Healthy daily habits provide the stepping stones to ageing gracefully with a significant reduction in age-related diseases. When it comes to those specific habits, a study has found the four key tips which could increase your longevity to add around 14 years.
In a study published in Plos Medicine, combined impact of health behaviours and mortality in men and woman was further analysed.
The study examined the prospective relationship between lifestyle and mortality in a prospective population study of 20,244 men and women aged between 45 to 79 years with no known cardiovascular disease or cancer.
Participants scored one point for each health behaviour: current non-smoking, not physically inactive, moderate alcohol intake (one to 14 units a week) and fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day, for a total score ranging from zero to four.
After an average 11-year follow-up for all-cause mortality for men and women who had three, two, one, and zero compared to four health behaviours were respectively.
“The trends were strongest for cardiovascular causes,” noted the study.
It added: “The mortality risk for those with four compared to zero health behaviours was equivalent to being 14 years younger in chronological age.”
Thus, a person who is able to keep their weight off, not smoke, restrict alcohol to moderate amounts and eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetable a day can increase their life expectancy by seven to 14 years compared with those who smoked, drank too much and were overweight.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols – protective compounds found in plants – which reduce markers of inflammation and lower risk of disease.
What’s more, eating fruits and vegetables will often be at the expense of inflammatory foods, notably refined sugar and meat.
It is believed that the many benefits of eating fresh fruit and veg could be down to their vitamin and mineral content.
Other researchers argue that such benefits may arise from the fibre content of plants.
The NHS states: “Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium.”
One study published in the Lancet analysed data from nearly 600,000 people who drank at least some alcohol and monitored their health over time.
Researchers found that regardless of gender, higher alcohol consumption was associated with a higher rate of stroke, fatal aneurysms, heart failure, and death.
When compared with people who drank less than seven drinks per week:
Adults drinking seven to 14 drinks per week could expect, on average, a six-month shorter life expectancy as of age 40
Those drinking 14 to 25 drinks per week could expect a shorter life expectancy by one to two years
Those drinking more than 25 drinks per week could expect a shorter life expectancy by four to five years.