How to Live Longer and Healthier

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Welcome to the Longevity Project, an amazing study that looked at more than 1500 people over their entire lifetime to see what things made a person healthier and what things did not. Is it purely genetics that makes a person live longer or are there things you can do in your life to prolong it? Are there things like toxins and viruses that affect our lifespan that are completely out of our control?

The research showed that there were things people did to prolong their life. It turns out that good health comes from a cluster of interrelated health behaviors rather than from a check list of do’s and don’ts. Every disease one gets has a cause or series of causes and we are in control of some of those causes. Take heart disease, for example. It is not an isolated event but is part of having high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Treating the underlying causes can have a great impact on the outcome of heart disease.

Cancer is another endpoint that has many causes, from smoking, to environmental pollutants to viruses. Some of these things we have control over, while others we do not. Lifestyle choices like smoking, diet, the consumption of alcohol or social factors may play a big role in whether or not you get cancer.

Interestingly, what the study showed was that there were four behaviors that led to a long life, and not one of these things had to do with alcohol, smoking, exercise or eating right. This isn’t to say that it isn’t a good idea to control these behaviors. Certain diseases do have a direct consequence of the above behaviors. It’s more, however, a matter of being on the right pathway to health, having friends, sleeping well, having a good attitude and promoting overall health that keeps people living longer and healthier.

It is more about having a healthy attitude than having a checklist of behaviors you should do or not do. Certainly, stopping smoking will double your chances of dying from lung cancer, but it is not just the behavior that makes the difference. You need to be a healthy person overall in order to live longer. This means embracing exercise as a daily habit, keeping your weight down to normal levels, and eating a plant-based diet low in meats and processed foods.

Your long life comes from being healthy on all levels of your life and from choices you make in your lifestyle that prolong your life and make you one of those that live well into their 80s and 90s.