How To Live Longer: 10 Tips for Healthy Aging
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
The most common culprits behind shorter lifespans are, for the most part, avoidable.
The best paths to healthy aging involve healthy lifestyle choices, including minimizing or eliminating smoking and alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a nourishing diet.
Supporting cellular health is another great way to support healthy aging, and can be attainable with just one capsule of fatty15 per day.*
Not many of us like to think about the health problems we might experience as we age. While considering our lifespan can be sobering, considering an early end from omitting healthy lifestyle choices isn’t so pleasant either.
Thankfully, we live in an age when public health is more accessible than ever. That said, even with access to advanced health systems, our overall health is declining.
Let’s talk about promoting health for a longer life. We’ll talk about how to add years of life by making small lifestyle changes and developing healthy habits that place you at lower risk for age-related obstacles.
All About Living Younger
When you think about your age, you may wonder where you are on your particular lifeline. In other words, how many years do you have left to live? In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases a comprehensive list each year that talks about life expectancy.
Average Life Expectancy
In the United States, life expectancy is about 75 for men and 80 for women. As you age, your life expectancy decreases (naturally), and any illness or health issue you have plays a role in how your life expectancy changes as you get older.
Life expectancy also considers factors such as race and location. For instance, if you live in a “blue zone,” your life expectancy will be higher than living outside those areas.
Blue zones are so-called because the average life expectancy of the individuals who live there is markedly higher than in other places. You can find blue zones all over the globe, including a few locations within the United States.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Death?
Heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States for decades, claiming nearly 700,000 lives per year. Cancer is a close second, with over 600,000 victims per year.
The good news is that the risk factors for heart disease are well-known, and many of them are entirely avoidable with a healthy lifestyle.
Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Excess weight, especially around the midsection
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), healthy aging means creating an environment and opportunities that enable people to be and do what they value throughout their lives.
This means making sure people can:
- Meet their basic needs themselves
- Assess situations and make informed decisions about their health
- Maintain a healthy level of mobility
- Engage and retain meaningful relationships with others
- Remain a contributing member of society
Roadblocks to healthy aging aren’t necessarily just disease-related. Many of us have more health issues as we age. Making our health a priority can help prevent us from developing age-related illnesses associated with years of poor nutrition, inadequate physical activity, and a lack of healthy habits.
Here are a few steps to start taking care of your health and promoting a longer, healthier life.
Ten Tips for Healthy Aging
This list isn’t comprehensive, but following these tips can help you feel better and protect your body as you age. It starts by making smart choices, adjusting your activity levels, and considering your mental health.
1. Don’t Smoke
There are no health benefits to smoking. Smoking negatively impacts virtually every system and organ in your body and increases your risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Additionally, smoking ages your body. From your skin to your heart, smoking causes you to age faster than you would if you never smoked.
If you currently smoke, it is worth considering quitting. There are numerous resources available to help you quit. The sooner you quit smoking, the sooner your body begins to heal. Your blood pressure begins to lower as soon as one day after you quit smoking. Quitting smoking now can dramatically reduce your risk of death from a smoking-related illness.
2. Eat the Right Amount of Calories
Calories are energy your body burns for fuel. If you eat too few calories, your body will be in a caloric deficit, which can be beneficial if you are attempting to lose weight. Eating more calories than you need, however, creates a surplus that can lead to weight gain.
Studies show that lower-calorie diets are associated with longevity and a decreased risk of age-related diseases. Japanese diets, which are lower in calories than the standard American diet, have been studied extensively and correlate to lower body weight.
Okinawa is one of the world’s blue zones. On average, Okinawans are four times as likely to live to be at least 100 years old compared to people anywhere else in the world.
Eating the right amount of calories is specific to each person. Your daily intake is based on your age, body mass index, and activity level. It’s worth noting that eating too few calories has negative health impacts over time. Eating just enough is the sweet spot for reaping healthy aging benefits.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is a pandemic-level problem that can lead to chronic diseases and a shorter lifespan. Whether or not you are considered obese is measured by your body mass index, or BMI. People with a BMI over 25 are considered overweight, while people with a BMI over 30 are considered obese.
