This is why we asked nutritionist and health expert, Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, to share life-enhancing habits that we can do every day, that are easier to do and more fun is overwhelming or inconvenient. Each of these habits will help you feel fulfilled, nourished, and energized throughout the day — and for years to come.
“The cool thing about these tactics is that they can all work,” says Cassetty. “And the research behind them highlights the significant benefits you reap from eating whole foods and making simple lifestyle changes. At the end of the day, you don’t have to do anything complicated or time-consuming to live a long and healthy life.”
5 simple life-enhancing habits you can do every day
1. Eat a serving of walnuts
While all nuts have nutritional benefits, Cassetty relies on walnuts for her daily snack due to their high content of plant-based omega-3s that no other nut can match on its own. moat. A Harvard University study found that people who ate a serving of walnuts five times a week benefited from a 14% reduced risk of death, a 25% reduced risk of dying from heart disease, and an additional 1.3 years of age. longevity. life expectancy compared to those who do not practice this ritual. In addition to their omega-3 content, Cassetty says that walnuts are great for longevity due to their high antioxidant content that helps protect against inflammation and oxidative stress.
Some of Cassetty’s favorite ways to get a serving — an ounce or 1/4 cup — are to add them to a bowl of oatmeal or a parfait, use them as a salad topping, turn them into a delicious treat. Crispy crust for fish and poultry, or make healthy snack mixes with dark chocolate, popcorn, and freeze-dried fruit. Just store them in the freezer if you like to shop in bulk to keep them fresh.
2. Drink 2-3 cups of coffee
Yes, you read it right. Go ahead and enjoy that cozy morning cup of joe for more than just the pleasure it brings. A recent study in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology showed that drinking two or three cups of coffee a day could increase a person’s lifespan whether the participants drank caffeine or decaf. Interestingly, the most significant increase in life expectancy was found in people who drank ground coffee (instead of drinking it right away) – they had a 27% reduced risk of death.
“Coffee beans have dozens of bioactive compounds that provide benefits like reduced inflammation, improved gut health, improved insulin sensitivity, and protection against oxidative stress,” says Cassetty. “And when you think about it, there are some things we eat or drink as habitually as when we drink coffee.”
However, the concept does not give us a license to start our daily frappuccino ritual or to refill our daily mugs with bottles of flavored syrups. Cassetty says there’s a lot of evidence that controlling your added sugars benefits longevity (she’s the author of Sugar shock, after all). She recommends following the American Heart Association guidelines for no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and nine teaspoons of added sugars for men. If you love a super-sweet coffee drink, it might be a good idea to slowly try reducing the sugar bit by bit to create a more balanced morning drink that’s still satisfying. You can also try swapping brands of the beans you buy, as you may find that you don’t need any more sugar once you’ve stocked up on higher quality coffee.
3. Eat five prunes
The reputation of fiber has come a long way in the past decade, and prunes are no longer just the side fruit that grandparents ate regularly. Cassetty notes a study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that prunes do more than keep our digestive tracts moving — daily consumption can also improve mineral density in your bones and reduce the risk of fractures, so take start snacking.
“Prunes contain a unique package of nutrients including fiber, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, boron, copper and polyphenols,” says Cassetty. She also notes that the risk of dying from any cause is increased after a hip fracture, which is why she says prunes are high on the daily food list. hers.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy prunes without eating them right away (though we think they’re pretty tasty). You can blend them into your morning smoothie, stuff them with almond butter, chop them up to add to salads and cereals, and even puree them to use in your favorite recipes. friend.
4. Walk at least 2,000 steps — and get up to speed
While we’ve all heard that walking 10,000 steps a day is the “gold standard” for activity, Cassetty says there’s plenty of research showing health benefits starting at just 2,000. According to studies found in JAMA Internal Medicine and JAMA Neurology, for every 2,000 “purposeful steps” taken each day, a person’s risk of premature death can be reduced by 11%, in addition, the risk of The risk of cancer, dementia, and heart disease is similarly reduced. . Of course, you’ll reap even more benefits if you increase your step goal, and Cassetty says if you can handle it fast, do it, even for 30 minutes.
The good news is that you can still enjoy the benefits if you break down your step goal into several stages each day. And if you can’t afford to take the 2,000+ steps just yet, you can rest assured that you’re still boosting your health as you gradually increase your goal.
5. Eat a cup of green vegetables
Just adding a small salad to your daily meal has been shown to protect our mental abilities in the long run. A study funded by the National Institute on Aging found that compared with adults who ate almost no greens, participants who ate just more than one cup of greens per day had the intellectual abilities of young adults. over 11 years old. While that may not seem important to those of us in our 20s and 30s, increasing our green vegetable intake can do wonders in aging in a healthy and graceful way over time. time.
“Green vegetables are packed with nutrients: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other bioactive compounds that science has shown can help give you a mental boost,” says Cassetty.
In addition to serving a side salad at your lunch or dinner, Cassetty recommends mixing up your servings by adding some chopped greens to your morning smoothies, salads, and pasta sauces. , soup, sandwich or pasta salad. Serve the salad with toasted walnuts to get rid of two of these longevity boosters at once.
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