Aging gracefully is a goal for most of us; who wouldn't want to live a longer life? Believe it or not, it really is possible to live longer and feel better by making a small changes to your lifestyle. That's right: Staying healthy, happy, and mentally sharp for years to come can be in the cards for you, as long as you commit to a few new smart, science-backed anti-aging strategies that really work.
Ready to live longer, stronger? Follow these tips and see if you don't feel better and look younger for many years to come.
Live longer stronger with a multi.
No need to take pricey pills to put the brakes on aging: A good quality multivitamin will do the trick, say Harvard University researchers. The balanced blend of nutrients in a multi switches on enzymes that repair and replace aging tissues, adding up to eight years of great health to your life if you take one daily. One option: Twinlab Women’s Ultra Daily ($22 for 120 capsules, Amazon.com). Important: Always check with your doctor before taking any supplement for the first time.
Live longer and bypass heart disease with shrimp.
Eating 18 oz. of shrimp, salmon, steelhead trout or another pink-colored fish or seafood weekly could cut your risk of heart disease as much as 50 percent, a study in the journal Marine Drugs reveals. The credit goes to astaxanthin, a pinkish pigment that keeps your blood vessels young, healthy and relaxed, so you’re far less likely to develop high blood pressure or clogged arteries, says study coauthor Rob Fassett, M.D.
Safeguard your brain with sweet potatoes.
Live longer, eat less? Not so, say the experts, who note that bright orange sweet potatoes are nature’s top source of beta-carotene, a nutrient that cuts your risk of brain aging (and related troubles like stroke and dementia) 45 percent or more. As Canadian researchers explain, beta-carotene nourishes and energizes brain nerves, plus it prevents plaque buildup inside brain blood vessels. The study-proven dose: 1/2 cup daily.
Turn back the clock with avocados.
Live longer, look younger? The secret to looking at least three years younger and having 50 percent more vim and vigor than other folks your age? Eating 1/2 an avocado daily. Washington University scientists recently discovered that a compound in avocados (nicotinamide mononucleotide) turns back the clock on skin health, helps convert food into fuel and assists proteins that inhibit the effect of genes that promote aging.
Rev anti-aging hormones with walks.
Exercise prods your brain to make human growth hormone (HGH), an anti-aging compound that rejuvenates skin, heart, muscles, bones and other tissues. No wonder a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily cuts the risk of premature aging as much as 40 percent. Include a few minutes of intense activity in your daily workout — say, trotting up stairs or walking briskly — and you’ll enjoy even bigger anti-aging benefits.
Live 12 years longer with friendly chats.
It’s true! A Purdue University study found that chatting weekly with a friend who makes you feel upbeat can add 12 years of great health to your life. People with active, happy social lives (and just a once-a-week heart-to-heart works!) produce 33 percent less of the body-aging stress hormone cortisol. Live longer, look younger, have great friends!
Live longer and quell inflammation with spices.
Enjoying a meal spiced with a pinch of chili power, red pepper flakes or fresh jalapeños just once a week cuts your risk of serious illnesses and premature aging 10 percent — and four spicy meals weekly cuts your risk as much as 20 percent, reports the British Medical Journal. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot spices, reduces production of inflammatory compounds that age tissues, the study authors say.
Live longer and feel better with snacks.
This mouthwatering, turn-back-the-clock snack, Sweet Potato Fries and Guacamole Dip, gets its powers from generous amounts of age-defying sweet potatoes, avocados and inflammation-taming spices!
Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Peel sweet potatoes; cut into long (1/4"-thick) sticks. In large bowl, toss sweet potato sticks with oil, ¼ tsp. salt, chili powder and pepper flakes until coated. On baking sheets, spread sweet potatoes in single layer. Bake 15-18 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mash avocado with scallions, lime juice, jalapeño and remaining 1/4 tsp. Salt. Serve sweet potato fries with guacamole. Makes 4 servings.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.