Up to date research now acknowledge that maintaining five healthy habits at middle age, may increase years lived free from chronic disease including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
These important 5 habits includes:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Keeping a healthy body weight
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
- Not smoking
The studies provide strong evidence that “following a healthy lifestyle can substantially extend the years a person lives disease-free.”
The studies found that woman at age 50, who practiced 4 or more of these healthy habits, lived an average of 34.4 more years free of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, compared to 23.7 healthy years among woman who did not practice any of these habits.
- Eating a healthy diet:
The following has been “classified” as following a healthy diet needed to reduce one’s risk for disease:
- Having 5 or more servings of vegetables a day
- 1 serving includes ½ cup of vegetables or 1 cup of leafy greens.
- All form of potato are EXCLUDED from the healthy list
- Having 4 servings of whole fruit a day
- 1 serving includes 1 medium whole fruit or ½ cup berries
- Having 5 servings of whole grains a day
- 1 serving includes 15 – 20 grams whole grains. Examples of 1 serving would be ½ cup of unprocessed oats, brown rice, whole wheat pasta etc.
- 5 servings would roughly equal 75 grams of whole wheat
- Having 2 servings of fish a week
- 1 serving equals 120 grams of fish
- Smaller portions more often during the week also counts
- Having at least one serving of 30 grams of raw nuts or 1 Tablespoon of unsweetened nut butter a day
- Having more than 10% of daily fat intake from poly-unsaturated fats
- Having less than 1112mg of sodium a day
- Having 1 or less servings of red or processed meat a month (yup a month!)
- 1 serving is defined as 120 grams cooked unprocessed red meat or 45 grams of processed meat
- Having less than 4% of total daily fat intake in the form of trans fatty acids
- These would include all processed fats and oils, hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated fats and oils as found in margarines, vegetable shortening, confectionaries and many more
- Having NO sugar-sweetened beverages or fruit juices a day
- Regular exercise
Regular exercise is defined as doing at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
A healthy weight is defined as having a body mass index of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2.
- Alcohol intake
Moderate alcohol intake has been associated with increased general health. It is however to take note that there exist a very small margin of gaining health versus increasing disease with alcohol intake.
A moderate alcohol intake is classified as:
Having 1 or less than 1 Unit of alcohol a day for females.
Having 2 or less tan 2 Units alcohol a day for men.
1 Unit consist of
120 ml wine
340 ml bear
45 ml liquor
- No smoking of any kind for improved health benefits
Adherence to a healthy lifestyle at mid-life, as set out in detail in this article, is associated with a longer and healthier life expectancy free from major chronic disease.