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Longevity. Living for as long as possible is a fervent desire of most people. As humans, we crave this on two levels.
Our primitive brain, at its core, is intent on keeping us alive. The unconscious and instinctive actions that our brain and body exhibit revolve around continuing our existence. We fight for breath, and life, without having to think about it.
On a more conscious, thinking level, most of us want an extended lifespan even more. For some, it can be all-consuming, although it may be confused with ‘staying young’.
It can be hard to separate the desire for eternal youth from a wish for an extended lifespan. Youthfulness and vitality as we age is a very general desire, as shown by the multi-billions spent on products and procedures that provide any semblance of it.
When we do think about it, the big question is always, “how?”
There are many factors that contribute to our lifespan. Some are beyond our control, but many can be greatly influenced by our own actions.
This eBook answers questions about extending your lifespan, and discusses some of the biggest variables. You will learn about those factors that can add years to your life, or shorten it.
The areas of discussion are those over which you can exercise some degree of influence by your actions and behaviors, if you choose to do so.
Foods to Eat to Live a Long, Healthy Life
It is a great thing to be alive, isn’t it? There are so many things on Earth that we can enjoy while we live. So how do we ensure that we can extend our time on this planet?
One of the answers to this question – a big one – lies in the food that we eat. When we become mindful of the foods that we take in, we can live healthily and add more years to our life expectancy. Eating healthy foods is the secret of most of the oldest people in the world. Healthy foods keep us away from life-threatening and chronic illnesses.
In fact, there’s a village in China where residents often live to over a hundred years old. If they can reach that far, why can’t we? Let’s take a look at some of the foods that we should eat for a longer, healthier life:
Green Leafy Vegetables
Vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential in keeping our bodies healthy. For instance, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts) support the body’s natural abilities to detoxify itself. Leafy vegetables (such as spinach, lettuce, and mustard greens) are low in calories, which are great for weight loss and maintenance. When our diet includes green leafy vegetables, we reduce our risk of contracting heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
Foods made of whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread and pasta, are associated with lower mortality risk. Whole grains are rich in fiber that is good for digestion and the heart. They are also packed with B vitamins, vitamin E, phytochemicals, and magnesium.
Eating nuts will help us avoid heart disease and diabetes. They are packed with antioxidants, protein, fiber, healthy fats, and minerals. As such, they are great in helping us maintain proper weight, as well as absorbing nutrients when we eat them with vegetables. They are low on the glycemic index and can keep our cholesterol at the right levels.
Berries are rich in antioxidants that help in improving blood pressure and cholesterol. Antioxidants are important in healing our body on a cellular level, and in easing inflammation. Berries are a great food for the brain and the immune system. They are low in sugar, have anti-cancer properties, and can lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive disorders.
Coffee beans are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids that are known to help prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke. Studies have shown that those who drink a few cups of coffee every day tend to live longer than non-coffee drinkers. While the coffee itself is good, any additives may not be. Especially avoid added sugar. As coffee also has caffeine, it is important to drink in moderation as it can elevate your blood pressure. Decaf coffee would be better, as it has the same antioxidants minus the caffeine.
Sweet potatoes are a major part of the diet of the Bapan villagers in China and the Okinawans of Japan, who are known to have one of the longest life expectancies. Sweet potatoes have replaced the staple rice and are served several times a day. They are rich in fiber and antioxidants, and they can provide 60 percent of our calorie needs. Eating sweet potatoes reduces our risk of developing cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.
A diet that includes plenty of fish with healthy fats, such as tuna, salmon, and sardines, is also associated with longevity. They contain carotenoids that prevent neurological diseases and omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart. Old age has been synonymous with chronic illnesses and cognitive decline, but fatty fish can help us age healthily.
We get our energy and the nutrients that our body needs to function properly from the foods that we eat. When we consume the right foods in the right amounts, we improve our health and overall wellbeing, as well as the quality of our life.
If we want to live a hundred years and more, it’s time to pay attention to what we put in our diets. These are just a few of the best foods to eat, and even when you are picky, you can still find healthy foods that you can enjoy.
Foods to Avoid If You Want to Live Longer
No one can live forever, but at least we can make our life longer and healthier. Every action that we take affects our ability to live longer than we otherwise might. One of the biggest factors in mortality is our diet.
