Everyone knows you should eat right and exercise, but there are a number of surprising things you can do that researchers say will help you live longer.
A study by Duke University Medical Center found people with permanent partners or spouses had a decreased risk of premature death during midlife, according to a report in Science Daily. People who never married were more than twice as likely to die early than people in long-term, stable relationships.
Brooklyn College researchers found that drinking four cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of dying of heart disease by 53 percent.
Floss your teeth and go to the dentist
Visiting a dentist every six months and flossing every day reduces the risk of gum disease and body-wide inflammation by 70 percent and the risk of diabetes by more than 50 percent, Inflammation increases risk of heart attack, stroke and angina, as well as other serious health problems, according to Dr. Michael Roizen with ShareCare. Researchers say just flossing regularly can add 6.4 years to your life.
Take baby aspirin
If you're over the age of 40, Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends taking two baby aspirins daily to reduce heart disease, cancer, and possibly even wrinkles. Those with ulcers, bleeding disorders or other health problems should consult their doctors before starting an aspirin regimen. Dr. Michael Roizen says baby aspirin helps protect against prostate cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer and can even lower your odds by 13 to 15 percent for the two deadliest types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Sleep more, but not too much
Researchers found that at least six hours of sleep per night is needed for a long and healthy life. Any less than six hours is associated with a 12 percent increase in mortality risk, according to RealAge. But research also found that people who sleep more than 8 hours per night have a 30 percent increase in mortality risk. It's not clear why, but researchers suspect that underlying health problems may cause people to sleep extra long. Treating those underlying, energy-depriving health problems could be another key to living a longer life.
People over 55 who eat a potassium-rich diet lower their risk of dying of any cause during the next five years, according to RealAge. Six large, fresh figs supply a whopping 891 milligrams of potassium, and can help your body regulate your blood pressure, fending off strokes and heart disease.
In a 10-year longevity study of people aged 70 and older, researchers at the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia found that having a network of good friends is even more important than close family relationships when it comes to lengthening life.
Wear your seat belt
Everyone knows that you should wear your seatbelt, but the statistics are pretty staggering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said 5,500 lives could be saved by increasing the safety belt use in the U.S. to 90 percent. Currently only 68 percent of Americans wear safety belts.
One minute of laughter is equivalent to 40 minutes of deep relaxation. A hundred laughs is comparable to a 10-minute jog, according to cardiologist Dr. William Fry.
Mens Health reported that Loma Linda University researchers tracked the lifestyle habits of 34,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, a population famous for longevity, they found that those who ate nuts 5 days a week, lived on average 2.9 years longer. Dr. Michael Roizen says five servings of nuts per week will lower the risk of belly fat, diabetes, heart disease and more, and cam even lower heart health-threatening LDL cholesterol by 10 points and high triglycerides by 20 points.
Make your marriage work
Being happily married for a long time leads to greater life expectancy for both men and women, according to a study in Health Psychology Journal.
Take more vacations
A 9-year study of more than 12,000 men at risk of heart disease by the Framingham Heart Study found the more frequently men took vacations, the longer they lived. The study also found that women who take vacations twice a year are eight times less likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack than women who only take vacations every several years, according to the Framingham Heart Study.
Live in the country
A British study found people who live in rural areas have a higher life expectancy than those living in cities. A study by the Tokyo Medical and Dental School concurred, and found that people in cities who live near green open spaces tend to live much longer than those without regular exposure to green space.
Look on the bright side
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found that optimistic people decreased their risk of early death by 50 percent compared with those who were more pessimistic. On average, optimists live about 12 years longer than pessimistic ones. Purdue scientists discovered that constant worrying shortens your life span by 16 years.
Drink more water
Researchers at Loma Linda University found that men who drink eight glasses of water a day were 54 percent less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who drank two glasses or less every day.
