While we still haven’t found the Fountain of Youth, here are 10 things you can do in 2018 to live a longer and healthier life:
1. Sleep more – Research suggests that regularly sleeping less than seven hours a night can promote obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, anxiety, depression and alcohol abuse.
2. Eat intelligently – Cut your risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke in half simply by reducing your salt, sugar and unsaturated fats while increasing your vegetables, fruits and unprocessed whole foods.
3. Maintain a proper body weight – According to an analysis by the National Institute on Aging, individuals who are obese have a 50 to 100 percent higher risk of premature death from all causes. Excess body weight increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and even some types of cancer.
4. Reduce stress – Emotional stress that stays around for weeks or months can weaken the immune system and cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety and even heart disease.
5. Meditate – Telomeres are “protective protein caps” on our DNA that allow continued cell replication. The shorter the length of our telomeres, the more susceptible our cells are to disease and dying. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation may have positive effects on preservation of telomere length and slowing down the aging process.
6. Exercise regularly – Adding regular exercise decreases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and high blood pressure. Regular, moderate physical activity such as brisk walking can increase life expectancy by several years, even if you’re overweight
7. Keep your medical screenings up-to-date – Screening for heart disease and diabetes helps to identify those that need education and treatment before disease progression. Cancer screenings are useful for cancers that can be treated early and cured.
8. Take care of your teeth – Gum disease can increase the chance of dying by 25 to 50 percent compared to healthy gums. Young men with poor dental hygiene and periodontal disease were three times as likely to die from coronary heart disease.
9. Decrease toxins – We’re exposed to toxins daily. Wash your produce, buy hormone/pesticide/antibiotic free meats, stay away from industrial pollutants, avoid tobacco smoke, don’t cook meat at high temperatures to minimize HCA’s (carcinogenic) and reduce your intake of processed foods which are laden with chemicals.
10. Maintain a close relationship with your Family Doctor – Your family doctor’s office should be the center and first stop for all your healthcare needs. Besides coordinating specialist care and testing, your family doctor knows your complete medical and family history, your lifestyle habits and what regular health screenings you will need. Studies show that in areas of our country where there is more primary care, people are less likely to be hospitalized and there are lower death rates for cancer, heart disease and stroke. MDVIP physicians have hourly patient appointments so we really know our patients and have plenty of time to educate, diagnose, treat and coordinate care.
So start 2018 by making an effort to increase your longevity…at least until we find that Fountain of Youth!