The foods that we eat can either lengthen or shorten our life expectancy. Now, it’s highly likely that you already know many foods that you should eat to be healthy and to live longer, such as green vegetables, fruits, and other vitamin and mineral-rich foods.
Let’s take a look at the foods that we must avoid so that we can add more years to our lives.
Who doesn’t love bacon? How about hotdogs and sausages? Unfortunately, these processed meats are among the foods that we should avoid, or certainly limit if we want to be healthy and spend more time on Earth.
Processed foods are often loaded with sodium and preservatives, smoked, or treated to extend their shelf life. Such preservatives, however, are harmful to gut health, causing inflammation and imbalances. Some are even carcinogenic.
Processed meats are associated with higher heart disease and cancer mortality rates. Instead of processed meats, buy basic, unprocessed cuts of meat from a local butcher. You are assured that they are fresh and don’t have harmful preservatives.
Sodas and other sweetened beverages are loaded with sugars and/or artificial sweeteners. Too much sugar in our body can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Soda has also been linked to obesity, dementia, fatty liver, and heart diseases.
Water will always be the best drink to have, but if you crave for extra flavor, you can drink seltzer or sparkling water. Adding a slice of lemon can also add zest to your water.
There so much food out there that contains artificial sweeteners, and just like soda, they are bad for our health. When we consume sweetened foods, we are consuming unneeded nutrient-deficient calories. Artificial sweeteners can cause imbalances in the good and bad bacteria in our gut, which can lead to chronic illnesses, including obesity and cancer.
Biscuits, cakes, french fries—all are tasty! Unfortunately, they often contain trans fats, an altered form of vegetable oil to make food have a longer shelf life. Consuming trans fats prevents the body from properly using other fats and proteins, and it’s also hard to break them down.
Trans fats have long been associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic health issues. It doesn’t mean you can’t eat your favorite cookies occasionally or have a cake on your birthday. What you can do is to buy raw ingredients instead, and bake your own sweet treat—avoiding the use of ingredients with trans fats and preservatives.
We all live in a fast-paced age, and for many of us who don’t have time to prepare home-cooked meals, fast foods can seem a savior. Unfortunately, they are often loaded with saturated fats and sodium, and if you’re trying to lose weight, you don’t want the extra 200 calories from hamburgers and fries from your default drive-thru.
When you’re always busy with work, you can prepare food in advance. Over the weekend, you can prepare several servings of food, put them in a serving-sized zip lock bag, freeze them, and reheat over the week. That way, you don’t have to worry about cooking your food every mealtime.
The widespread availability of processed and fast food makes it hard to resist them. However, if you want to be healthy and extend your lifespan, steering clear of these foods will make a whole lot of difference. An occasional consumption won’t probably hurt, but if you’ve been bingeing on them, it’s time to change course.
Focus on whole foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and get back on the right track. Be mindful of what you eat and stay healthy. Let’s aim to live to a hundred-plus, and be healthy enough to enjoy it!
Herbs and Spices for Living a Long, Healthy Life
When you are told to stick to healthy foods and avoid fast and process foods, it is possible that you associate it with bland, boring dishes. However, eating healthy doesn’t have to be that way.
By adding herbs and spices, you can create tasty and delicious dishes that have added health benefits.
Not only can herbs and spices make your meals flavorful, but they can also help fight various health conditions, including cancer and heart diseases. Their use can be traced back to ancient times, and various scientific studies are providing support to their potential health benefits that can extend the human’s lifespan.
Let’s look at the top herbs and spices you should include in your diet to live a healthier, longer life.
Turmeric is most popularly known in curries from Indian and South Asian dishes. It is rich in antioxidants, and its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease.
Turmeric also helps prevent brain diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. At the same time, it has antibacterial and anti-viral properties, and it helps mitigate oxidative stress, enabling you to heal at a cellular level.
Ginger is a spice that is closely related to turmeric. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in minerals, including potassium, niacin, iron, magnesium, and copper.
One of its most popular use is in treating upset stomach, but it is also beneficial in preventing chronic illnesses, including cancer. It is also great for preventing stomach ulcers, relieving menstrual cramps and flu symptoms, nausea, and diarrhea.
