Studies suggest that genetic makeup accounts only 25 to 35% of our longevity potential. The rest could be influenced by our habits and lifestyles and the choices that we make affect our susceptibility to diseases and premature aging. We already know that if we choose to indulge in unhealthy diets; sedentary lifestyle and if we choose to experiment with toxic substances like alcohol and drugs, we are shortening our life span because of the diseases that they can cause.
Aside from those mentioned above, there are other things, though, that we need to avoid in order to live, not only longer, but healthier lives. We only tend to overlook other factors because they seem trivial and negligible, but unknowingly, they have a huge effect on our lives and thereby, our health.
Read on, examine your life, and find out if you are unknowingly limiting your years.
- Unhealthy relationships can lead to emotional stress and when left unmanaged, can build up over time and cause diseases and premature aging. I’m not suggesting to immediately break off the relationship if you think you are in an unhealthy one, but contemplating why the relationship has become so unhealthy or exhausting is the first step to becoming a healthier you. The people you surround yourself with highly influence your longevity. If you are in a happy and healthy relationship with friends, family and loved ones, you tend to become more active and upbeat as opposed to being in a stressful and unhealthy relationship where you tend to nag or be angry all the time.
- Sleep Deprivation even just for a single night can cause cellular changes that will generate tissue-damaging inflammation. Sleep in the right quantity and quality is essential for healing and regeneration. Research shows that circadian rhythms regulate the energy levels in our cells and are linked to how our metabolism works. When this rhythm is disrupted, it can lead to obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, impaired mental function, depression and compromised immune system. The effects of sleep deprivation are cumulative, so the more days that you go without sleeping, the greater the impact is on the body.
- Dehydration can be dangerous since water is essential for the body to work properly. It acts as a medium of transportation for oxygen, nutrients and waste-products and controls the temperature of the body. Studies have shown that an imbalance in water level has severe effects on the efficient functioning of the cells. Cancer risk is increased for people who drink only two glasses of water per day. People who drink adequate amount of water are less prone to muscle aches, fatigue, constipation, headaches, heartburn and bladder or heart diseases.
- Gum and tooth diseases can affect your health so have your bi-annual teeth cleaning done to live a longer and healthier life. According to dentists, there is a direct relation between our oral cavity and our heart. Have you ever noticed why dentists ask if you have cardiovascular diseases before performing oral prophylaxis or any other dental procedures on you? Those with heart diseases are subjected to prophylactic antibiotic first before proceeding. Flossing also removes the bacteria that causes periodontitis (inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth) which can lead to tooth loss. Research shows that people who floss intermittently had an 86% higher chance of inflammation and heart disease than those who floss daily.
- Pollution and exposure to “silent toxins” can also accelerate aging; living in a polluted, urban area can lose you many years from your life span. Toxins may also be found, not just outside, but also in our homes – like household cleaners, air fresheners, bug sprays, home care, even from personal hygiene and beauty products that we use. Recently, beauty products imported from an Asian country have been found to have high levels of mercury, which resulted to slow mercury poisoning.
It is true that aging is enevitable, but it doesn’t mean that we have no control over it. Be healthy by making the right choices. After all, we only have one life to live.