1. Quit smoking
If you quit smoking by age 30, your survival rate can rival that of lifelong nonsmokers, according to a report in the British Medical Journal. Quit by 50 and you have half the risk continuing smokers have of dying in the next 15 years.
Even if you’ve already developed a smoking-related health condition, you’ll benefit. “People who quit smoking after having a heart attack reduce their chances of having another by about 30 percent,” says Dr. Neville Rifkin, a cardiologist at the London Health Sciences Centre.
2. Be a nutritional all-star
If you’re looking to turn back the clock on your body, Judy Johnson, associate professor of nutrition at the University of Southern California, advises eating a broadly based diet that packs a nutritional punch:
- Dark-green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, rapini and Swiss chard (calcium, iron, folate and beta-carotene).
- Sweet potatoes (folate, beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and fibre).
- Blueberries and other dark berries (vitamin C, iron and fibre).
- Yogurt (calcium, protein and phosphorus).
- Beans (iron and a high-fibre form of protein).
- Whole grains (higher in fibre than white bread, with more B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium and zinc).
- Nuts (according to a recent study from Penn State University in University Park, Penn., eating them more than five times a week could cut death rates from heart disease by 25 to 39 percent).
- Salmon, tuna and other cold-water fish (omega-3 fatty acids).
3. Fend off free radicals
It is thought that damage caused by free radicals contributes to ageing and age-associated disease. Antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E protect the body from free radical damage. In fact, an Italian study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine in 2000 found that healthy centenarians show a particular profile in which high levels of vitamin A and vitamin E were key to their longevity.
4. Move it
There are many benefits associated with regular exercise to get you on your way to 100. These include improved heart and lung health, reduced risk of chronic disease and stress management. According to Dr Ni Maoshing, author of Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of ways to be 100, most centenarians walk for at least 30 minutes a day and research suggests that walking can considerably reduce risks of stroke and heart disease.
5. Stress less
While stress is an unavoidable part of life, if you can manage your stress levels effectively you can increase your energy levels, get more out of life and decrease your risk of chronic illness.