Cinnamon is an antimicrobial spice that comes from a tree bark ground into a powder. This spice is one of the easiest to integrate into your diet. You can add it to your coffee or tea or favorite breakfast cereals. As a sweet yet sugar-free spice, cinnamon is popular among diabetics. Cinnamon can help lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and manage your weight.
If you like spicy foods, you would love to know that chili peppers are also beneficial to your health. Because chilis can improve your metabolism, they are great for your digestive system.
They can also keep your blood vessels in good condition and improve your immune system. Chili peppers, which are common in Latin American, South American, and Asian cuisines, are loaded with Vitamin C, E, and A.
Garlic is one of the basic ingredients in many dishes you cook at home. It is rich in allicin that gives its antibacterial properties. Garlic can help prevent you from catching a common cold and reduce your risks of getting heart diseases. It can also aid in regulating cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Rosemary is a vibrant green herb that is packed with several health benefits. It smells great and tastes great. Just smelling it can help improve your memory, focus, and mental clarity. It contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and thiamin.
It has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in fiber, making it good for the gut and digestion. Rosemary can relieve nausea, upset stomach, and skin issues like dandruff and dryness.
Parsley is a superfood that is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, iron, and calcium. It is known as a chemo-protective plant due to its ability to fight damage to DNA.
Parsley is also popular among people with diabetes because it can help reduce blood sugar. It also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties.
Like rosemary, sage is another beautiful herb that tastes and smells great, making every dish extraordinary. Sage is known for promoting longevity, healing, and wisdom. After all, quality of life is a huge factor in living longer.
Sage is high in vitamin K, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is good for the brain and memory, as well as in improving blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and symptoms of menopause.
What’s life without spice, right? Incorporate these herbs and spices in your diet. Not only will they make your dishes tasty and delicious, but they can also give you several health benefits that will support your health so you can live longer.
Emotional Health Impacts Your Longevity
Have you ever heard of a woman who found out that she had cancer, and instead of succumbing to her unfortunate situation, she spent most of her days watching comedy films?
Months later, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that her tumors had gone.
There are many anecdotes about how positivity has turned things around for those who are dealing with health issues, even terminal ones like cancer.
Today, many scientific studies are also showing evidence that emotional health can affect a person’s physical health and longevity.
Studies have found that those who have mental health issues, such as schizophrenia and depression, are more likely to develop chronic illnesses, such as heart diseases. Conversely, people who are generally positive tend to live longer than expected.
How Does Mental Health Affect Your Longevity?
When you are dealing with negative emotions, you tend to neglect your physical well-being. You fail to exercise; you don’t seek professional help; you indulge more in unhealthy activities like drinking and smoking.
Consequently, those actions can cause or worsen physical health issues, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things people go through. Many people are able to grieve for a while, then move on to acceptance, and then are able to go on with their life. For older people, however, especially those who lose a spouse, grief can have more adverse effects than we can imagine.
You have probably heard of a senior who died just a few months after burying his or her spouse. They often go through feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression.
Those negative emotions and mental states can manifest in their physical health, such as a weak immune system. They become more prone to infection, and as they continue to deal with the negative feelings, their conditions progressively worsen.
We also have bad days, and some of them feel like they are as bad as they can get.
Negative experiences tend to make us anxious about our future and regretful of our past – what might happen, and what could have been. Those lists can go on.
Those feelings – the stress, anxiety, and constant worrying – can lead to a decrease in our life expectancy. When you can’t handle your frustrations well, you tend to resort to unhealthy habits, which then lead to a lower quality of life, and reduce your life expectancy.
Social Isolation and Loneliness
Many people enjoy being alone, and that’s fine. We all have the urge to spend time with ourselves from time to time, to reflect on life or just do the things we want to.
However, research has shown that social isolation and loneliness can increase mortality risks. While feeling alone is different from your choice of being alone, studies have found that the effect on your longevity is just the same.
When you lack social interaction and are always lonely, you tend to have a weaker immune system and higher levels of stress hormones. At the same time, you are less likely to be physically active when you’re on your own. All these can lead to physical health issues, such as heart issues, obesity, stroke, and sleep disturbances.
