According to studies from the World Health Organisation, the average Irish person has a pretty lengthy life expectancy of 81.4 years. We rank just above our UK neighbours and are set to outlive Americans by just short of two years.
By now we’re all aware that there is no secret or fountain of youth which can grant us eternal life but we do know that eating well, quitting smoking, drinking less and generally being good to ourselves can help.
Of course, not all of us are quite willing to give up that beloved Friday night trip to the pub followed by a greasy takeaway. And, as we’re all about balance, we’ve put together our ‘how to live longer ‘ advice, with reasonable and practical tips. Hopefully we can help make your 81.4 years as long, full and healthy as possible without having to sacrifice any of the fun stuff.
1. Eat less
The Japanese have the highest life expectancy of all other nations at 83.7 years. Research by those who study longevity have found that the oldest Japanese people stop eating when they feel about 80% full.
Reducing your calorie intake lowers production of the thyroid hormone T3 which slows the aging process.
2. Watch less TV
According to research from the American Heart Association, people who watch more than four hours of TV every single day are almost 50% more likely to die from any cause than people who spend less than two hours in front of the screen. Even reducing your TV watching by just one hour per day can dramatically slash this percentage.
3. Play games
We’re not saying that having a five hour Xbox session every day is going to make you live forever, but it has been proven that those who keep their minds challenged and stimulated, particularly by playing games, tend to live longer. Testing your memory regularly with trivia type games could also significantly reduce your likelihood of developing dementia.
4. Get A Friend
Loneliness kills. In otherwise healthy people, loneliness is thought to be just as dangerous as having high cholesterol. Elderly people have the greatest risk of suffering from loneliness as they are naturally more isolated and prone to depression. So, spending more time with your grandparents could be beneficial to you both.
5. Eat Herbs And Spices
Many countries around the world place great emphasis on herbs and spices when it comes to their health, with certain ingredients even having medical benefits to fight off a number of diseases.
Turmeric, which can be bought in almost any supermarket for less than €1, is thought to be one of the healthiest spices on the planet. Just one teaspoon or supplement every day can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 50%.
It also lowers cholesterol, improves heart health, memory function and the immune system.
6. Find Someone To Love
Being in a loving relationship can extend your life by providing a support network and social interaction that helps you relieve stress.
And of course, the physical side of a being in a relationship can help too. Those with an active sex life often have better heart health. A study carried out at Wilkes University found that people who have sex more than twice per week tend to have much higher amounts of the antibody immunoglobulin A (IgA) which helps combat cold and flu.
7. Feel Young
In a research letter published by Jama International Medicine, scientists from University College London found that people who feel three or four years younger than their actual age have a lower death rate than those who feel their age or older.
It’s thought that feeling older is linked to increase stress which often changes the physiology of your heart.
8. Don’t Sit Still
We all know that exercising can help extend our lives, but if you just can’t bring yourself to hit the gym or go for a run, even being slightly more active in your daily life can have a notably positive impact.
Some medical professionals believe that sitting down all day is as detrimental to your health as smoking. So, if you work in a sedentary job, you are advised to get up and stretch your legs for five minutes every hour.
What are your tips for living longer? Let us know on social media by using the hashtag #MyIrishLife