal disease? A patch of rough, dark skin could indicate diabetes, and a strange color on your tongue could signal serious acid-reflux issues.
Visit the hardware store
Among the most common causes of “unintentional deaths” are carbon monoxide, radon and lead poisoning, the CDC reports. Make sure there’s a carbon monoxide detector near every bedroom, and be sure to test and replace the batteries every two years. Was your home built before 1978, when lead paint was outlawed? One trip to the store can get you all you need to test for these toxic substances.
Practice home fire drills
Just 1 in 3 families have a fire-safety plan, says Robert Cole, president of Community Health Strategies, an injury-prevention education organization based in Pittsford, N.Y. “People underestimate the speed of a fire. Many waste time figuring out what to do, or trying to take belongings with them. Everyone should know what to do and how to get out safely.”
Studies show that female doctors are more effective communicators than male physicians.
40. Find a woman doctor
When Harvard researchers in 2016 analyzed Medicare records documenting more than 1.5 million hospitalizations over four years, they found that patients who received care from a female physician were more likely to survive and less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. In fact, about 32,000 fewer people would die each year “if male physicians achieved the same outcomes as female physicians,” the researchers said. Previous studies have suggested that female doctors are more likely to follow clinical guidelines and are more effective communicators.
Make peace with family
While we often stress about small stuff — the guests are here, and we’re not ready! — it’s the nagging, long-running forms of stress, such as a family dispute, that put your longevity at risk. Chronic stress hastens the cellular deterioration that leads to premature aging and a vast array of serious diseases, according to long-running research from the University of California, San Francisco. This sort of cell death “turns out to be one of the strongest predictors of early diseases of aging and in many studies of early mortality,” says lead researcher Elissa Epel. The remedy: Come to peace with the people in your life. Forgive your family, forgive yourself, put the past behind you — so you can have more life in front of you.
Take the stairs — every day
A study by University of Geneva researchers found that taking the stairs instead of the elevators reduced the risk of dying prematurely by 15 percent. What’s more, a daily stair climb shaves six months off your “brain age,” according to researchers at Concordia University who performed MRI scans on 331 people ages 19 to 79. Gray matter shrinks naturally with age, but less so when people stay active.
Toss that rug
One of the top risks for falls at home is throw rugs. Those slip-slidey accoutrements send 38,000 older adults to the emergency room each year, according to a 2013 study by the CDC. Banish these rugs from your home, and make sure bath mats have a nonslip bottom.
Beware the high-tech dash
Nearly one in five traffic accidents and more than 400,000 crash-related injuries involve a distracted driver, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports. Top distractions, according to a recent Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study, are cellphones. But a less-obvious risk is using the touch screen on your car’s dashboard.
Yes, you can go carless and survive.
And drive less
In 2014, more than 5,700 older adults were killed and more than 236,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Per mile traveled, fatal crashes increase noticeably starting at age 70 and are highest among drivers age 85 and older, a highway safety organization says. If you’re feeling unsafe behind the wheel, it might be time to look for alternative transportation.
Better yet, walk
What’s the best prescription for a longer life? Exercise. And doctors are literally prescribing it instead of medication. “There is no pill that comes close to what exercise can do,” says Claude Bouchard, director of the human genomics laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana. It benefits your brain, heart, skin, mood and metabolism. Even as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking can help (that’s all it takes to burn off the calories of one chocolate chip cookie). Once you can do 10 minutes, push it to 15. Then 20. Start slow, but just start.
Just not in the street
Nearly 5,000 pedestrians are killed annually in the U.S., according to the latest federal figures, and nearly 20 percent of those deaths were among adults age 65 and older. If you walk for your health — and we hope you do — stay safe and consider doing so at the mall, a community health center or a park.
And go a little faster
The benefits of a brisk walk are real: A University of Pittsburgh study of adults 65 and older found that those whose usual walking pace exceeded one meter per second lived longer. While researchers say they can’t recommend brisk walking as a panacea for living longer, they did see increased survival in those who picked up the pace over the course of a year.
Never mind what your grade school teachers said; fidgeting is good. A 2016 British study finds that sitting for seven or more hours a day increases your risk of dying by 30 percent — except among active fidgeters, who see no increased risk.
Need wheels? Go for a smart car.
