One of the primary differences, however—besides the fact that we’re, you know, people—is that instead of protective, sleek cases and a Genius Bar to extend our lives and keep us looking great, we have to rely on healthy diet and lifestyle habits.
The only trouble is, it’s not always easy to focus on both aspects of well-being. What claims to keep us trim is apt to kill us (we’re looking at you, diet pills) and what may help us live longer can actually make us gain weight. Not to mention, much of the health advice that’s out there these days hones in on either losing weight or how to live to see 100; there’s not much out there explaining how to look great for life—which is what everyone really wants to know. Lucky for you, we reveal just that below!
To live a longer, healthier life in a body that you won’t ever want to upgrade, incorporate these five easy-to-follow, science-backed diet and lifestyle tips into your daily routine.
Don’t Dine In Yoga Pants
It’s Sunday and you just got back home after running some errands. Next up on the agenda? Brunch! But before you whip out the spatula and skillet to make your favorite Breakfast Burrito, take off those cozy yoga pants and put on some jeans. Sure, that might seem silly, but their expandable waistband ups the odds you’ll overeat, says Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life. “For psychological reasons, when we are dressed in comfortable clothing, we tend to ‘let loose’ with our eating,” she explains.
To ward off weight gain and associated life-treating health risks like heart attack and diabetes, Bjork suggests cutting yourself off when you’re about 80 percent full. “This allows your brain to catch up with your stomach and realize that you’ve eaten your fill.” What’s more, cutting yourself off before you’re stuffed prevents blood sugar crashes that can lead to overeating later in the day. According to researchers, this is a habit of many centenarians around the globe—and it’s one of the reasons they are maintaining a healthy weight and living so long. In fact, being overweight or obese can decrease life expectancy by up to eight years, according to a 2014 study of almost 4,000 individuals. The researchers even go so far as to say that in terms of life expectancy, being overweight is as bad as cigarette smoking. Yikes!
Eat Dinner Like a Pauper
Explorer and author, Dan Buettner, recently interviewed hundreds of people aged 100 and up from around the world, asked them about their lifestyles, then crunched a ton of data to figure out what they all had in common. Interestingly enough, the majority of the people he met with said that they typically eat their smallest meal of the day in the late afternoon or evening—not the a.m like the majority of Americans. Tel Aviv University researchers concur. When they put two groups of overweight women on a 1,400-calorie diet, those who ate small 200-calorie dinners and large 700-calorie breakfasts lost 50 percent more weight than the group who ate their largest meal in the evening instead. The group who ate the big breakfast also lost twice as many inches around their waists than the large dinner eaters.
Not only is a trim middle attractive, it’s also an indicator of potential life expectancy. A 2014 analysis of 650,000 adults revealed that men with a 43-inch waist circumference are 52 percent more likely to die than men with a 37-inch waist. The same holds true for women. Ladies with a 37-inch waist, have a whopping 80 percent higher risk of death than women with a 27.5-inch waist—likely because belly fat is associated with conditions like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. To trim your middle incorporate a few of these 10 Daily Habits that Blast Belly Fat into your routine and avoid these 6 Foods That Turn Into Belly Fat. It’s as simple as that!
Make Time for Tea
Okinawa, an island off mainland Japan, is home to more centenarians than anywhere else in the world. In fact, about 7 out of every 10,000 citizens live to blow out 100 birthday candles! For some perspective, that stat is about 2 in 10,000 in America. According to Buettner’s research, Okinawans drink green tea every day—and it’s likely one of the reasons they live so long. Researchers from the Norwich BioScience Institutes recently discovered that the polyphenols, a type of micronutrient in green tea, blocks something called VEGF, a signaling molecule in the body that triggers plaque buildup in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks, stroke and vascular disease.
But that’s not all those mighty leaves can do. They also contain EGCG and catechins, antioxidants that trigger the release of fat from fat cells and boosts levels of hunger-quelling hormones. In one Swedish study, mealtime tea sippers reported less of a desire to eat their favorite foods—even two hours after drinking the brew! The less you want to eat, the less you’re apt to weigh. For similar results at home, enjoy a cup green tea (without added sugar) with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Go Nuts for Fish
Want to jump-start your weight loss and also live to see humans colonize Mars? No problem. Just add more nuts and fatty fish (like tuna, wild salmon, mackerel and sardines) to your diet. These foods contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that have been proven to lower overall mortality risk by up to 27 percent and decrease the odds of dying from heart disease by about 35 percent. Just when you those mighty omega-3s couldn’t get any better, the good news keeps on coming: Research also suggests that the nutrient can boost weight loss by warding off blood sugar spikes and speeding recovery after workouts. Bigger, less-inflamed muscles mean you’ll have a faster metabolism, which can help you get lean and trim at lighting speed.
Open a Bottle of Red or White
If you enjoy a glass or two of wine every evening, there’s no need to give up the habit. In one review of 24 studies, researchers noted that women who drink a glass of wine every day have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who booze less frequently. What’s more surprising is that those who regularly consume moderate amounts of alcohol are also less likely to gain weight than nondrinkers and are at lower risk for obesity throughout their lifetime. The only group who may not benefit from booze? Those that are already overweight. Research believes that once a person is heavy, they’re more apt to gain additional pounds due to alcohol than their leaner counterparts.
If wine is your drink of choice, be sure to check out our top 16 Wines for Weight Loss for our top slimming, healthy picks.