The average American consumes nearly 240 pounds of sugar per year. And most of the excess sugar will get stored as fat in your body, which elevates cancer risk and can suppress your immune function. When study subjects were given sugar, their white blood cell count decreased significantly for several hours afterward. This held true for a variety of types of sugar, including fructose, glucose, honey and orange juice. In another study, rats fed a high-sugar diet had a substantially elevated rate of breast cancer compared to rats on a normal diet. To live long, draw sweetness from other aspects of your life.
Stop your negativity! Lighten up! According to a University of Michigan research, men who think the worst of themselves may be headed for early graves. Scientists found that those who saw every personal setback as a catastrophe had a 25 percent greater risk of death and died an average of 2 years earlier than men who addressed their failures more positively. So the old luxury of negative self talk, self condemnation, put downs, and self degradation must cease, permanently.
According to a new study conducted at the State University of New York, the reduction in stress from missing a few days of work shrinks heart-attack and stroke risk by nearly 30 percent.
It’s important to keep your cholesterol levels within healthy limits. Whatever it takes – diet, fitness, drugs – drop your total cholesterol below two bills. With every one percent reduction of total blood cholesterol, there is about a two percent reduction in the risk of heart attack. So bringing down moderately high cholesterol (up to 239) will buy you an extra six months, according to research. And if your level is in the 300+ range, dropping down to 200 can extend your life by more than four years.
Uh, does it really matter? There seems to be a “dose-response” relationship between orgasms and heart problems – the more sex you have, the less heart disease you’ll suffer. British researchers who studied sexual activity and mortality in a group of 1000 men found that those who had at least two orgasms a week had half the death rate of their countrymen who indulge less than once a month.
Taking steps to lower your blood pressure can add years to your life. If your diastolic (bottom number) reading is 90 to 95, reducing it to 80 can gain you up to 2.4 years. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits is an effective first step in both preventing and controlling high blood pressure.
According to an Archives of General Psychiatry study, sleeping too much can reduce life expectancy. Researchers found that those who sleep more than eight hours per night had a significantly higher death rate than normal. But late-night-party-goers shouldn’t rejoice: researches say that sleeping less than four hours also increases death rates. People who sleep between six and seven hours per night were shown to live the longest.
A recent study of 18,000 men found that those who maintained the highest levels of aerobic fitness lived 8.7 years longer than the least fit guys. “We’ve all been told about the importance of aerobics in our daily lives, but this gives us the data to prove it,” says Ken Cooper, M.D., founder and director of the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, which conducted the study. To attain that top fitness category, Dr. Cooper recommends, run 2 miles in 20 minutes or less, four times a week.
In 1992, The International Journal of Neuroscience reported that daily meditation added a full 12 years, on average, to the life span of senior citizens. A study of 2,000 seniors found that those who did relaxation exercises daily had 87 percent fewer heart attacks than is normal for their age group, 55 percent fewer cancerous tumors and 87 percent fewer nervous disorders. To relax, try tai chi, meditation or yoga.
A study recently reported in Demography found that whites who attended religious services more than once a week lived an average of 7 years longer than whites who didn’t attend services at all; among blacks, the figure was 14 years. The churchgoers’ lower rates of smoking and drinking certainly account for some of this gain, but their strong social ties and other behavioral factors may also play a role, says Robert A. Hummer, Ph.D., a sociologist at the University of Texas.