Living longer can happen if you stop and take a look at your life and well, follow these secrets we found on WebMD’s website. The health focused folks over at WebMD put together a great slideshow on 18 secrets for a Longer Life (which we guess really aren’t that much of a secret since they have it on their website that millions of people view each month). We went through the slideshow and picked out some of our favorites that we’ve started to try (we can already feel the years being added on to our lives).
- Eat Like an Okinawan: The people of Okinawa, Japan once had the longest life expectancy in the world. Researchers attribute this to the region’s traditional diet, which is high in green and yellow vegetables and low in calories. Some Okinawans make a habit of eating only 80% of the food on their plate. As younger generations have veered from these traditions, life expectancy in Okinawa has fallen.
- Nap: One of our favorites! A siesta is standard in many parts of the world, and now there’s scientific evidence that napping may help you live longer. A recent study with 24,000 participants suggests that regular nappers are 37% less likely to die from heart disease than occasional nappers. Researchers think naps might help the heart by keeping stress hormones down.
- Get Married: Several studies show that married people tend to outlive their single counterparts. Many researchers attribute the difference to the social and economic support marriage provides. While a current marriage offers the greatest benefit, people who are divorced or widowed have lower mortality rates than those who have never been married.
- Follow a Mediterranean Diet: The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish. An analysis of 50 studies involving more than half a million people shows the impressive benefits of this diet. The findings show it significantly lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome — a combination of obesity, elevated blood sugar, increased blood pressure, and other factors that raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Lose Weight: If you’re overweight, slimming down can protect against diabetes, heart disease, and other life-shortening conditions. Belly fat appears to be particularly harmful, so focus on deflating that spare tire. A 5-year study of Hispanics and African-Americans suggests eating more fiber and exercising regularly are effective ways to reduce belly fat.
- Get Moving: The evidence is overwhelming — people who exercise live longer on average than those who don’t. According to dozens of studies, regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some forms of cancer, and depression. Exercise may even help you stay mentally sharp into old age. Ten-minute spurts of activity are fine, as long as they add up to about 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week.
- Forgive: Letting go of grudges has surprising physical health benefits. Chronic anger is linked to decreased lung function, heart disease, stroke, and other ailments. Forgiveness will reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and help you to breathe more easily. These benefits tend to increase as you get older.
To see the entire list of 18 secrets for a longer life as produced by a team of experts associated with WebMD click here.