Skip to content

Stop Doing This Every Day and Live a "Much Longer" Life

Five things you can do to live longer, experts say.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

There's really no secret to living longer. We all know that healthy habits can add years to your life while bad lifestyle choices can greatly reduce your lifespan. That said, sometimes we all need a reminder to kick the bad habits, so here's five things to stop doing now that could help you reach your longevity goals. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Quit Smoking

Hand stubbed out cigarette in a transparent ashtray on wooden table

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state, "Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body. More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis."


Not Maintaining a Healthy Weight

shred belly fat

John Hopkins Medicine says, "The healthiest people in the study maintained a body mass index (BMI)—a ratio of height to weight that measures body mass—of less than 25. To find out your BMI, try using a free BMI calculator."

The CDC suggests the following for exercise, which helps maintain a healthy weight.

"Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans…We know 150 minutes of physical activity each week sounds like a lot, but you don't have to do it all at once. It could be 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. You can spread your activity out during the week and break it up into smaller chunks of time." 


Stop Snacking on the Wrong Foods

woman eating bite of chocolate bar

Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert and co-author of Sugar Shock tells us, "One of the best habits to help you live longer is to add an ounce of walnuts to your daily diet. Harvard research found that compared to those who didn't eat walnuts, those eating a serving of walnuts five times a week had a 14% lower risk of dying from any cause, a 25% lower risk of dying from heart disease, and a gain in 1.3 years of life expectancy. Consuming walnuts less often–two to four times per week–could also promote a longer, healthier life. The study found a 13% lower risk of death overall, 14% lower risk of dying from heart diseases, and a gain in about one year of life from eating that amount. Walnuts are the only nut that's an excellent source of the essential plant-based omega-3 ALA, and they're also rich in antioxidants. These nutrients help guard against oxidative stress and inflammation that play a role in the initiation and development of numerous diseases, so walnuts pack a lot of health protection in one serving."


Not Including Coffee in Your Daily Routine


Cassetty says, "Your morning coffee routine may be a top longevity strategy. At this point, there are numerous studies pointing to the fact that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of a range of chronic diseases, from heart disease to Parkinson's disease to type 2 diabetes to certain forms of cancer. One very large study found that compared to non-coffee drinkers, those drinking from one to eight cups of coffee per day had a lower chance of dying from any cause. The latest study found that those drinking 1 ½ to 3 ½ cups of coffee daily had a lower risk of dying over the seven-year study period than coffee skippers. This held up even if they were adding a teaspoon of sugar to their coffee, but it didn't hold up if coffee drinkers added artificial sweetener to their coffee.

I often hear people saying they're trying to drink less coffee or give it up entirely, but the studies should provide reassurance that it's not harmful (unless it makes you jittery or causes GI distress) and may even be healthy. Coffee is a plant food with antioxidants and bioactive substances that seem to benefit your health."


Not Eating the Right Foods to Help You Live Longer


We all know that eating too much fat, processed foods, sugar and salt is unhealthy, but here's something you can add. Cassetty explains a way to live longer is to, "Incorporate more fermented foods, such as yogurt and cottage cheese with live and active cultures, into your diet. One study found that people who ate six servings of fermented foods per day had an increase in microbiome diversity and a decrease in inflammatory markers, which are both markers of better health. Your microbiome plays a part in regulating your immune function, sleep, weight, mood, cholesterol levels, and inflammation, so a healthy gut environment is really crucial for preventing diseases, potentially helping you live longer."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
Filed Under