We are all for living a healthy and long life but we often forget the basics of achieving that goal. Here are 7 reminders for longevity.
Life expectancy is the key metric for assessing population health. According to the latest data published by the United Nations Population Division, the life expectancy of mankind at birth is 73.2 – 75.6 years for females and 70.8 years for males. In Asia, the average life expectancy is estimated to be 73 years. Japan is ranked as the longest living population in the world – with an average life expectancy of 85.03 years, compared to the lowest at 54.36 years for the Central African Republic.
There are so many factors that contribute to one’s lifespan: lifestyle, socio-economic status, culture, genetics etc. This article outlines 7 reminders we tend to overlook in our day-to-day activities that will contribute to our health and wellness.
1. Avoid overeating
Obesity is one of the most significant causes of cardiovascular diseases and the number one killer in the world. It has been on the rise in Asia, as the middle class grows in developing countries.
Restricting calorie intake helps to reduce excess body weight, belly fat and thus cardiovascular risk. The recommended daily intake is 2000 calories for women and 2500 for men. Most packaged foods are labelled with calorie content, so it would be prudent to read labels in planning for meals.
2. Follow a healthy diet
In Asia, the Japanese diet is particularly lean and balanced, with foods like omega-rich seafood, rice, whole grains, seaweed, and vegetables. Similarly, a Greek diet is also high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish. All these foods are low in saturated fats and sugars and rich in vitamins and minerals, reducing the risk of cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
3. Be active
Staying physically active can keep you healthy and add extra years to your life. Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week could drastically improve your cardiovascular health.
4. Quit smoking
More than half of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers live in Asia. 42% of China’s male population smoke. Smoking is strongly linked to lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Research has shown that individuals who quit smoking by age 35 may prolong their lives by up to 8.5 years.
5. Drink moderately and responsibly
Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to heart disease, stroke, liver, kidney, and pancreatic disease. It is best to limit alcohol consumption to:
- 2 drinks a day, 10 a week for women
- 3 drinks a day, 15 a week for men
“A drink” refers to
- 341 mL / 12 oz (1 bottle) of regular strength beer (5% alcohol)
- 142 mL / 5 oz wine (12% alcohol)
- 43 mL / 1 1/2 oz spirits (40% alcohol)
6. Avoid chronic stress and anxiety
Mental health is an essential determinant of lifespan. Research has shown that people suffering from stress or anxiety are up to two times more likely to die from heart disease, stroke, or cancer. Amid urbanization and immense competition in many Asian job markets, more young people are working overtime and living under constant pressure.
People with chronic mental conditions such as anxiety or depression could have a significantly shorter life expectancy. Though most of us have or will eventually live a period of our lives with high-stress levels, stress management techniques could help you maintain an optimistic outlook and live a happy, healthy life.
7. Sleep well
Studies have shown that sleeping 5 or fewer hours per night may increase mortality risk by as much as 15 per cent. For adults over 18 years old, it is recommended to sleep at least 7 hours per night. Meanwhile, a regular sleep pattern could help maintain a favourable lipid profile, thus reducing the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Aiming for longevity may sometimes seem far-fetched, especially at an age where everything is fast-paced, but developing these habits and maintaining discipline could contribute to a long and healthy life.