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6 Easy Steps to a Longer Life

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Life

Just because U.S. life expectancy is on the decline it is no reason for you to opine that your life is doomed. There are a number of things you can do to lengthen your life and defy the statistics, and live to a nice, ripe old age. The Press offers four; I’ll give you a couple more.

1. Don’t smoke. I think we’ve all heard that message. We know smoking shortens your life. But did you know that taking up vaping — smoking electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) isn’t any better? E-cigs have nicotine in them, too, meaning you can become just as addicted to them as regular cigarettes. Plus, the liquid used to flavor e-cigs may induce early signs of cardiovascular disease as well as lung problems due to the chemicals in them.

2. Avoid drug use. In case you haven’t heard, accidental deaths — primarily connected with the opioid epidemic — are the primary factors in the decline of U.S. mortality. Since opioids are prescribed for pain relief, it’s important to question whether you need that opioid prescription. With the exception of cancer patients and those who have just undergone a serious, major surgery, most pain can be managed in other ways.

The truth is opioids are not always necessary to treat moderate to severe pain, as ibuprofen and acetaminophen (which admittedly have their own set of risks) may work just as well. Medical marijuana or CBD oil may also be a good alternative, if they are legal in your state.

3. Maintain a healthy body mass — No matter how you define it (body mass, weight, hip-to-waist ratio) maintaining a healthy weight can go a long way toward giving you a long life. While one widely-held belief is that all you have to do to normalize your weight is eat less and move more, the science of weight loss is not that simple.

Put plainly, calorie counting doesn’t work. And, there just isn’t enough time in a day to burn off all the calories you’re putting in — in other words, you can’t exercise your way out of a poor diet of processed foods, added sugars and artificial ingredients. Choose to eat REAL FOOD by buying whole, ideally organic foods and cook from scratch. Once you’ve cleaned up your diet think about trying an intermittent fasting program, which can help your body function like your ancestors did.

4. Limit alcohol consumption — Like it or not, alcoholic drinks are mostly calorie fillers. Aside from having adverse effects on your metabolism, brain and neurologic processes, alcohol can lead to sleep problems, which can lead to health issues that could shorten your life.

5. Learn to burn fat for fuel — Coupled with intermittent fasting, you can lose weight, eat healthy, burn calories and lengthen your life all in this one food program. When your body is able to burn fat for fuel, your liver creates ketones that burn more efficiently than carbs, thus creating far less reactive oxygen species and secondary free radicals that damage your cellular and mitochondrial cell membranes, proteins and DNA.

Ketogenic diets are very effective for this, as is feast-and-famine cycling (intermittent fasting). Ketones also mimic the life extending properties of calorie restriction (fasting), which includes improved glucose metabolism and reduced inflammation.

6. Take the advice of centenarians — They’ve “been there, done that,” and those who live to be 100 or more have more than a few things in common. Studies show that centenarians tend to have positive attitudes, optimism, a zest for life and a good sense of humor. Other commonalities include an active lifestyle, a fresh-food diet and a strong social network.

In fact, a strong social support network has been scientifically verified as being the No. 1 factor that determines longevity and survival. Its influence on mortality is so great it surpasses the influence of weight and even eclipses the influence of smoking.