How to stay young longer
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You probably know the basics of extending your life: move more, don’t smoke, eat well, strengthen your personal relationships, watch your blood pressure, and drink just the right amount of alcohol. (See exactly how much these moves really extend your life here).
But scientists continue to work hard to understand exactly what enables some people to stave off the diseases of aging and live longer, healthier lives than their peers. Here is what they find:
Fasting is thought to clear away cellular debris and renew your body’s ability to handle insulin and perform other functions. It may reduce your risk of age-related diseases, according to research by Valter Longo, Ph.D., at USC. His work involved fasts of three or more days, using a fasting-mimicking diet. Fasts of just 12 hours can also extend lifespan, he says, but probably don’t provide the full benefits of longer fasts.
find your purpose
You’ve heard it before, but a study in Open JAMA Network confirmed that life purpose affects longevity. A goal doesn’t have to be grandiose, like solving world hunger; it should simply bring you energy and fulfillment.
Check your inflammation
Inflammation throughout your body is aging you, and scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have found a way to pick up on its signals and give you your “inflammatory age.” This iAge test predicts your risk of age-related diseases. Until it becomes available, you can check for inflammation with an hs-CRP test and aim to reduce it with a Mediterranean-style diet.
Talk about race with your doc
Systemic racism is part of the reason why non-white people often do not receive proper pain care, counseling, or treatment and therefore live shorter lives. Until we make more progress in making much-needed changes to our medical systems, “it’s important to ask your doctor, ‘How does my self-identified race affect my longevity?'” says Daniele Ölveczky, MD, of the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Asking helps your doctor better consider your life experience.
Actively manage stress
Research indicates that intense stress can shorten a 30-year-old man’s life expectancy by 2.8 years. Beyond stress reducers like breathing and working out, Lucas Krump, co-founder of Evryman, suggests ditching the mask — the work mask, the dad mask — that’s holding something back. “Be the full version of yourself and shit gets a whole lot easier,” he says.
Watch out for changes
Colorectal cancer rates are increasing in people under 50. (Read more about young men and colon cancer here.) Official recommendations say you should start screening at age 45, or earlier if you have a family history. At any age, see a doctor if you have changes in your bowel habits, blood in your stools, abdominal pain, or unexplained weight loss.
This article originally appeared in the April 2022 issue of Men’s health.
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