Positive Emotions are Powerful
While negative emotions can cut many years from your life expectancy, positive emotions can do the opposite. Studies have shown that optimistic people and those who are satisfied and happy with their lives tend to have a longer life.
When you realize that your life is full of negativity or that your mental health is not in its best shape, it’s time to make a shift. Start to look at the brighter side of everything.
One thing you can practice is forgiveness.
When people have hurt you, or something happened that you feel has scarred you for life, you can easily often dwell on the negative emotions that surround it. Forgiveness is one of the keys to help you resolve the negativity of the situation.
When you forgive, you relinquish all the negativity that comes with it. Studies show that forgiveness, be it to others or to yourself, can help you strengthen your immune system and lengthen your lifespan.
If mental issues can affect your physical well-being, physical health can also affect your mental condition. As such, doing healthy physical activities, such as exercise, can also help improve your mental health.
Exercise can help your brain to produce happy hormones, so your emotional well-being also improves.
Our mental health status is one of the things that can help us live longer. When we are mentally healthy, we are better able to take care of our physical well-being. In turn, we keep ourselves healthy, and when we’re healthy, we can live longer and enjoy it more.
Stop Any Bad Habits If You Want to Live Longer
Everything that you do has an impact on your lifespan. Your actions either add more years to your life expectancy or increase your mortality risk. If you want to live longer, it’s time to pay attention to every action that you do, especially your habits.
Are your habits contributing to increasing the quality of your life? If not, it’s not too late to overcome your bad habits and change for the better.
Here are some bad habits that you must ditch if you want to be healthy and live longer.
Smoking and Drinking
In spite of the repeated warnings from health professionals, smoking and drinking are extremely common. For some, these can provide a temporary reprieve from life’s stresses. The benefits are temporary, but the negative effects on health can be ongoing.
Smoking and drinking are two of the main factors that can lead to chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer. When you stop smoking and drinking, not only will you be able to avoid their detrimental health effects, but you also look better and live longer.
Eating Processed and Junk Foods
French fries, burgers, soda – these are common snacks that most people find delicious and satisfying. However, processed foods and junk foods are bad for your health. They contain too much sodium, sugar, trans fats, and preservatives and chemicals that can lead to health issues. These include diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and stroke. Avoiding these foods will help you keep your health in better shape, which consequently will increase your longevity.
Not Getting Enough Sleep at Night
You are a night owl. You are more productive at night. You enjoy the quiet and stillness of the wee hours. However, staying up too late and not getting enough sleep can decrease your lifespan. Getting a good night’s sleep of around seven to eight hours can improve the quality of your life.
Nighttime is the best time for the body to produce hormones and other chemicals that it needs to heal and recuperate. When you get quality sleep, you can more easily fight off depression, stress, and chronic diseases.
Holding a Grudge
Everyone has been wronged by someone in one way or another, and it’s so easy to fall into a pit of negative emotions. However, when you’re holding a grudge, you are the one who’s suffering. It keeps you stressed, and so your body is releasing more cortisol. Worse, it’s not dissipating it as it should. Too much cortisol, and you’re going to experience problems with your metabolism, heart, and immune system.
Give yourself some time to dwell on what happened, but don’t get stuck in it. Forgive yourself and forgive others. It’s futile to blame other people, and what is done is done. You can’t change the past, but you can change your present. See how everything changes when you start to decide to release all the anguish.
Comparing Yourself to Others
Social media has become a huge part of many people’s lives. It keeps us connected with the people who matter to use even when we’re living miles away from each other. However, social media is also a great source of stress when you start to compare your life with others based on what you see in their posts.
Travels, beautiful houses, new cars, new gadgets – it’s so easy to feel sorry for yourself when you think that they are doing way much better than you. Browse mindfully and know that what you see on social media is just half of the story. People have their own personal battles, and what you see on their timelines are only the good things that they choose to share.
Also, what is your chapter 10 will not be the same as someone else’s chapter 20. Your time will come. In the meantime, spare yourself from stress and stop comparing. Stay positive and you’ll live longer, and live more joyously while you do.
The above habits sound simple enough to break, but it’s easier said than done. As the saying goes, old habits die hard. That said, you need to set a strong motivation to be able to replace them with good habits.
List down the benefits that you will reap from leaving the bad habits behind, and keep reminding yourself about them whenever you’re falling off the wagon. Set small goals, track your progress, and keep going.
