13 Natural Ways to Increase Longevity and Quality of Life

Written by Professor Anna Gray, Updated on May 29th, 2023
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Just because one or several of your parents or grandparents passed away at a young age or earlier than was expected doesn’t mean that you have to either – or live a life that is less than optimal if you do reach the ripe old age of 90-100.

Your longevity is not solely based on your genetics; you can do several things now to increase your longevity and quality of life as you age. Environmental factors, such as diet and lifestyle, are actually the keys here to a long, happy life.

Habits to Adopt for a Long Life

Eat more nuts. Super simple, right? Our first piece of advice is to incorporate more nuts into your diet. Nuts are packed full of nutrients!

These include protein, fiber, antioxidants, and others. The vitamins and minerals include copper, potassium, folate, magnesium, niacin, and vitamins B6 and E.

Science says that nuts can improve heart disease, lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation, improve diabetes, reduce belly fat, and even be protective against some cancers.

One specific study found that people who ate three servings or more of nuts per week had a 39% lower risk of premature death. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid, right?

Stop overeating. Most Americans tend to overeat and consume way too many calories per day. Recently, scientists have been looking at the link between caloric intake and longevity. In fact, studies on animals have shown that a 10-50% reduction in caloric intake may increase the maximum lifespan.

Other studies have looked at certain populations around the world in terms of their longevity and caloric intake.

Populations with a low caloric intake were known for their longevity and health, with extended lifespans and a lower likelihood of disease. Calorie restriction also reduces body weight and belly fat, both of which are good for a longer lifespan.

However, long-term caloric restriction is not sustainable. Perhaps the answer is intermittent fasting.

Consume turmeric. Turmeric is a yellow spice that recently has come to light for its anti-aging and anti-inflammation properties.

It contains curcumin, which holds antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also protect against cancer.

Animal studies have demonstrated a link between curcumin and increased longevity in insects and mice. Add some to your eggs, curry or vegetables, like potatoes.

Be physically active. This is a no-brainer! But we will remind you anyways because it’s that important. In fact, just 15 minutes of exercise a day could add three more years to your life!

A scientific review found that people who exercised (even less than the recommended 150 minutes a week) had a 22% lower risk of early death. At 150 minutes a week, that percentage was raised to 28%.

Eat more plants. With the recent declarations that some meats, such as deli and other processed meats, are carcinogenic to humans, more people are opting for a plant-based diet.

This is great news because plant foods help to decrease disease risk and increase longevity. Plant-based diets are linked to a lower risk of premature death, reduced cancer risk, heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline.

All of these amazing benefits are due to a varied plant-based diet that contains lots of nutrients and antioxidants, such as carotenoids, folate, and vitamin C. Other studies have found a 29-52% lower risk of dying from cancer or heart, kidney, and/or hormone-related diseases in people who followed a vegetarian or vegan diet. Even if you still consume meat and dairy, just remember to add more plant foods to your diet!

Quit smoking. We all know that smoking is terrible for your health, but many people still choose to smoke, despite its strong link to lung disease and early death. In fact, people who smoke could lose up to 10 years (a whole decade!) of their life and are 3x more likely to experience premature death than someone who never touched a cigarette.

If someone quits at 35 years old, they could add up to 8.5 years back onto their lifespan. If he or she quits at 60, they could add up to 3.7 years back onto their lifespan. It is never too late to quit!

Prioritize happiness. Being in a good mood and not being negative most of the time is actually a great thing for your health and longevity.

The science even says that people who were considered “happier individuals” had a 3.7% reduction in early death over the course of 5 years. A scientific review of 35 studies discovered that happier individuals could live up to 18% longer than their less happy peers.

Maintain a social life. This can be harder for some than others, but it is important for your well-being.

Some researchers have even reported that maintaining healthy social networks could help you live up to 50% longer! Just three social ties could decrease your risk of premature death by more than 200%.

This is because healthy social networks positively change your heart, hormones, brain, and immune function, reducing the risk for chronic disease.

In addition, strong social ties could help you to react less negatively to stress. Stress, and especially chronic stress, wreak havoc on your health, hormones, and well-being.

Avoid chronic stress and anxiety. That being said, the next bit of advice is to avoid chronic stress and anxiety. This is especially important for women because several studies have demonstrated that women suffering from stress or anxiety are possibly up to two times more likely to die from heart disease, stroke, or lung cancer.

Stress and anxiety also affect men, with premature death being up to three times higher in anxious or stressed men compared to more relaxed peers.

Drink alcohol only in moderation. In addition to smoking, alcohol is also terrible for your health. Kick these bad habits to the curb! You’ll thank us later. Engaging in heavy alcohol consumption is linked to liver, heart, and pancreatic disease.

On the other hand, moderate consumption is associated with a reduced likelihood of several diseases and a decreased risk of premature death. So, you do not need to abstain but drink in moderation only.

Wine is a winner here because it contains lots of polyphenol antioxidants. In fact, men who preferred wine were 34% less likely to die early than those who drank beer or spirits. Wine could also be protective against heart disease, neurological disorders, and diabetes.

To stay within moderation, women should aim for 1-2 units or less per day and a maximum of 7 a week. Men should aim for less than 3 units and a maximum of 14 a week.

Be more conscientious. If you do not know what this means, conscientiousness is a person’s ability to be self-disciplined, organized, goal-oriented, and efficient.

A study followed 1,500 boys and girls into their old age, and the kids considered organized, disciplined, and persistent lived 11% longer than their peers.

Conscientious people are probably less likely to take risks or react negatively to stress, being goal-oriented and persistent. Therefore, they are more likely to be successful in their professional and personal lives and be responsible for their health.

Conscientious people tend to have lower blood pressure and fewer psychiatric conditions.

Try being more conscientious in your everyday life by making your bed every morning, maintaining a work or household chore plan, focusing on being on time, and/or maintaining a tidy workspace.

Have a good sleeping pattern. Sleep is so important for your health, and a good sleeping pattern is a great habit to get into. You need sleep for your body or cells to function properly and for your body to heal.

Longevity is linked to regular sleeping patterns, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time daily.

Sleeping less than 5-7 hours a night is linked to a 12% greater risk of premature death, whereas sleeping more than 8-9 hours a night could also decrease your lifespan by up to 38%. The key is 7-8 hours a night!

Not getting enough sleep promotes inflammation, thus increasing the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Excessive sleep is linked to depression and low physical activity. Remember, 7-8 hours a night!

Drink coffee or tea. Surprisingly, coffee and tea are linked to a lower risk of chronic disease. Green tea contains polyphenols and catechins, which could decrease the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Coffee is also linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.

Just remember that too much caffeine contributes to anxiety and insomnia, so the best amount of caffeine per day is around 400mg or 4 cups of coffee, maximum.

There you have it. Thirteen ways to increase your longevity that you can start now. Most of these are super easy to adopt as well.

Start by picking a few on this list and making improvements, such as drinking some green tea, adding some turmeric to a meal, or adding more walks to your daily routine. Most importantly, have fun and don’t stress!

The critical takeaway is this: you are not doomed to be a helpless victim waiting for bad health to strike. There are several actions that you can take NOW that are affordable and easy to do. Minor improvements in your daily routine add up to gigantic benefits in the future.

Also, consider this: several possible breakthroughs in the fields of longevity and health promise an exciting future. So many different approaches to the puzzle of aging are happening that something has to happen that will treat aging as the disease it is!

That, in and of itself, should be motivation to get healthy and stay that way! Obtaining optimal health is quite doable by following the advice in this article. Get going...NOW!

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