Obesity often leads to excess weight around the midsection, sometimes called belly fat. This adipose (fatty) tissue can have negative health impacts like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
4. Get Physical
It’s no surprise that we need to move to stay healthy. Physical exercise helps lower blood pressure, increase endorphins, build muscle, and strengthen bones. It’s also an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight.
You need both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training to get the maximum benefit from movement. About 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise is considered heart-healthy. Consider breaking it up into 30-minute increments, five times per week.
Lifting weights is also beneficial to your heart health, and it doesn’t take much to get the benefit. Research shows that weightlifting has positive health impacts that last for years, even if you stop your resistance training.
Regular exercise is also beneficial for your mental health, which is essential to living longer.
5. Take Care of Your Mental Health
Your mental health matters. Chronic stress and anxiety are directly linked to increased heart disease and stroke. Taking care of your mental health may be as simple as taking a yoga class, learning to meditate, or having a friend to talk to when times are tough.
If you suffer from feelings of sadness, extreme stress, or loneliness, it’s worth talking to someone who can help. Practicing good mental health is part of ensuring your total well-being.
6. Remain Socially Active
As we age, it can become increasingly difficult to maintain our social network, but not engaging socially places us at a greater risk of dying earlier. People who maintain friendships and engage in social activity average a longer lifespan than those who don’t.
Consider getting involved in a book club, volunteer organization, or other social clubs that allow you to be around other like-minded people.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is so crucial to the wellness of our bodies. Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on our overall health. Sleep regulates your cellular function, helps your body heal, and restores your energy reserves.
When we don’t get enough sleep, our health can decline, and our mental health suffers. Our immune system becomes weaker, and we are more susceptible to colds and minor illnesses when we don’t get enough rest.
What’s more, other negative health markers can impact our sleep cycles. Being overweight, not getting enough physical activity, drinking alcohol in excess, and having too much caffeine can also rob us of our sleep.
The rest you need will depend on your age and activity level. You may require more or less, but between seven to nine hours is the general recommended range for sleep by most experts.
8. Eat a Healthy Diet
Your food intake matters, and one of the most significant lifestyle changes you can make is switching to a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. The Mediterranean diet is often used as a guide to eating in this healthy manner.
Although it is rare to suffer from nutritional deficiencies in America, it’s pretty common to have a diet with excessive ingredients we don’t need. High sodium, trans fat, and sugar intake can wreak havoc on our health.
9. Don’t Drink Too Much
Alcohol consumption doesn’t provide any health benefits. Excessive drinking is directly linked to pancreatic cancer, liver disease, and heart disease.
Although some people try to grasp at benefits of drinking in moderation, the research is usually limited to red wine, and one drink per day for women and two for men — not to mention, the benefits come from the grapes used to make the red wine versus the alcohol itself, meaning the same benefits can come from drinking a glass of grape juice per day instead.
Drinking in excess raises blood pressure, packs on extra calories, and can negatively impact your mental and physical health. Limiting your alcoholic beverage intake to the recommended daily allowances is the best way to ensure you aren’t overdoing it.
10. Remember Your Cells
Our cells are the foundation of our entire bodies. Cells make up the tissues of our organs. Those organs work together to become body systems that keep us thriving and aging healthfully — as long as our cells are healthy.
When our cellular health declines, our overall health begins to decline. To lead a healthy life, you must have healthy cells.
While modern healthcare may not focus as much on cellular health as we’d like, we can do our part to ensure our cells are aging as healthfully as possible, recognizing that healthy cells are the key to a longer life.
How To Keep Cells Healthy
The thing about cells is that they age, too. As they age, they change.
The mitochondria in our cells are where cellular energy is created. The energy is then transferred to other organelles within the cell so it can carry out cellular processes. As our cells age, mitochondrial function slows, making cellular processes slower.