Marriage and Life Expectancy
There is a common belief that married people tend to live longer. However, that is not an absolute truth. What’s true is that being married or being in an intimate relationship has an impact on life expectancy. Does it increase your number of years or shorten them? That is the big question!
How Marriage Helps You Live Longer
People are social animals, which means that generally speaking, we are not meant to be alone. That’s why studies have shown that people tend to live longer when they are married compared to those who remain single.
Having a partner means having a constant companion and emotional support, which is good for mental health. It also usually means that you have more sources of income for your household, or what is termed economic advantage. Married couples who are well-off are more likely to have a longer life.
However, these benefits are not gender-neutral. Studies suggest that men reap more benefits of being married than women. One of the reasons is that men tend to depend greatly on their spouses emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Wives are also the ones who keep a tab of their husbands’ health. They can encourage them (or badger them?) to stop or reduce bad habits, such as drinking and smoking, and to see their doctors regularly. For this reason, studies have found that married men have a lesser risk of developing and dying from chronic illnesses, such as cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes.
To a lesser degree, the same thing goes for women. Because they have someone to look after them, it increases their longevity. One difference is that after their husbands die, women generally live for several years more, whereas widowers’ lives are shortened relative to their still-married peers.
There are no absolutes, however. For both men and women, when your spouse is gone, and you don’t have an extended family to support you, you tend to feel isolated. Your health can deteriorate, and there may be no-one who looks after you to make sure that you take care of yourself.
Also, men who have a partner who is younger than them also generally live longer. Studies said that this is due to the “health selection” factor, as well as psychological and social effects to an older partner of having a younger spouse.
Of course, the catch here in all cases is that you live longer when you are married, provided that your relationship is a solid and happy one. When you are happy in your intimate relationship, you have a more positive outlook in life, and you are less stressed.
You also consider your spouse as one of the big reasons to be alive, so you take better care of yourself more by executing healthy habits.
How Marriage Increases Your Mortality Risk
Marriage is not always a happy thing, which is apparent given the existence of divorce statistics all over the world. Marriage can increase a woman’s mortality risk when she is married to a younger man. That may be because it is not a fully accepted social norm for women to partner with a young one, so they suffer from social sanctions. Generally, women also deal with multiple stresses, especially those who are working.
Working women are still expected to be the home keeper, to take care of all the household chores, and the greater share of parenting. Divorce can have a detrimental effect on people’s overall health. Studies show that divorce can lead to a downward spiral for men. They are more likely to resort to bad habits, such as smoking and substance abuse, to cope with the emotional distress of getting divorced or separated. Women can also experience lower levels of life satisfaction and a negative outlook on their life.
While many studies have shown several pieces of evidence that being happily married can increase your life expectancy, it doesn’t mean that being single will make your life shorter. In fact, more recent studies are seeing results that when people are single, they are increasing their longevity.
This is because of changing attitudes, such as men are becoming more responsible for their health. They tend to take care of themselves more and take action if there’s any health concern that they are experiencing. Certainly, it is easy to see that being single could be far less stressful than being in a toxic, loveless, or abusive relationship.
Marriage, indeed, has an impact on a person’s life expectancy. Whether that is a positive or a negative effect depends on the circumstances. If you want to live longer, your marriage should be one that makes you happy and enables you to grow. If when you choose to stay single, being responsible enough to take care of yourself will increase your longevity.
Environmental Impacts on Longevity
Every action that we take can make our life longer or shorter. So, if you want to extend your lifespan, you have to ensure that you are taking the right steps. There are various factors affecting people’s longevity, from the food that you eat to the thoughts inside your head. Added to these, the environment is also extremely important.
If you look at the people who get to live for a hundred-plus years all over the world, you will notice that many of them have access to clean water, fresh air, unspoiled nature, close-knit community, and less stressful surroundings. It is obvious that the quality of the environment where you live has an impact on how many years you can stay alive.
Air and Water Pollutants Reduce Your Lifespan
Pollution is the biggest environmental threat to people’s life expectancies. Studies have shown that the poor quality of air to breathe can decrease a person’s lifespan by nearly two years. Air pollution is killing seven million people annually. This is because of the toxic particles coming from the burning of fossil fuels. Air particulates can lead to various illnesses, especially but not only respiratory health problems.
