Habits that help you live longer


From taking a cold shower to drinking more
coffee, discover seven healthy habits that could
help you live a healthier life. Taking an annual
blood test could help many of us to stay fitter
for longer, say experts. Here GP Xand van
Tulleken , associate of Werlabs , the Swedish
company behind a new blood test-monitoring
service now available in the United Kingdom
(UK ), explains why and offers other simple but
effective health habits that could help anyone
live a longer , healthier life .

Take a cold shower:
According to GP Dr. Xand van Tulleken , a cold
shower puts stress on the body , working like
exercise to stimulate it . Research from the
Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney,
Australia, published in the journal Cell
Metabolism in 2014 , backs this up . Scientists
found that shivering stimulates the conversion
of energy -storing “white fat” into energy –
burning “ brown fat ”.

Don’t get into sleep debt:
Missing just 30 minutes of sleep per day on
weekdays can lead to obesity, say scientists
from the Weill Cornell Medical College in
Qatar, in Doha . Because of social and work
commitments, people often accumulate sleep
debt during weekdays and make up for lost
sleep over the weekend. But this may lead to
long-term metabolic disruption , the
researchers reported in a 2015 study, which can
promote the onset, or exacerbate the
progression, of type 2 diabetes .

Keep moving:
Opening your bowels every morning , says Dr
van Tulleken , is an effective way to improve
your health. Constipation affects one in every
seven adults at any time, British National
Health Service ( NHS) figures show, and can
lead to haemorrhoids, diverticulitis , bleeding
and discomfort. Moreover , in 2012, scientists
from the American College of Gastroenterology
reported an association between chronic
constipation and an increased risk of
developing colorectal cancer . Staying hydrated
and taking regular exercise can also help to
prevent constipation.

Take a regular blood test:
Cardiovascular disease causes more than a
quarter of all deaths in the UK . One of the
main risk factors is high levels of low-density
lipoproteins – known as “bad” cholesterol ,
which can cause fatty material to build up in
artery walls . “ Knowing your lipid levels can
really motivate you to make the changes to diet
and exercise you need to decrease the risk of
cardiovascular disease, ” says Dr . Anders
Lycksell of Werlabs . “ Regular testing can
provide a good understanding of how specific
changes to diet and exercise regimes affect
your blood markers .”

Drink more coffee:
A new Spanish study has found that higher
coffee consumption , particularly among the
over- 45s , is associated with a lower risk of
death. Dr . Adela Navarro , a cardiologist at
Hospital de Navarra , Pamplona, Spain, says:
“Drinking four cups of coffee each day can be
part of a healthy diet in healthy people .” The
research confirms a previous study from the
University of Southern California, which found
that drinking coffee was associated with a
lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer,
stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

Try fasting:
“There’ s lots of evidence fasting is good for
you,” says Dr van Tulleken . “ I miss breakfast to
help me control my calorie intake .” Cardiac
researchers at the Intermountain Medical
Center Heart Institute in Utah found that
routine periodic fasting not only lowers the
risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes,
but also causes significant changes in a
person ’s blood-cholesterol levels. Both
diabetes and elevated cholesterol are known
risk factors for coronary heart disease.

Get scrambled:
Eating eggs was thought to cause high
cholesterol. But now official advice from the
British Heart Foundation says eating up to one
egg a day does not increase heart- disease risk
in healthy individuals , and can form part of a
healthy diet. Eggs are a particularly good
source of folic acid, which can reduce risk of
stroke, scientists from Peking University First
Hospital, Beijing , China , reported in 2015 . 


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