These seven habits can reduce your life expectancy, there is still time to get rid of them – Evening edition Ouest-France

These seven habits can reduce your life expectancy, there is still time to get rid of them – Evening edition Ouest-France
These seven habits can reduce your life expectancy, there is still time to get rid of them – Evening edition Ouest-France

By the evening edition.

Smoking, an unbalanced diet, a sedentary lifestyle and alcohol consumption are the lifestyle factors that have the greatest impact on health and mortality. Here are seven bad habits to ban or limit on a daily basis, to hope to live a long time and stay in shape.

In France, life expectancy is increasing. At 65, a man can expect to live another 10.2 years without being limited in the activities of daily life, and a woman 11.8 years, according to statistics from the Drees (Directorate of Studies and Statistics of Social Ministries) , published in December 2023, based on data from 2022. To maintain this longevity in good health, or even extend it – without giving up everything that makes life so special – here are seven bad habits to ban, and as many healthy behaviors to adopt. Keep this in mind: smoking, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption are the lifestyle factors that have the greatest impact on health and mortality, according to the World Health Organization. health (WHO).

Read also: These seven Japanese habits can boost your health and longevity

1. Don’t eat randomly

One of the secrets to longevity is found on our plates. A good diet is in fact decisive for staying in good health, while approximately one in five deaths in the world (i.e. 11 million per year) is linked to a poor diet, according to a large international study published in 2017 in the journal The Lancet. The cause: excess salt, sugar or meat and insufficient intake of whole grains and fruits.

Read also: How to become a centenarian? By eating beans!

Eating healthier, that is to say adopting a diet which gives pride of place to legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and which is low in meat, could thus extend lifespan of an average-aged adult of six to seven years, according to a study published in February 2022 in the scientific journal PLOS Medicine.

However, we must know how to adapt what we put on our plates throughout our lives. At 10, 20, 40 or 60 years old, our body does not have the same nutritional needs. It is therefore important to adopt good habits and change your diet as you get older.

Read also: Nutritional advice from centenarians isn’t necessarily good to follow, here’s why

2. Alcohol and tobacco to avoid

The French largely underestimate the risks linked to tobacco and alcohol consumption, even though these are the two leading causes of cancer in the world. For your health, however, it is worth it to quit smoking. When you stop smoking, after a year, the risks of illness linked to smoking begin to disappear and the risk of having a heart attack is halved. “After five years, the risk of heart attack is equal to that of a person who has never smoked,” estimates a tobacco specialist. Between ten and twenty years after the last cigarette, an ex-smoker can hope to return to a life expectancy equivalent to that of a person who has never smoked.

Read also: What happens to your liver when you stop drinking alcohol?

As for alcohol, its consumption is responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people each year in France, according to the Public Health France agency. Almost one in four people consume too much alcohol in our country, which represents approximately 10.5 million adults. Public Health France recommends two glasses per day maximum, and not every day.

The French largely underestimate the risks associated with alcohol consumption. (Illustrative photo: Franck Dubray / Ouest-France archives)

3. Avoid being too sedentary

Regular exercise is another key to longevity. Adults who play a lot of sport and have a good level of daily physical activity reduce their risk of premature death by 34% compared to those who never – or rarely – engage in such activities. To reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers and a number of other chronic diseases, the WHO recommends that adults and older people engage in physical activity for at least 2.5 hours per day. week.

Read also: To stay in shape, what sport should you practice and at what age?

Depending on your tastes, you can choose a sporting activity that is affordable and easy to access, trying to minimize the risk of injury. You can opt for example for yoga which allows you to relax and boost your immune system. Or even for gardening. This activity would play an important role in preventing the risks of chronic diseases and cancers. Gardening would notably increase physical activity and reduce stress and anxiety, according to an American scientific study, published in January 2023 in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health.

Read also: Should you take 4,000, 8,000 or 10,000 steps per day? This new study settles the debate

4. No longer fall asleep randomly

Regular, quality sleep is one of the foundations for living longer in good health. Conversely, the inconvenience caused by uncontrolled falling asleep can have serious consequences. Like falling asleep on your couch for example… “This promotes obesity, a decline in immune defenses, makes us sad and irritable,” recalls Doctor Marc Rey, president of the National Institute of Sleep and Vigilance (INSV). In addition, sleep disorders impair alertness and concentration. On a physical level, we do not recover enough.

Read also: The quality of our sleep declines with age, here’s how to fix it

5. Don’t drink too much coffee

Coffee gives energy and makes you alert, but consumed in excess, this drink can have negative effects on health. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) recommends no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day for a healthy adult, the equivalent of three cups of coffee per day.

A recommendation also made by Dr Arnaud Cocaul, a nutritionist who advises his patients to respect these doses. Beyond that, cardiac risks may arise. “Six espressos can have an effect on tachycardia [trouble du rythme cardiaque entraînant une accélération du pouls au repos, N.D.L.R.] », assures the doctor.

Read also : How many cups of coffee can you drink per day without endangering your health?

6. Don’t be alone

Maintaining a social life, sincere friendships, this is another secret of longevity. Friendship, which contributes to well-being and happiness, has direct and very concrete effects on our immune system, and therefore on our state of health. How ? “The relational aspect has an impact on the autonomic nervous system which allows us to be in good health”, explained Saverio Tomasella, neuropsychologist and author of These friendships that transform us (Éditions Eyrolles, 2018) for an article on friendship.

Read also: Having friends is really good for your health, and science says so

7. Stop brooding

Psychological health would be another secret to longevity and more particularly four factors: optimism, happiness, social support and having a purpose or finding meaning in life. We can perhaps take inspiration from the Japanese philosophy of life, ikigai. In this country where people live the longest, older people never really stop working, finding happiness in the usefulness they can have for others: passing on knowledge to young people or looking after their grandchildren. children and great-grandchildren.

Read also: How to take the positive side of life? These five methods have proven themselves around the world

This meaning can also be found in commitment to a particular cause. There is no single “turnkey” method or miracle recipe for finding your ikigai. You have to dig deep within yourself and be honest with yourself to find what makes sense.

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