The result of less efficient mitochondria is a domino effect that results in less efficient function within the body’s systems.
Shifts in Cellular Signaling
Cells need to communicate with one another to regulate functions like sleep, mood, and even appetite. Cellular signaling depends on healthy cells that can talk to one another. As cells age, their ability to communicate with each other begins to decline, leaving the processes they govern out of balance.
Weaker Cell Membranes
Cell membranes protect our cells from external stressors. Aging cells can develop thin, weak cell membranes. The end result can be damage to the cell, or even cellular apoptosis (cellular death).
Cellular aging is natural, but research shows that a simple fatty acid can keep your cells healthy and help them age in reverse.
C15:0 and Your Cells
Pentadecanoic acid, known as C15:0 for short, is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid that is the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered since the omegas, over 90 years ago.
How C15:0 Was Discovered
While helping dolphins live healthier lives,Dr. Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist, discovered that some geriatric dolphins had fewer age-related illnesses than others.
Dr. Venn-Watson found that higher circulating levels of C15:0 were responsible for many of the health benefits in the healthiest dolphins. She went further, looking into the health benefits of this molecule in human populations. Three years later, she published her findings in Nature's Scientific Reports in 2020.
Where C15:0 Is Found
C15:0 is found in trace levels in whole-fat dairy products and some types of fish and plants. Due to dietary guidelines issued by the government in the 1970s (that are actually still in effect today) that told us to avoid all fats, especially saturated fats, you may be deficient in C15:0.
The recent trend toward plant-based meats and milks, which contain no C15:0, has also lowered our circulating levels of this essential fatty acid. Lastly, our C15:0 levels naturally decline with age, which means we may need supplementation as we age in order to benefit from the cellularl support C15:0 has to offer.*
Why can’t you increase your C15:0 levels through your diet. You can, however increasing your intake of whole-fat dairy products can come with extra calories, sugars, and high levels of the "bad" saturated fats. These factors can decrease your cell health and negatively impact your longevity.
One solution? Supplementation with fatty15.
Helping Your Cells Do What They’re Supposed To
Fatty15 is the first and only supplement to contain a pure, vegan-friendly, sustainably produced form of C15:0. Just one capsule per day can increase your circulating level of C15:0 and support your cellular health.*
Fatty15 improves cellular function in three critical ways.*
Improved Mitochondrial Function*
Sluggish mitochondria can cause cells to produce less cellular energy, causing cellular processes to slow. Fatty15 improves mitochondrial function by up to 45%, giving your mitochondria the boost they need to power your cells.*
Improved Cellular Signaling*
By activating special receptors called PPARs that regulate sleep, mood, and appetite, fatty15 brings back homeostasis and balance.* You’ll feel better, get better rest, and overall feel more like you want to as your cells get back to doing what they do best.*
Stronger Cell Membranes*
A sturdy fatty acid, fatty15 integrates into cell membranes, fortifying them and keeping them strong and protected.*
Aging on Your Own Terms, One Capsule at a Time
Improving your cellular health is as easy as taking one small capsule per day. We all want to live long and happy lives, and improving our cellular health with an essential fatty acid is an important contributor to our overall health and wellness.
Taking care of our bodies, being mindful of our nutrition and activity level, and supporting our cellular health is key to keeping our bodies running healthfully for longer.
When you think long-term, think of fatty15 — the supplement your body needs to protect your cells and help you age on your own terms.*
Looking for more info on how to support your health? Explore the fatty15 blog here!
Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for January through June 2020
FastStats - Leading Causes of Death | CDC
Healthy aging and functional ability | WHO
4 Top Ways to Live Longer | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Caloric restriction, the traditional Okinawan diet, and healthy aging: the diet of the world's longest-lived people and its potential impact on morbidity and life span | PubMed
Anxiety predicted premature all-cause and cardiovascular death in a 10-year follow-up of middle-aged women | PubMed
Social networks, host resistance, and mortality: a nine-year follow-up study of Alameda County residents | PubMed
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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