Unsafe water reduces the human lifespan by seven months, and water pollution is attributed to 1.8 million deaths yearly. The world is 70 percent water, and drinkable water is a basic need for humans. However, a large portion of water is no longer safe due to industrialization, poor waste disposal, and population growth, among many others.
Wastewater contains many unhealthy chemicals and also provides a great environment for viruses and bacteria to thrive. These lead to diseases, such as typhoid, cholera, skin infection, and gastrointestinal illnesses, which can all turn to other serious and life-threatening conditions. Other environmental factors affecting mortality include the continuous depletion of natural resources due to mismanagement, deforestation, too much grazing, and unsanitary practices.
Green Habitats Can Help You Live Longer
If you live close to green vegetation or within green cities, it can increase your ability to live longer. They can provide a generally clean environment to live in, with fresh air and clean water and cooler temperature, along with many other health and mental benefits.
Studies have found that parks and green spaces are improving the health of many people, reducing their visits to doctors and medical expenses. Beautiful cities with access to public transportation, parks, green spaces, and other amenities make people happy. That happiness is linked to a longer life.
It Goes Both Ways
As a good environment that you’re living in can increase your life expectancy, it also works the other way around. Reduced lifespan is linked to adverse effects on the environment, such as depleted natural resources, endangered animal species, and continued environmental degradation. Taking care of the environment means providing a safe and healthy place to live for people.
Fortunately, there are many ongoing efforts that promote taking responsibility for the environment and showing more concern for future generations. Many countries have started to transition to renewable energies, cutting their fossil fuel consumption significantly. Organic foods have also increased in popularity in recent years, replacing products that use pesticides and herbicides heavily.
There are inspiring stories of people who are creating forests on their own. Keeping a few house plants can also help in improving the quality of air around you. Planting trees and making urban areas green will help reduce the impact of carbon emissions coming from cars on the street. Electric vehicles are becoming more common.
It may seem that the environment is too big of a factor to control, and you may feel helpless in making sure that it is a conducive place to expect an increased lifespan for yourself. However, you do have some control and on different levels.
Firstly, in your own small ways, you can contribute to an environment that is clean, safe, and healthier for everyone. Dispose of your trash properly, plant a tree, reduce your carbon footprint—small things, when gathered together, become something big enough to make an impact.
Secondly, it is too easy to stay where you are and leading the life you live. Most people have more choices than they care to exercise. If your health and longevity, and that of your loved ones are important to you, it may be time to reconsider your priorities and lifestyle options.
City vs. Country Living for Living Longer
Where you live has as much impact on your chance to live longer, as does the food that you eat. It influences your lifestyle and is a huge factor for your mental health. Now, you might be wondering, where would you live longer, city or countryside?
The truth is, there is no clear-cut answer to this question. It is easy to peg country living as a better option to extend your lifespan because it is quiet, peaceful, and generally stress-free. Even so, city and country living have their own pros and cons. Let’s delve deeper into them:
How Country Living Affects Your Life Expectancy
The countryside is where you can see the greens everywhere. It is where green fields are expansive and where trees are thick. It’s where the environment is most likely cleaner, so you can expect fresh air and fresh foods; some would likely come from your own backyard.
Country living means being far from extreme traffic and pollution that many cities have. You don’t have to spend so much time on the road in the middle of a traffic jam or crowded public transportation like trains and buses.
The cost of living is also lower than in urban areas. Living with lower population density helps you live longer because you have lower risks of contracting infectious illnesses, such as the common cold and respiratory-related problems.
While country living sounds perfect enough, it also comes with its own issues. Deprivation is one of the downsides of living in the countryside. Since there are fewer people and houses tend to be far from each other, there is a risk of feeling isolated and lonely.
Hospitals and other amenities may also not be easily accessible, which is a disadvantage, especially in times of emergencies. There are fewer doctors that practice medicine in rural areas, and country people rarely have access to robust mental health services.
Studies have shown that fatal accidents are higher per capita in rural areas, partly attributed to slow emergency responses. Country people are also likely to die of unintentional injury, and tobacco and alcohol abuse are rampant. At the same time, jobs, particularly high-paying ones, are limited.
