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How to live longer: five habits that have been slowly reducing your lifespan🧡

Generally, healthy lifestyle choices like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and a good sleep schedule are enough to protect health and prolong longevity. The dangers of smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and high-fat diets to health are now common knowledge thanks to high-profile public health campaigns of the past.

However, there remain some less obvious daily habits that can gradually limit lifespan over time. Researchers are uncovering new findings about the intricacies of the human body and how best to take care of it to protect health and live longer. As this knowledge grows, it can be used to inform lifestyle changes to prevent everyday activities from reducing your chance of living for longer. Secret sugars that stop you living longer Sugar is a simple carbohydrate found naturally in fruit and vegetables, from which it can be processed and isolated to produce refined sugar. The hidden sugars found in seemingly healthy foods pose a more sinister threat to health and can be found in anything from tomato sauce, baked beans, fruit yoghurts, pre-made pasta sauces and salad dressings.

The risk of cardiovascular mortality increases with the percentage of added sugar in the diet regardless of age, sex, physical activity level or body-mass index. Refined sugar should be limited in the diet to avoid its pernicious health effects. Generally, the more highly processed food is, the more added sugar it can contain. Simple swaps include eating whole wheat bread and pasta, making your own pasta sauces from scratch and choosing reduced sugar varieties of sauces.

Sedentary lifestyle The benefits of regular exercise for living longer are well-documented, and the CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of both aerobic and muscle strengthening exercise every week

Most people spend much of the day sitting in front of a desk for work or study. This can negatively impact health over time, and occasionally working out cannot compensate for the inactivity of the eight-hour working day. Therefore, taking regular breaks from your desk to walk around and stretch, walking or cycling to and from work or during your lunch break, or attending evening exercise classes are essential to protect your future cardiovascular health and longevity.

Limited social interaction The break-up of the traditional nuclear family and the rise of social media in the modern lifestyle has limited daily social interaction. This has been exacerbated with the coronavirus pandemic, when social isolation became a important public health intervention, causing a parallel pandemic in mental health issues. The quality and quantity of social interaction contributes to both our mental health as well as physical morbidity and mortality. One study found that the influence of social relationships on mortality were comparable to risk factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and obesity.

Maintaining an active social life, without indulging in hedonism, can protect longevity. Indeed, staying active physically, mentally and socially as we age appears to reduce the risk of age-related disease.

Dental care for living longer We can become so preoccupied with eating healthily and regularly exercising that our dental health often takes lower priority. We all know to brush our teeth twice a day. However, flossing is not emphasized so much but is essential in removing plaque build up from between the teeth. Eventually, excess plague from poor oral hygiene can lead to periodontitis (gum disease). This can increase the risk of other health complications, and serious illness could start in the mouth.

To prevent this, brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day for optimum oral health and longer life is advised.

Over cooking Using heat on certain food types may have negative health impacts. Overcooked food like bread and potatoes can be high in the known carcinogenic acrylamide. Generally consuming a balanced diet rich in fruit, vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates is one of the most effective ways to live longer.

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