Most people imagine that they are aging gracefully and living a long, healthy life, filled with good friends, family and lots of activity. While this is something many people dream of, it is far from a fantasy.
The fact is, many old people do it. So what’s their secret? How do these people enjoy the benefits of old age while maintaining good health and a happy frame of mind? According to Katherine Baldwin, a nutritionist, here are some secrets for a healthy and long life that you should implement now.
1. Keep your BMI in a healthy range
According to the CDC, body mass index (BMI) can assess our potential risk for a variety of health conditions. Plus, maintaining a healthy BMI can extend a person’s life by over ten years!
BMI has also been linked to lowering the risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease. So one of the secrets to a healthy and long life is to keep your BMI in a healthy range.
2. Follow the right diet
If you’ve been eating unhealthy foods, start making small changes and choosing healthier alternatives to all of your favorite foods. Plant-based foods are the best choice, but your diet doesn’t have to be restrictive.
You can significantly extend your life just by eating less processed and red meat and adding more vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains and fruits to your diet.
3. Take care of your mental health
Today, mental health is often neglected, even by those focused on keeping their bodies in top shape, and this neglected part of us “contributes immensely to our overall health and well-being.”
Some things you can do are walk, meditate, be present in the morning, journal, and take lots of breaks from your devices. Also, practicing mindfulness can lower levels of cortisol, which is called the stress hormone.
4. Get enough sleep
Those who regularly sleep less than seven or eight hours a night tend to have higher cortisol levels, as do blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
To improve sleep patterns, you can keep your bedroom dark, cold and quiet and use it only at night.
5. Maintain a Healthy Social Life
Being alone as you age is a major risk factor for everything from premature death to heart disease and stroke. That’s why it’s wise to maintain a healthy, active social life as you get older.
Not only will this protect you from depressive symptoms, but it will also help protect your brain from symptoms of cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
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