Several studies indicate that those who have active sex lives not only live longer, they look younger. A study by Dr. David Weeks at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital found couples with a healthy sex life can look up to seven years younger than those who don't. Sex, even as little as once or twice a week, also increases immunoglobulin levels the stuff in your blood that fights infection and disease as much as 30 percent higher than in those who abstain. Regular sexual activity has also been shown to be associated with a 50 percent reduction in deaths from heart attacks and other causes according to a study in the British Medical Journal.
Mens Health reported that in a 15-year study, Dutch scientists found that men who ate just 4 grams of cocoa a day (the equivalent of two 25-calorie Hershey's Kisses) had half the risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate less. Harvard School of Public Health researchers also found that people who eat a moderate amounts of chocolate live longer than those who eat sweets three or more times a week and those who never eat sweets.
Get along with your mother
Harvard Medical School researchers found that 91 per cent of people who weren't close to their mothers developed serious diseases (high blood pressure, alcoholism and heart disease) by midlife, according to a report in Mens Health. Only 45 per cent of participants who said they had close relationships with their mothers developed these serious illnesses.
Go to church
MyHealthNewsDaily reported that a Norwegian study found the more time a person spends at church, the lower his or her blood pressure. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center also found that people who regularly attend religious services appear to have a healthier immune system than those who don't. A University of Pittsburgh researcher found the number of years added to life by attending church is similar to those associated with regular exercise or taking statin-type drugs that lower cholesterol, according to a report in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.
Get a pet
Forbes.com on NBCNews.com reported that having a pet can add years to your life. Public Health Reports in 1980, showed that survival rates of heart attack victims who had a pet were 28 percent higher than those who didnt. Also, Cambridge University researchers say families who have a dog or cat are less stressed and visit their doctors less. Rebecca Johnson, a professor of gerontological nursing at the University of Missouri at Columbia, found that interaction with pets reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Stand up more
Dr. David Agus, who teams up with Dr. Mehmet Oz, says a recent study found that women who sat for six or more hours a day were 40 percent more likely to die during the 13-year study than those who sat fewer than three hours a day. Argus says women are more adversely effected by inactivity than men. He says sitting all day could be worse for your health than smoking cigarettes. He recommends a period of standing, walking and activity every 30 minutes.
One or two cups of tea per day will do your heart good, according to Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University. A study of more than 40,500 Japanese men and women, those who drank five or more cups of green tea every day had the lowest risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. Black tea shows similar results. Some studies show that adding milk may eliminate teas positive effects, so just lemon or honey is a better choice.
Drink decaf coffee
An 18-year study at Harvard medical school found that drinking two or more cups of decaffeinated coffee per day can cut colon-cancer risk by 52 percent, according to a report in Mens Health.
A study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community found that couples who have or adopt children live longer than couples who don't have kids, especially women.
Statistics show that 77 percent of pedestrians killed while crossing the road are not at intersections, according to an article in Mens Health. Of those killed jaywalking at night, 53 percent were drunk.
Sing in the shower, or wherever you want
A joint Harvard-Yale University study found that singing regularly increased life expectancy, likely because decreases stress, promotes a healthy heart and helps ward off depression.
According to Israeli scientists, eating one red grapefruit a day lowers bad cholesterol by 20 percent, even in people who don't respond to statins.
Taiwanese researchers found that with elderly people who live alone, those who shop daily were less likely to die than those who never went shopping. The impact was greatest for elderly men. Male daily shoppers were 28 percent less likely to die. Female shoppers were 23 percent less. Daily shopping might indicate overall good health, but researchers say the exercise and community connection may also be beneficial.
Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in partnership with the Harvard School of Global Health, found that people who live at higher altitudes tend to live longer and are less likely to die from heart disease. It is unclear if the benefit is from the difference in oxygen level or possibly increased Vitamin D which is linked to reduction in heart disease.
Do volunteer work
A study by the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, Calif., people who volunteer at two or more organizations have a 44 percent lower death rate than those who don't do any charitable work, at rate comparable to exercising four times a week.
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