Saturday February 29, 2020

Adopt These Lifestyle Habits for a Healthy Life

Five healthy lifestyle habits will help you live longer

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Lifestyle habits
Researchers have found that maintaining five healthy habits may increase years lived free of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Lifetime Stock

In a good news to middle-aged people, researchers have found that maintaining five healthy habits may increase years lived free of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

According to the study, published in the journal The BMJ, a healthy diet, regular exercise, healthy body weight, moderate drinking, and no tobacco in the middle-age may help people live longer.

“Previous studies found that following a healthy lifestyle improves life expectancy and reduces risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular ailments and cancer. But few studies looked at the effects of lifestyle factors on life expectancy free from such diseases,” said study author Yanping Li from Harvard University in the US.

“The study provides strong evidence that following a healthy lifestyle can substantially extend the years a person lives disease-free,” Li said.

Healthy habits
Following healthy lifestyle habits can substantially extend the years a person lives disease-free. Lifetime Stock

The researchers looked at 34 years of data from 73,196 women and 28 years of data from 38,366 men participating in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, respectively.

Healthy diet was defined as food with high score on the Alternate Healthy Eating Index, at least 30-minute a day moderate to vigorous exercise, healthy weight (body mass index of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2), and moderate alcohol intake – up to one serving a day for women and two for men.

Women who practiced four-five healthy habits at age 50 lived an average of 34.4 more years free of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, compared with 23.7 healthy years among women who practiced none.

Men practicing four-five healthy habits at age 50 lived 31.1 years free of chronic disease, compared with 23.5 years among men who practiced none.

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According to the study, men who were heavy smokers, and men and women with obesity had the lowest disease-free life expectancy.

“Given the high cost of chronic disease treatment, public policies to promote a healthy lifestyle by improving food and physical environments would help reduce healthcare costs and improve quality of life,” said study senior author Frank Hu. (IANS)

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Diet Plays a Significant Role in Affecting Your Mental Health, Says Study

Proving the effect of diet on mental health in the general population was more difficult

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There is an increasing evidence of link between a poor diet and the worsening of mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. Pixabay

Diet significantly influences mental health and wellbeing, but this link is firmly established only in some areas such as the ability of a high fat and low carbohydrate diet (a ketogenic diet) to help children with epilepsy, and the effect of vitamin B12 deficiency on fatigue, poor memory, and depression, says a study.

The research, published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, cautions that the evidence of a ink between diet and mental health for many diets is comparatively weak. “We have found that there is increasing evidence of a link between a poor diet and the worsening of mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. However, many common beliefs about the health effects of certain foods are not supported by solid evidence,” said lead author Suzanne Dickson, Professor at University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

The researchers who conducted a comprehensive review of studies linking diet with mental health also found that there is good evidence that a Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables and olive oil, shows mental health benefits, such as giving some protection against depression and anxiety.

However, for many foods or supplements, the evidence is inconclusive, as for example with the use of vitamin D supplements, or with foods believed to be associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism. “With individual conditions, we often found very mixed evidence,” said Dickson.

“With ADHD for example, we can see an increase in the quantity of refined sugar in the diet seems to increase ADHD and hyperactivity, whereas eating more fresh fruit and vegetables seems to protect against these conditions.

“But there are comparatively few studies, and many of them don’t last long enough to show long-term effects,” she added. The scientists confirmed that some foods had readily provable links to mental health, for example, that nutrition in the womb and in early life can have significant effects on brain function in later life.

Proving the effect of diet on mental health in the general population was more difficult. “In healthy adults dietary effects on mental health are fairly small, and that makes detecting these effects difficult: it may be that dietary supplementation only works if there are deficiencies due to a poor diet,” Dickson said.

Food
Diet significantly influences mental health and wellbeing, but this link is firmly established only in some areas such as the ability of a high fat and low carbohydrate diet (a ketogenic diet) to help children with epilepsy, and the effect of vitamin B12 deficiency on fatigue, poor memory, and depression, says a study. Pixabay

“We also need to consider genetics: subtle differences in metabolism may mean that some people respond better to changes in diet than others,” she added. There are also practical difficulties which need to be overcome in testing diets. A food is not a drug, so it needs to be tested differently to a drug.

We can give someone a dummy pill to see if there is an improvement due to the placebo effect, but you can’t easily give people dummy food.

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“There is a general belief that dietary advice for mental health is based on solid scientific evidence. In reality, it is very difficult to prove that specific diets or specific dietary components contribute to mental health,” Dickson said. (IANS)