The secret to longevity has been sought for centuries. Modern medicine enables people to easily live into their nineties, but if you ask the planet’s oldest residents about their lifestyle and diet choices; expect a variety of curious and unexpected answers. Emma Morano, who died this year at the ripe old age of 117, attributed her good health and longevity to a daily breakfast of two raw eggs, while 107-year-old Mariano “Pops” Rotelli is convinced that his long life is the result of spiking his morning coffee with a shot of whiskey for over 100 years.
But raw eggs and a morning buzz aren’t going to help the average person live for a century. Medical professionals haven’t yet discovered a secret to longevity that can be applied to everyone, but science has strong evidence that some habits can add years to your life. A comprehensive observational study published by The BMJ concluded that it’s possible to lower your risk of premature death by maintaining a select few healthy behaviors. Researchers used questionnaires to track the habits of more than 113,000 generally healthy adults over 30 years and found that those who:
had a 61 percent lower risk of dying from all causes during the study period compared to those who were overweight and engaged in no healthy behaviors.
The study’s most intriguing result was that even in overweight people, the risk of dying prematurely fell with each healthy behavior adopted. This shows that despite genetic differences, each individual is generally in control of his or her own fate when it comes to preventing chronic diseases. These suggestions might not be sexy or revolutionary, but they are reliable.