Eat more plant protein
A recent study from Harvard found that people who ate a diet high in processed meats like sausage and hot dogs were at a higher risk of death—but those who got their protein from plants had a lower risk, especially of heart disease-related deaths. “The study said that for every 3 percent increase in calories from plant protein there was a reduction in risk of death by 10 percent,” says Shayna Komar, RD, a dietitian at Piedmont Healthcare. Plant proteins supply all nine amino acids the body can’t make on its own, and “unlike animal proteins, plant-based proteins can help lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease, and decrease risk of cancer,” she says. Find out the top 10 sources of plant protein.
Get more sun—but not too much
Anyone wondering how to live longer needs to hear the benefits of vitamin D, “the “sunshine vitamin.” It has been shown to fight disease, improve bone health, and ward off depression. One study even found it to extend lifespan (of a worm, but still) by 33 percent. But because vitamin D comes from the sun, and our modern lives don’t let us spend much time outside, we might not be getting enough. Concerns over skin cancer are well-founded, and sunblock is generally a good idea. But, “getting 15 to 30 minutes of sun exposure a day should be adequate for vitamin D production,” says Jyotir Jani, MD, a primary care physician with Piedmont Healthcare. “Of course, that is not through sunbathing but by being outside with normal clothing.”
To the relief of caffeine lovers everywhere, here’s how to live longer without sacrificing your favorite drink. Your daily cup of joe may actually have health benefits that could extend your life. “Some research indicates moderate coffee intake may fight against type-2 diabetes, and may even reduce the risk of dementia and heart disease,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE and author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. A study from Harvard found that those who regularly drank coffee had a reduced risk of death. Komar says coffee also stimulates the nervous system, raising metabolism and increasing the oxidation of fatty acids, which can help with weight loss.