How City Living Affects Your Life Expectancy
If the countryside is so environmentally ideal, why do people stay in cities? In cities, the air is polluted, infectious diseases can spread more easily, and the crime rate is relatively high. People are more likely to feel they live in the rat race, and the cost of living is higher.
Despite these disadvantages of living in the city and specific increases in the risk of mortality, city living can also lengthen your life based on other factors. For instance, you have easier access to health facilities and other amenities. You have plenty of options when it comes to choosing healthy foods to eat.
There are also more job opportunities, and with higher income, people tend to live longer. It is easier to get around, and you can pretty much do everything at any time of the day. Because many establishments are available, you tend to walk more, and that’s exercise without setting aside a specific time.
Gyms are prevalent, and bike lanes are also available. In addition, being exposed to germs as you ride public transportation can also bolster your immune system. City living makes your social life vibrant, as well. It is so easy to see your friends and hang out with them.
You are rarely alone in the city. Studies have shown that having a wide circle of friends makes you grow old healthier, and thus, longer. Dementia is one disease that you can help avoid by meeting lots of friends and being active socially.
All these can contribute to your satisfaction in life, making you more mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.
The Bottom Line
City living and country living both have their own advantages and disadvantages that can affect your life expectancy. Which one is better? It boils down to your personal preferences and what works best for you.
If you like peace and quiet and green surroundings, country living is for you. If you like to be surrounded by people and taking up opportunities, city living is for you.
In the end, the place that makes you happier and healthier will help you live longer.
Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men?
Statistics show that women tend to live on average, another five to eight years longer than men. There are various factors that affect longevity – lifestyle, health, habits, environment, social status, economic status, etc.
But you might be wondering – why do women have a longer lifespan than men? What does sex have to do with life expectancy? Can men do something about it so the gap can be narrowed down?
It’s in The Biology
Women’s biological characteristics are the main reasons that they have a longer life expectancy than men. Science shows that a woman’s chromosomes and hormones contribute to making her life longer. For instance, estrogen keeps fat from building up around organs, which can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular issues.
A male’s testosterone, on the one hand, is responsible not only for their bigger body build and a deeper voice, but can also be attributed to faster age-related changes. Testosterone keeps a man strong and healthy early in life, but over time, it can leave them open to illness and disease, such as infections, heart disease, and cancer.
Women also have two X chromosomes, and the second one acts as a backup when genes kind of malfunction. Having X and Y chromosomes, men don’t have that extra copies of genes, so when cells malfunction, they are at greater risk of contracting diseases.
In addition, a woman’s menstrual cycle also increases the heart rate, which can be equated to moderate exercise. Women may visit the hospital more often than men, but generally, their visit is due to non-life-threatening problems, such as migraines or arthritis, or other ‘women’s problems.’
Conversely, men are more prone to developing cardiovascular disease, which is one of the top culprits for their high mortality risk. A woman’s body is also subject to many challenges, particularly during pregnancy. Mothers are responsible for the survival of their infants; therefore women have been wired to be survivors.
It’s in The Behavior
Another reason that can be credited for a woman’s longer life span compared to a man is in their behavior. Many men tend to smoke and drink, eat poorly, and not exercise. These factors make them more susceptible to stroke, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and many other diseases.
They are also risk-takers, adrenaline seekers, and have a stronger appetite for adventure, which is why accidental deaths are most common among young men from age 15 to 24. Women, on the other hand, tend to lean more towards safety than danger.
That doesn’t mean all women do not engage in risky adventures! Many do, but they are more in tune with the ‘death’ risks than many men. Women also generally don’t smoke or drink as much as men, and the ones who live longer usually eat right, exercise and have a positive outlook on life.
It’s in The Social Situation
While women often live longer than men today, it was not always the case. In ancient times, women tended to die earlier than men. This is because of their social status. Men were more important than women. As society changed, and women began taking active roles in society, became educated, and became successful in their careers, their mortality also changed.
Women are more empowered today. They have higher self-worth and a more optimistic view of life, which helps in increasing their lifespans. Innovations in science, such as safer birth control and delivery methods, are also to be credited for the increase in a woman’s longevity.
It’s in The Lifestyle
One thing is certain. The life expectancy gap is narrowing between males and females. Many men are taking care of their health more, and many women are wanting to take more risks, and do what the men do.