Trade in Ol' Bessie
High-tech safety features have now become standard in new cars. The government mandates that all have airbags, antilock brakes, electronic stability control — “up there with seat belts and airbags in its life- aving benefits,” says one industry leader — and tire pressure-monitoring systems. Carmakers also offer back-up cameras, self-parking features, blind-spot and lane-departure warnings, and forward-collision warning with auto-braking.
Frozen is fine
You can eat a balanced diet even when fresh fruits and vegetables are out of season because frozen can be as good as or even better for life-extending nutrients. British scientists found that fresh fruit can lose nutrients after three days of refrigeration, while frozen fruits don’t suffer the same fate. Another study similarly found that frozen blueberries contained more vitamin C than fresh ones.
Cut back on pain pills
Regular use of painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen — including over-the-counter brands such as Advil, Motrin and Aleve — may raise your risk of heart attack and stroke by 10 percent, according to a 2014 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel review. (Prescription-strength versions may increase your risk by 20 to 50 percent, even after just a few weeks of use.) Reserve these drugs for severe pain, and use the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time.
Please go to bed
Consistently sleeping less than six hours a night nearly doubles your risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a review of 15 studies published in the European Heart Journal. Another study found that consistently sleep-deprived people were 12 percent more likely to die over the 25-year study period than those who got six to eight hours of sleep a night. These tips from the National Sleep Foundation can help ensure that you get good quality shut-eye, even if you’re among the half of people over 60 who have insomnia:
- Make the room pitch-black dark, and set the thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees.
- Exercise every day. It doesn’t matter what time of day you work out, just so it doesn’t interfere with your rest.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.
- Shut down your electronics an hour before retiring, as the light from some devices can stimulate the brain.
- Replace your mattress if it’s more than 10 years old.
Consider extra vitamin D
Vitamin D, a bright byproduct of sunlight, has many health benefits, including a link to longevity. But too much vitamin D increases your risk of dying as much as too little, according to a 2015 Danish study. So you want to get the right amount. Don’t just rely on outdoor time to get extra vitamin D; the rate of skin cancer rises as we age, so it’s important to limit exposure. The smart plan: Ask your doctor if you would benefit from extra D in pill form. University of Copenhagen researchers found that the ideal vitamin D level is more than 50 nanomoles per liter of blood, but less than 100 nmol/L.\
If coffee’s not your thing, green tea also has proven longevity cred, likely because it contains powerful antioxidants known as catechins that may help combat diabetes and heart disease. In a large study of more than 40,000 Japanese men and women, drinking five or more cups of green tea a day was associated with a 12 percent decrease in mortality among men and a 23 percent decrease among women.
But don’t always go right to sleep
A Duke University study that followed 252 people for 25 years concluded that frequent sex “was a significant predictor of longevity” for men.
Marriage is good for the heart in more ways than one.
Get (or stay) hitched
Marriage truly is good for your health — and your longevity. The prestigious Framingham Offspring Study found that married men had a 46 percent lower risk of death than never-married men, in part due to marriage’s well-known impact on heart health. Indeed, a 2014 study by New York University’s Langone Medical Center found that married men and women had a 5 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
No, you won’t die from eating under-ripe produce, but new research shows that fully ripened fruit has more life-lengthening health benefits. For example, green bananas are low in fiber and high in astringent tannins that can cause constipation. Fully ripened pears and blackberries have more disease-fighting antioxidants. And in watermelon, a deep red color signifies more lycopene, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Don’t sweeten with sugar
A high-sugar diet boosts blood sugar, which in turn plays havoc with your heart by increasing levels of LDL cholesterol while lowering heart-friendly HDL cholesterol, and tripling your risk for fatal cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar a day, and men no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams).
Don’t skip breakfast. Studies show that eating a proper breakfast is one of the most positive things you can do if you are trying to lose weight. Breakfast skippers tend to gain weight. A balanced breakfast includes fresh fruit or fruit juice, a high-fibre breakfast cereal, low-fat milk or yoghurt, wholewheat toast, and a boiled egg.
Brush up on hygiene. Many people don't know how to brush their teeth properly. Improper brushing can cause as much damage to the teeth and gums as not brushing at all. Lots of people don’t brush for long enough, don’t floss and don’t see a dentist regularly. Hold your toothbrush in the same way that would hold a pencil, and brush for at least two minutes.
Mindful living. You've probably heard the old adage that life's too short to stuff a mushroom. But perhaps you should consider the opposite: that life's simply too short NOT to focus on the simple tasks. By slowing down and concentrating on basic things, you'll clear your mind of everything that worries you.