It’s nice knowing there’s a long and healthy life ahead, but sometimes health issues can derail those plans. It’s scary when loved ones get sick or have health issues, but it’s a good reminder to be proactive and stay healthy. To stay healthy, there are specific steps to follow that’ll increase life expectancy. For example, exercise, which we cover later, is one way to extend life. The Body Reboot book also reveals how a low carb, high diet can improve health. Keep reading to learn about additional ways to increase life expectancy and improve your health along the way. Let’s start with one of the easiest ways to live longer, which is getting more vitamin D!
Go Outside More
Very well health recommends spending more time outdoors because we all need vitamin D. This vital vitamin can help prevent depression and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Life expectancy can be increased simply by going outside. See, what happens when you go outside is that your skin gets exposed to sunlight. That exposure triggers cells in your skin to produce vitamin D. This vitamin (really a prohormone, but let's not worry about that here) is essential for bone health and is turning out to be important in depression, heart disease, diabetes and just about everything.
Some estimate that 50% of adults have low levels of vitamin D because we simply don't get outside that much (sitting by a window doesn't count, the glass filters too much of the sunlight). This is a shame because maintaining vitamin D levels has to be the easiest and cheapest way to improve your health and increase your life expectancy. Getting outside for just 15 minutes a day and exposing your hands and face to sunlight is enough to maintain vitamin D levels in most cases.
If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, your doctor can order a simple blood test that will tell you if your levels are low. If for some reason you can't get outside enough, there are vitamin D supplements that you can take (but getting outside is a better option, if you can).
Elderly people need to pay special attention to their vitamin D levels. If you are a caregiver, be sure to assist your loved one in getting outside just a little bit every day. Not only will with improve vitamin D levels, but it could also improve sleep because sunlight also regulates another hormone in the body called melatonin that controls your sleep cycle.
Go on a Low Carb, High Fat Diet
Medical News Today reveals that the keto diet, a low carb, high fat diet has multiple benefits, from losing weight to improving heart health. By cutting out carbs and thus sugar, your body will receive nutrients from healthier sources such as vegetables and healthy oils like olive oil. Making healthier decisions can increase your life expectancy because you’re being proactive and cutting out things your body doesn’t need like sugar. Here are a few benefits of the keto diet:
More research is needed into the keto diet and the brain. Some studies suggest that the keto diet offers neuroprotective benefits. These may help treat or prevent conditions like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and even some sleep disorders. One study even found that children following a ketogenic diet had improved alertness and cognitive functioning.
In support of Medical News Today, the Epilepsy manuscript from 2012 mentions how the keto diet may help with the brain by treating drug-resistant epilepsy. See what the study says about the correlation between keto and epilepsy below:
Multiple forms of the ketogenic diet (KD) have been successfully used to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, however its mainstream use as a first-line therapy is still limited. Further investigation into its clinical efficacy as well as the molecular basis of activity is likely to assist in the reversal of any resistance to its implementation. In this review we shall attempt to elucidate the current state of experimental and clinical data concerning the neuroprotective and cognitive effects of the KD in both humans and animals. Generally, it has been shown by many research groups that effective implementation of KD exerts strong neuroprotective effects with respect to social behavior and cognition. We will also elucidate the role of KD in the interesting relationship between sleep, epilepsy and memory. Currently available evidence also indicates that, under appropriate control, and with further studies investigating any potential long-term side effects, the KD is also a relatively safe intervention, especially when compared to traditional anti-epileptic pharmacotherapeutics. In addition, due to its neuroprotective capacity, the KD may also hold potential benefit for the treatment of other neurological or neurodegenerative disorders.
Medical News Today goes on to explain how the keto diet may also improve heart health:
When the ketogenic diet is followed in a healthy manner (which considers avocados a healthy fat instead of pork rinds), there is some evidence that the diet can improve heart health by reducing cholesterol. One study found that HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels significantly increased in those following the keto diet. The LDL (“bad”) cholesterol went down significantly.
It's thought that the combination of fat, protein, and carbs alters the way the body uses energy, resulting in ketosis. Ketosis is an elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood.
Ketosis can lead to a reduction in seizures in people with epilepsy. The jury is still out on how effective this actually is, though it seems to be most effective on children who have focal seizures.
Everyone already knows that exercise is important, but many don’t realize just how beneficial it is to our health. National Cancer Institute tells us just how important exercise is and mentions a study by PLoS Medicine that discovered that physical activity can extend a life as much as 4.5 years.
Leisure-time physical activity is associated with longer life expectancy, even at relatively low levels of activity and regardless of body weight, according to a study by a team of researchers led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study, which found that people who engaged in leisure-time physical activity had life expectancy gains of as much as 4.5 years, appeared Nov. 6, 2012, in PLoS Medicine.
“Our findings highlight the important contribution that leisure-time physical activity in adulthood can make to longevity,” said study author Steven Moore, Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and lead author of the study. “Regular exercise extended the lives in every group that we examined in our study—normal weight, overweight, or obese.”
The researchers also examined how life expectancy changed with the combination of both activity and obesity. Obesity was associated with a shorter life expectancy, but physical activity helped to mitigate some of the harm. People who were obese and inactive had a life expectancy that was between five to seven years shorter (depending on their level of obesity) than people who were normal weight and moderately active.
Challenge Your Mind
Harvard Health reminds us to use our minds more which can extend life:
Challenge your mind. Keep learning and trying new activities.
Your Brain Matter elaborates further on how exercising your mind can lead to a healthier and fuller life.
As we grow older we tend to prefer doing the things we've always done, tasks that we are familiar with – and that's understandable – but the brain benefits by having to tackle something it doesn't know.
It could be learning a new language, taking up a new sport, doing a course in something you're always wanted to do – anything really, as long as it's learning something new. Challenge yourself often and keep learning new things throughout life.
Higher levels of mental activity throughout life are consistently associated with better brain function and reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
Importantly for older or retired people, increased complex mental activity in later life is associated with a lower dementia risk, which is good news for those who are able to work beyond retirement age.
At the time of writing this post, we're giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book because it's our mission to increase awareness, encourage people to lose weight, and improve their health! If you help us cover the cost of shipping, we’ll send you a FREE book. Go over to this page to see if there are any remaining copies.
Sources: Verywell Health, NCBI: Epilepsy Res. 2012 Jul, Medical News Today, PLoS Medicine Nov 6, 2012, National Cancer Institute, Harvard Health, Your Brain Matters
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