Whatever your gender is, there is really no telling when you will die or whether you will live longer. No-one can absolutely control that. Even so, it is important to know the factors that can contribute to a longer life expectancy.
We might not be able to do much about our biology, but we can make some changes to our lifestyle and behavior, so we can spend more years alive! So set your goals and have a longer and healthier life!
Sleep Is Vital If You Want to Live Longer!
There are many good reasons for wanting to extend your life. You want to guide your children as they grow up and be there for them even as they reach adulthood and beyond.
You want to see your grandchildren running up and down your yard. Well, there are many ways you can do to add more years to live—eat healthy foods, live in a great environment, have a healthy lifestyle, and so on.
Among the factors that can increase your life expectancy, there’s one thing that you might be overlooking – sleep. If you want to live longer, you need to get enough sleep. Many people are getting far less sleep than is ideal.
It is essential to have six to eight hours of sleep every night. Anything less than that can increase your mortality risk by 12 percent. Those who sleep too much have an increased risk by a whopping 30 percent. Short sleep can make you prone to chronic illnesses, while too much sleep signals that you may have underlying health issues.
The point here is, excessive sleep can be an indicator of other health problems, whereas inadequate sleep is a cause of health problems, which will have an effect on all aspects of health, including longevity.
Unfortunately, sleep deprivation has become a norm for many, and many people are even proud of having too little amount of sleep because they are too busy with their work or business. Science, however, says that sleep has a direct relation to a person’s longevity.
Here’s why sleep is vital if you want to live longer.
Your Body Needs Time to Repair
It is during sleep that the body repairs itself on a cellular level, releasing relevant hormones to make you feel refreshed and renewed. During sleep, the body also regulates your metabolism. The brain catches up with needed maintenance, clearing out metabolic waste that it has accumulated during the day.
Sleep Deprivation Leads to Chronic Illnesses
When your body does not get enough rest, it cannot do its needed maintenance and repair functions properly, leaving you more exposed to illnesses.
People who are not getting sufficient quality sleep are more prone to developing Alzheimer’s disease, heart diseases, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and more. It also weakens the immune function, which makes you vulnerable to infections, such as common colds.
When your body is well-rested, you have a stronger immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses. Your blood pressure and sugar levels are also better regulated. Enough sleep can also help you maintain a healthy weight because sleep loss can cause you to overeat.
Lack of sleep can also increase inflammation and cell damages in your body. Health issues that are associated with insufficient sleep include inflammatory bowel diseases and Crohn’s disease.
Good Sleep Improves Your Productivity and Work Performance
Many people work 14 to 16 hours a day, thinking that they get more things done. However, when you get more sleep, you can be as productive in just six to eight hours.
This is because getting enough sleep makes your brain sharper, improving your concentration, problem-solving skills, and productivity. When you can balance your work life, you tend to be more satisfied with your career and have a more positive outlook in life.
Good Sleep Boosts Your Mood and Ability To Interact Socially
When you have enough sleep, it boosts your mood and your ability to interact socially. With enough sleep, you can more easily recognize and process emotions, as well as social cues. That way, you can react and respond more appropriately. Otherwise, you can tend to have a bad day, and your social skills diminish.
At the same time, poor sleep can contribute to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.
How To Get Enough Sleep At Night
Despite knowing all the benefits of having good quality sleep for longevity, getting enough sleep may not be easy for some people. Here are some tips on how you can get a good night’s rest.
- Establish a bedtime routine, which means sleeping at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. This includes weekends. Don’t stay up too late on weekdays thinking that you will catch up on sleep over the weekends. There is no such thing.
- Keep the bedroom dark as much as possible to allow your body to produce melatonin, which is essential for several brain functions that help your body heal. Keep it cool and quiet, as well.
- Don’t use your gadgets or watch TV an hour before bedtime because artificial lights can send the wrong signals to your brain.
- Be physically active during the day and use relaxation techniques before bedtime.
Sleep is an incredibly crucial factor that affects everyone’s longevity. Good sleep for adequate periods shouldn’t be considered optional. It is essential to health, quality of life, and lifespan. Don’t neglect your sleep, so you will enjoy all the health benefits it can bring.