Healthy habits refer to lifestyle habits that support good health and long life. Healthy lifestyle is about adopting habits that have a beneficial effect on our health and longevity. Five key areas of human lifestyle – diet, physical activity, body weight, smoking and alcohol consumption – has the greatest impact on life expectancy, according to researchers. Healthy habits can be defined as eating a healthy diet, healthy physical activity, healthy body weight, giving up smoking and moderate alcohol consumption.
People with healthy habits have a positive impact on their life expectancy. Research has revealed that people who adopted and met the criteria for all the five healthy habits have significantly longer lives than those who didn’t adopt any. People who follow none of the five healthy habits are likely to face premature deaths from health conditions like cancer or heart diseases. Unhealthy lifestyle habits like poor diet, sedentary life, obesity, smoking and consumption of excess alcohol is a leading cause of ill health and death in developed countries.
5 Healthy habits to extend longevity
Healthy habits add years to your life, and also improve the quality of life. They are the factors that make life disease free and enjoyable.
Here is a brief on the five healthy habits.
Adopt a healthy diet
A healthy diet with focus on nutrition will add years of good health and longevity. Make healthy food choices that are low on calories and high in superfoods such as fish, nuts, garlic, red wine and dark chocolate. Adopt a balanced diet that includes wholegrains, vegetables and fruits, while limiting intake of red meat, fats, sugar and refined carbohydrates. Fats are high in calories and contribute to weight gain, so it’s vital to reduce fat content in the diet. Start by cooking your own food as it gives better control over the nutrition and calories that goes into meals.
Staying physically active is important for good health and adds years to your life. Even moderate physical exercises like brisk walking or light cardio can reduce risks of early death. Several studies have revealed that being active lowers risk of heart attack, reduces blood pressure & blood cholesterol level, and also lowers risks of diabetes and certain types of cancer. People who spend 150 minutes (or more) per week in physical exercises can extend their lifespan considerably. Exercising improves health, even though you start late in life. And the health benefits are equivalent to those who have exercised their whole life.
Maintain a healthy weight
Excess weight is directly and indirectly associated to several health conditions. So, it’s vital to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight to extend your longevity. Obesity is linked to health problems like diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers – all leading towards an early death. Most people struggle to lose weight and maintain a normal weight. But with a little discipline a healthy weight is possible for anyone. Keep track of the food and drinks you ingest to reach a healthy weight and stay there. Concentrate on eating healthier food during meals and cut back on snacks, sugar, fat and empty calories. Choose low fat foods as diets high in fats adds to the calories and prevent weight loss. Eat at home as often as possible, and tweak recipes to increase vegetables, fruits and fiber in your diet. Exercise regularly for 30 minutes per day to lose weight, and to maintain the healthy weight achieved.
Smoking is linked to diseases and health conditions that lead to early death. It’s a major health hazard to smokers as well as the passive smokers, causing several fatal diseases. Smoking increases risks of lung conditions, heart conditions, lung cancer, and cancer in other parts of the body including mouth, throat, bladder, cervix, kidney, liver, pancreas and stomach. Quitting cigarettes is difficult for smokers, but it can be done. Start with reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day.
Reduce alcohol consumption
Heavy consumption of alcohol is linked to various health conditions like heart, liver and pancreatic disease, which reduces longevity. However, moderate intake of alcohol is healthy and reduces risks associated with cardiovascular disease. Drinking wine in moderation is considered to be beneficial for extending lifespan, as it’s rich in polyphenol antioxidants. Studies suggest that wine protects the body against certain health conditions that includes diabetes, neurological disorders and heart diseases.
The best way to treat diseases is to prevent their onset, which can be done by adopting the 5 healthy habits. Most diseases, plaguing the developed world, are caused by unhealthy lifestyle and can be prevented. Most importantly, healthy habits will delay death and also improve the quality of your life.