Although most people strive to live a long and healthy life, Americans' life expectancy has declined. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that "From 2020 to 2021, life expectancy at birth in the United States fell by nearly a year. Life expectancy at birth in the United States fell to its lowest level since 1996, falling from 77.0 to 76.1 years. The 0.9-year drop in life expectancy in 2021, combined with a 1.8-year drop in 2020, was the most significant two-year drop in life expectancy since 1921-1923.
According to a new MDVIP study, more people want to live longer lives but are unsure how to do so. According to the study's findings, "An encouraging 87% said they want to take steps to live healthier for longer, and more than half (53% said they want to live to be 100 or older). However, three out of every four people polled (74%) failed a basic 20-question Longevity IQ quiz, indicating that most are not well-versed in the lifestyle factors that influence aging and longevity."
"Despite Americans' desire to age well, the MDVIP survey reveals that health management is taking a back seat to other priorities, with 54% admitting that they plan more for their financial future than for their future health. This is particularly true for men (60% vs. 47% of women) and adults aged 18-44 (64% vs. 44% of adults aged 45+)." Longevity is attainable with the right healthy habits and lifestyle choices, and following are advice on how to live past the average retirement age.
Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is required for healthy bones, muscles, and immune system. While our bodies produce it naturally when sunlight hits our skin or through fortified foods like salmon, tuna, and dairy, many people are deficient in the vital nutrient, which can potentially shorten your life. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide problem. Around 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient, and 50% are vitamin D insufficient. In the United States, approximately 35% of adults are vitamin D deficient."
"While this topic may be controversial among medical professionals, there is plenty of evidence to show how Vitamin D will increase your life expectancy, immune function, and help defend against a wide range of diseases," explains Dr. Jonathan M. Fields. Most of us are supposed to get it from sunlight and a small amount from diet, but vitamin D levels in the general population appear to be declining. Nobody knows why, but one theory is that we are not absorbing it due to environmental toxins, food, stress, and genetics.
Think positively and optimistically.
According to Dr. Jacob Hascalovici MD, PhD, the Clearing Chief Medical Officer, "Recent research has found a link between optimism and long life. Optimism can train the mind to focus attention on more cheerful, supportive thought patterns and behaviors, reducing unhelpful rumination and decreasing awareness and sensitivity to pain. Optimism can also contribute to a greater sense of autonomy and aid in stress management. The better one manages stress, the less likely it is to contribute to chronic diseases. Happiness researchers have discovered that positivity and optimism can be learned and practiced."
According to a study led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, "higher levels of optimism were associated with longer lifespan and living beyond age 90 in women across racial and ethnic groups." The study discovered, "Although optimism itself may be affected by social structural factors, such as race and ethnicity, our research suggests that the benefits of optimism may hold a key role. Much previous research has concentrated on deficiencies or risk factors that increase the risk of disease and premature death. Our findings suggest that focusing on positive psychological factors such as optimism as potential new ways of promoting longevity and healthy aging across diverse groups may be beneficial."
Limit Your Screen Time
ChoicePoint Nurse Practitioner Susan Gentile says, "You may be surprised to learn that the more time you spend on social media, the less sleep you get. You will always be exhausted and irritable if you do not follow a proper sleeping routine. Sleep is necessary for regulating cell activity and healing the body. People should sleep for 8 hours on average. However, if your sleep is reduced to 4-5 hours per night, your body will not have enough time to rejuvenate and rest. This accelerates the aging process and reduces life expectancy. It will also result in depression, anxiety, and inflammation in your body. Reduce screen time by setting timers on your phone apps and going for walks before bedtime will help you sleep better at night."
According to the New York Times, "a growing body of evidence suggests that the amount of time we spend on our smartphones is interfering with our sleep, self-esteem, relationships, memory, attention spans, creativity, productivity, and problem-solving and decision-making skills." But there's another reason we should reconsider our interactions with our devices. Our phones may be endangering our health and shortening our lives by chronically increasing levels of cortisol, the body's main stress hormone.
Until now, most discussions of phones' biochemical effects have centered on dopamine, a brain chemical that aids in the formation of habits — and addictions. Smartphones and apps, like slot machines, are explicitly designed to stimulate dopamine release, with the goal of making our devices difficult to put down. Many experts believe that we are developing behavioral addictions to our phones as a result of this manipulation of our dopamine systems. However, the effects of our phones on cortisol may be even more concerning.
According to Dr. Mahmud Kara, MD Internal Medicine, "this fungi has four key nutrients that can help protect your body from aging before its time: Vitamin D, Selenium, Ergothioneine, and Glutathione." Over time, oxidative stress and free radical damage can cause long-term health problems such as cardiovascular disease, fatigue, poor nutrient absorption, increased inflammation, and other issues.
Mushrooms contain "aromatase inhibitors," which inhibit the production of estrogen and may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Mushrooms have also been discovered to be potent anti-inflammatory foods. Chronic inflammation is the source of all evil, so reducing inflammation is critical for longevity. Chronic inflammation can cause a variety of health problems, including cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's or dementia, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, poor organ function, and more.
Personal trainer, kinesiotherapist, and bodybuilder Kent Probst of Long Healthy Life adds, "A long-term published study involving over 15,000 Americans found that people who consumed mushrooms on a daily basis had a lower risk of death from any cause. L-ergothioneine is a powerful antioxidant found in mushrooms. L-ergothioneine can both preserve and lengthen telomeres. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres, or caps on the ends of the chromosomes, shorten. Telomere shortening is linked to age-related diseases. Telomere shortening is thought to be caused by oxidative stress. Shiitake, maitake, chaga, and reishi are the mushrooms with the most health benefits."
Have a minimum of 7-9 Hours of Quality and Uninterrupted Sleep
Many of us were guilty of sacrificing sleep in favor of other activities, but this harms our health and puts us at risk for serious problems later in life. A good night's sleep not only makes us feel better, but it is also something our bodies require. Good sleep, like good food, is essential for brain health. According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine, "A good night's sleep is essential for "brain plasticity," or the brain's ability to adapt to new information. We become unable to process what we have learned during the day and have more difficulty remembering it in the future if we sleep insufficiently."
Furthermore, "When people do not get enough sleep, their health risks increase. Depression, seizures, hypertension, and migraines worsen. Immunity is weakened, making illness and infection more likely. Sleep also affects metabolism: even one night of missed sleep can cause a prediabetic state in a normally healthy person."
"Sleep deprivation is linked with many chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression, reducing your lifespan and "healthspan," says Dr. Andrea Klemes, Board certified in internal medicine and endocrinology and the chief medical officer at MDVIP (which is the number of years you live well and free of chronic disease). For years, REM has been linked to brain health.
A study published in Neurology found that getting less than the recommended amount of REM sleep increases your risk of dementia. However, it is also essential for overall health. Another study published in JAMA Neurology found that for every 5% decrease in REM sleep, mortality rates among older and middle-aged adults rise by 13 to 17%. In summary, you should sleep for 7-8 hours per day."
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