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Listen Up, Ladies: This One Habit Can Help You Live Longer, New Study Says

This one simple tweak to your routine promotes longevity.

Women typically have a longer lifespan than men. But according to a recent study, there's one simple yet super effective habit you can work into your routine that will add even more years to your life. Are you ready for it? Read on to learn more about this one tweak that can help you live longer and much healthier. And next up, don't miss The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

A healthy diet of brightly colored fruits and veggies—like watermelon, oranges, and bell peppers—can help you live longer

watermelon slices on sticks

A recent study performed by the University of Georgia reveals that although females typically live a longer life than their male counterparts, they often contract illness at a greater percentage. That's not very positive news to hear, but the research indicates that women can drastically improve or prevent their risk of illness by maintaining a healthy diet of brightly colored veggies and fruits. They're referring to pigmented carotenoids, which include watermelon, oranges, tomatoes, bell peppers, yams, kale, and spinach. Sharpen your pencil and update your shopping list, because these vibrant goodies are vital in preventing the loss of cognitive and visual abilities, and in turn, help you live longer.

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Women need additional preventive care when compared to their male counterparts

woman doctor check-up preventive care

According to UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of psychology behavioral and brains sciences program and co-author of the study, Billy R. Hammond, "The idea is that men get a lot of the diseases that tend to kill you, but women get those diseases less often or later so they perseverate but with illnesses that are debilitating." He adds, "For example, of all of the existing cases of macular degeneration and dementia in the world, two-thirds are women … these diseases that women suffer for years are the very ones most amenable to prevention through lifestyle."

The researchers assessed previous research and performed a comprehensive review of degenerative disorders, including dementia and autoimmune diseases. These conditions were specifically chosen, as females are diagnosed with them more often than men. Hammond explains, "If you take all the autoimmune diseases collectively, women account for nearly 80%. So, because of this vulnerability, linked directly to biology, women need extra preventive care."

Men have less body fat than women. The extra fat stores minerals and vitamins, and it's helpful when they are pregnant. Because these essential vitamins are stored, fewer are accessible to the brain and retina. This puts women at a higher risk of developing degenerative issues.

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Working these colorful fruits and veggies into meals increases your intake of antioxidants

woman cooking with bell peppers to live a longer life

By eating lots of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, you're increasing your intake of antioxidants—specifically, zeaxanthin and lutein. These carotenoids can be found in eye and brain tissues, and both have revealed to be quite beneficial in improving central nervous system decay.

Hammond says, "Men and women eat about the same amount of these carotenoids, but the requirements for women are much higher. The recommendations should be different, but there are, generally, not any recommendations for men or women for dietary components that are not directly linked to deficiency disease (like vitamin C and scurvy)." He goes on to explain that women need to be made aware of these weaknesses so they can make any necessary changes to live a long, healthy life.

Taking supplements for a carotenoid deficit is an option, too

supplements jar fruits

You can choose to take supplements for a carotenoid deficit, although Hammond prefers the natural benefits derived from fruits and veggies as a better routine. He goes on to say, "Components of diet influence the brain, from things like personality to even our concept of self. I don't think people quite realize what a profound effect diet has on basically who they are, their mood, even their propensity to anger," adding, "And now of course this is extended to the microbiome and the bacteria that make up your gut—all of these components work together to create the building blocks that compose our brain and the neurotransmitters that mediate its use."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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