Smoking, drinking too much, lack of exercise and poor diet can age you by 12 years, according to new research. The findings come from a study that tracked close to 5,000 British adults for 20 years.
The fact that an unhealthy lifestyle can age you prematurely is not exactly earth-shattering news … but there are two pieces of information in this study that just might make your jaw drop to the floor.
Firstly, eating poorly, not exercising, drinking too much and smoking does not just age you a little bit — it ages you by more than a decade. For many, the motivation to live a cleaner life often doesn’t occur until a health issue sets in, but the fact that you may be able to pass as being in your late 40’s when you’re actually in your early 60’s may help give you that added incentive you’re looking for.
Small Healthy Steps Lead to Major Benefits
Secondly, the people who counted as “healthy” in this study (and were the ones who reaped the benefits of seeming 12 years younger and lowering their death risk) were really just scraping by according to most “health” standards.
For example … to be in the “healthy” category, participants had to:
- Exercise at least two to four hours a week
- Eat vegetables and fruits three times a day or more (the lead researcher mentioned that consuming one carrot, one apple and a glass of juice would suffice but this is obviously far less than optimal!)
- Not smoke, or have quit smoking
- Have fewer than two drinks a day for women, and fewer than three a day for men
These are far from optimal healthy measures. In fact, they are steps that virtually everyone should be able to achieve. What is important to realize is that by making even small positive changes to your exercise routine and diet, you may be able to drastically alter your health.
If You Want to Stay Young, Here’s What You Need to Do
People spend outrageous amounts of money on creams, gadgets and surgeries to look and feel younger, but the reality is that more than any pill or medical “treatment,” your lifestyle is what will determine your level of health now and in the years to come. It was the ancient Roman poet Martial, wise beyond his time, who first said: “Life’s not just being alive, but being well.”
This is still true today, many centuries later. Your health is a gift that cannot be bought, and once it’s lost it may be impossible to get back.
So we urge you to start taking steps today – again, even small ones – to make your lifestyle a little bit healthier. Whether you realize it yet or not, you have at your disposal numerous methods to influence your physical and mental well-being, and ultimately take control of your health.
The choices you make on a daily basis truly influence just about every disease known to man, and probably more than handful of those yet to be discovered! They can also make your energy levels rise or plummet, make your mood sunny or dark, and either nourish your body or slowly destroy it.
Our Top Tips to Help You Look & Feel Younger
Learn How to Effectively Cope With Stress
Stress wreaks all sorts of havoc on your nervous system, internal organs and health in general. It also can be a huge contributor to unhealthy lifestyle habits such as alcohol consumption, bad food choices and sleep disorders. Read more about stress here.
Get Optimal Exposure to Sunlight
Vitamin D, often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin,” is different from other vitamins in that it influences your entire body. Vitamin D receptors have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones, so its power to optimize your health is profound.
Optimize Your Insulin and Leptin Levels
Eating sugar and grains will increase your insulin level, which is one of the fastest ways to premature aging. Leptin is another heavyweight hormone associated with the aging process. Like your insulin levels, if your leptin levels become elevated, your body systems will develop a resistance to this hormone, which will wreak havoc in your body.
The benefits of exercise are staggering, and if you think you can achieve or maintain optimal health without it, you’re deceiving yourself. For example, it helps you to:
- Sleep better
- Lose weight, gain weight or maintain weight, depending on your needs
- Improve your resistance to fight infections
- Lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes
- Help your brain work better, making you smarter
Consume Healthy Fat
The science is loud and clear on this point: omega-3 fats are essential for optimal health.
The omega-3 found naturally in fish and seafood is high in two fatty acids crucial to human health, DHA and EPA. These two fatty acids are pivotal in preventing heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. Your brain is also highly dependent on DHA — low DHA levels have been linked to depression, schizophrenia, memory loss, and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Unfortunately most fish commercially available today (even wild-caught varieties) are polluted with mercury, PCBs and other toxic substances, which is why we often recommend you take a supplement like krill oil instead of getting it from your food.
Limit Your Exposure to Toxins
The number of toxic chemicals and their sources is so large, addressing them all could easily require an entire library, but we believe you can help you keep your toxic load as low as possible by becoming an informed and vigilant consumer. This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides, and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives. Check out our past blog on how to make your own non toxic home cleaning products here.
Regular detoxes are also highly beneficial to clear out your system and flood it with the good stuff. More details on our detox programs can be found here.
Make Pure Water Your Primary Beverage
Every day your body loses water through urine and sweat, and needs to be replenished. You can actually survive without food for months, but without water you’d die after a few days, so needless to say, water is absolutely essential to life. You can easily tell what your water requirement is by using your thirst and the color of your urine as guides. Your urine should be a very light-colored yellow. If it is a deep, dark yellow then you are likely not drinking enough water. As for obtaining clean, pure water, installing a water filter in your home is your best bet.
Get Plenty of Quality Sleep
Scientists have discovered that your circadian rhythms regulate the energy levels in your cells. In addition, the proteins involved with your circadian rhythm and metabolism are intrinsically linked and dependent upon each other. Therefore, when your circadian rhythm is disrupted, it can have a profound influence on your physical health. For example, research has also linked disrupted sleep cycles to serious health problems like depression, coronary heart diseases, and even cancer.
If you have any kind of sleep problem, whether you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, our sleep blog is packed with great tips to help you finally get some good rest.
It’s never too late to wipe the slate clean and begin anew. Make today the day that you start making your life, your mind, and your body the best that they can be.