5 Lifestyle Habits That Can Help You Live Longer, Be Disease-Free
The study provides strong evidence that following a healthy lifestyle can substantially extend the years a person lives disease-free. Read here to know about the 5 lifestyle changes that you need to make in order to live a long and healthy life.
Healthy diet, exercise, healthy weight, moderate drinking and no tobacco can help you live longer
Time and again, we have stressed on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Not only can it help in preventing fatal diseases like cancer, it can also improve your quality of life and keep you disease-free. Furthermore, in a good news to middle-aged people, researchers have found that maintaining five healthy habits may increase years lived free of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
According to the study, published in the journal The BMJ, a healthy diet, regular exercise, healthy body weight, moderate drinking, and no tobacco in the middle-age may help people live longer.
"Previous studies found that following a healthy lifestyle improves life expectancy and reduces risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular ailments and cancer. But few studies looked at the effects of lifestyle factors on life expectancy free from such diseases," said study author Yanping Li from Harvard University in the US.
"The study provides strong evidence that following a healthy lifestyle can substantially extend the years a person lives disease-free," Li said.
The researchers looked at 34 years of data from 73,196 women and 28 years of data from 38,366 men participating in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, respectively.
Healthy diet was defined as food with high score on the Alternate Healthy Eating Index, at least 30-minute a day moderate to vigorous exercise, healthy weight (body mass index of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2), and moderate alcohol intake - up to one serving a day for women and two for men.
Women who practiced four-five healthy habits at age 50 lived an average of 34.4 more years free of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, compared with 23.7 healthy years among women who practiced none.
Men practicing four-five healthy habits at age 50 lived 31.1 years free of chronic disease, compared with 23.5 years among men who practiced none.
According to the study, men who were heavy smokers, and men and women with obesity had the lowest disease-free life expectancy.
"Given the high cost of chronic disease treatment, public policies to promote a healthy lifestyle by improving food and physical environments would help reduce healthcare costs and improve quality of life," said study senior author Frank Hu.
The five lifestyle habits that can help you live long and be disease-free
1. A healthy diet: From diabetes to heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, indigestion and obesity, eating a healthy diet plays an important role in treating preventing them and controlling diseases. Make sure your diet includes minimal junk, processed, packaged and deep-fried food, and contains more of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, eggs, dairy products, etc. Switch to home-cooked food most of the times and practice portion control to make healthy diet work effectively for you.
2. Regular exercise: Being physically active and regular exercise is good for your heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes control, digestion, etc. Exercise is an effective tool to keep yourself fit and healthy, and lose weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most effective ways to feel healthy and be disease-free.
3. Healthy body weight: A healthy diet and regular exercise can help you have a healthy body weight. Not being overweight is the key to preventing lifestyle-related diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, arthritis, hypertension etc. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important to prevent lethargy, sleep well and have self-confidence.
4. Moderate drinking: Know that no amount of alcohol is going to benefit you or is healthy for you. Drinking alcohol exposes your body to harmful toxins, disrupts liver function, affects sleep quality and causes weight gain. If at all you have to drink, stick to drinking moderate amount of alcohol only. The best thing to do is keep it off the table completely.
5. No tobacco: Smoking causes cancer. Period. Given the current air quality and rising levels of air pollution, smoking is nothing but poisonous for your health. Quit smoking today. Take professional help if required. It is the most important lifestyle change that you need to make to be disease-free and most importantly, be cancer-free.
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