Longevity Hack: Increase Brain Size

Sharpen memory. Although brain size decreases as you age, research has shown that exercise can actually help reverse that — at any age. One study found that physical activity helped participants build measurable increases in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that enables you to create and store memories.

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Longevity Hack: It’s All About the BMI

Another sure way to improve your chances for a longer, healthier life is to shed excess weight. “Being obese—with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30—is a risk factor for early death, and it shortens your active life expectancy,” Ferrucci says. BMI is an estimate of your body fat based on your weight and height. Use NIH’s BMI calculator to determine your BMI. Talk with a doctor about reaching a healthy weight.

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Longevity Hack: Eat Your Way to A Longer Life

The mitochondrial theory of aging suggests that free radical damage to our cells’ power source (mitochondria) leads to a loss of cellular energy and function over time. According to the theory, the resulting cellular damage is what essentially causes aging. Aging and disease have been thought of as the oxidation of the body, but eating antioxidant-rich foods may slow down this oxidant process. On average, plant foods may contain 64 times more antioxidants than animal foods. Including a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices each meal continuously floods our body with antioxidants to help ward off stroke and other age-related diseases.

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Longevity Hack: Eat Your Way to A Long, Healthy Life

Some things about life—and how long we get to enjoy it—are out of our control. But emerging nutrition science research, as well as data collected from people in their 90s and beyond, shows what, when, and how we eat has a profound influence on how long we live.

Longevity Hack: It’s What You Eat

Eat Whole Foods

It’s more a way of eating than a formal diet. You load up on veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy. You eat less fatty meats, butter, sugar, salt, and packaged foods. Many studies have found that this diet can help you live longer and protects against heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe one way it works is by physically changing parts of your chromosomes linked to age-related diseases.

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Longevity Tip: A Drink is Nice, But . . .

For years, moderate drinking was touted as a harmless — and maybe even healthy — habit. But recently, scientific opinion has begun to shift toward a more cautious stance on alcohol. Last year, a large meta-analysis of prior alcohol studies concluded that there is no safe amount of drinking, because the net risks to a population — addiction, cancer, traffic accidents and so on — outweigh any potential benefits, such as improved cardiovascular and cognitive health. And while each person’s risk-benefit analysis depends on his or her family and medical history, research is increasingly supporting the idea that people should limit their alcohol consumption to avoid health problems and increase longevity.

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Longevity & Higher Protein Consumption

Building on their previous studies on the role of protein in preserving health and function, epidemiologists Adela Hruby and Paul F. Jacques, researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, found that adults around sixty years old, whose diets on average included adequate protein—and in particular protein from plants—showed fewer signs of “inflammaging.” Inflammaging is a low-grade, age-related chronic inflammation associated with frailty and illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

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