From hormones to heart health, we’ve rounded up the best expert advice you and your family need to stay in top health this month
Still on the hunt for that elusive cure-all miracle that will help you live forever (and look glowing and youthful while you do so)? We hate to break it to you, but there isn’t one single thing you can do that will guarantee a long and healthy life. Saying that, though, there are plenty of simple tricks and tips that can help boost the strength of both your body and mind and give you the best possible chance of living till your 100. Claire Munnings asks five experts for their advice…
1. Look on the bright side
Did you know that being optimistic can actually help you live longer? “Research by the Boston University School of Medicine found that positive people are more likely to live to 85 or older,” says Rosie. “This is possibly because optimists are better at bouncing back from stress.”
2. Stand up
“Evidence suggests that our sedentary lifestyles are increasing our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and musculoskeletal problems,” says Dr Sally. “It has even been shown that compared to more active people, the risk of early death is 40 percent greater for people who sit for more than 11 hours per day.”
3. Add some heat to your dinner
Don’t be shy when adding spice to your foods. “Red chillies provide you with nutrients like vitamins B, C and A, and they also include an active ingredient called capsaicin, which protects against heart disease and obesity,” says David.
4. Look after your gut
“Have a spoonful of kimchi and sauerkraut once a day,” advises Jane. “Fermented foods increase the diversity and balance of bacteria in our gut, helping us digest our food, protect against disease-causing bacteria, produce vitamins and regulate our immune system.”
5. Write down your thoughts
Journaling on a daily basis has a huge number of benefits. “It can help you know yourself better, improve your relationships, strengthen your mental and physical wellbeing, act as a therapeutic tool and increase feelings of joy,” says Rosie.
14. Stop phubbing (aka phone snubbing)
Guilty of ignoring people in favour of looking at your phone? “It may appear to be just a simple annoyance but phubbing is a type of ostracism, which damages health,” says Marta. “Social exclusion can cause real pain: in experiments, it’s been shown to activate neural networks that normally respond to physical pain.”
15. Meditate regularly
As Rosie explains, taking time to meditate daily can reduce feelings of stress and enable us to make healthier choices. “A regular meditation practice, where you clear your mind of all your worries, will affect everything else you do that day,” she says.
16. Keep it natural
It sounds obvious, but the more we can keep our diet unprocessed and free from additives, the lower our risk of disease. “Try to cook from scratch where you can and give your body the building blocks it needs to stay strong and healthy,” says Jane.
17. Drink green tea
Swap your next cup of coffee for a green tea. “Green tea contains a wealth of vitamins, minerals and polyphenols and has been linked to positive heart and brain health,” says Dr Sally.
18. Get organised
“If I were to pick just one trait that could increase your longevity, it would be conscientiousness,” says Marta. “Studies have found organised people eat healthily, exercise regularly and choose stable relationships. Scientists believe direct biological mechanisms are at play, too, such as functioning of the immune and nervous systems.”
19. Go virgin
We all like a nice G&T when we’ve had a stressful day at work, but as Jane explains, alcohol can increase anxiety, disrupt sleep and lead to weight gain – all of which can impact our health. “Mocktails made with alcohol-free spirits can get you out of that glass-a-night habit but still offer a treat,” she says.
20. Say no to sugar
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again – consuming an excessive amount of sugar can have a dramatic effect on our wellbeing. “A large-scale USA study showed that people who consumed over 25 percent of their daily calories from added sugar had almost three times the risk of dying from heart disease than those who had less than 10 percent,” says Dr Sally.
21. Show gratitude
To help maintain a positive mindset, try regularly writing a list of all the things you are grateful for. “Having a gratitude journal by your bedside helps to empty your mind and promote great sleep – which both contribute to a healthy mind,” says Rosie. “I suggest noting the top three things that have happened to you that day.”