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Things you can do to live longer.

August 15, 2009 Lessons, Tips and Tricks No Comments

Men’s Health, one of the few magazines I still subscribe to, published “50 Ways to Add Years to Your Life” on their website. A lot of it is stuff that was lectured to us as kids growing up, some are still debatable (For example, is coffee really good for you?), there were others that were interesting, like “Stash a Cinnamon Air Freshener in Your Car.”

Here are the ones that stoodout to me: 

  •  Take a Laugh Break: Watching 15 minutes of funny video can improve bloodflow to your heart by 50 percent, report researchers at the University of Maryland. “This may reduce blood-clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation,” says study author Michael Miller, M.D.
  • Indulge Your Chocolate Craving: In a 15-year study, Dutch scientists determined that men who ate just 4 grams of cocoa a day had half the risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate less. That’s the equivalent of two 25-calorie Hershey’s Kisses—an amount that can fit into any diet.
  • Set a 3-Drink Limit: Harvard researchers determined that downing more than three drinks in a 24-hour period increases your risk of atrial fibrillation, a condition that may boost your odds of a stroke fivefold during that time. An important note: When the average man pours himself a glass of wine, it’s typically twice the size of a standard drink (4 ounces), report researchers at Duke University.
  • Plop an Alka-Seltzer…: It contains 325 milligrams of aspirin, the same as a regular aspirin, and begins fighting blood clots almost 3 minutes faster than a pill, according to a study in Thrombosis Research.
  • …and Call a Ride: Walk-in patients wait almost twice as long in the E.R. as those who arrive by ambulance, according to a University of New Mexico study.
  • Treat a Killer Bee Sting: You may not know if you’re allergic to the venom of a bee, wasp, or hornet until you’ve already been stung. But if you start to experience the symptoms of a life-threatening reaction—hives, wheezing, abdominal cramping—you can save yourself in 3 steps:

Step 1: Call 911.
Step 2:Take a Benadryl.
Step 3:Lie on your back and elevate your legs while you wait for help, says Steven Kernerman, D.O., an allergist at the Spokane Allergy and Asthma Clinic. An allergic reaction can constrict your blood vessels, and our three-step strategy counteracts that by improving bloodflow to your heart.

  • Think Positive: Purdue scientists discovered that constant worrying shortens your life span by 16 years.
  • Keep Your Cool: Men who frequently express anger outwardly are more than twice as likely to have a stroke than guys who control their tempers, according to the journal Stroke. If you have anger-management issues, try fish oil. National Institutes of Health scientists found that hostile, aggressive men often have low blood levels of DHA—one of the main omega-3 fats found in the oil. We like Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega (nordicnaturals.com). Take 1,000 to 2,000 mg every day.
  • If You’re Attacked, Hit the Shark in Its Eyes or Gills: These are its most sensitive areas. The snout might work as a target, but this tactic often results in a bitten arm, according to a University of Maryland study.
  • For God’s Sake, Don’t Pee in the Ocean: Bodily fluids attract sharks.
  • Drownproof Yourself: If you’re dumped in the water without a life preserver, the key to survival is staying warm and conserving energy. Use the method taught to U.S. Navy pilots: Float facedown in the water with your knees tucked against your chest in the fetal position. (This slows the drop in body temperature.) Exhale bubbles slowly, turning your head to one side only to inhale deeply. Repeat until help arrives. 
  • Light a Jasmine-Scented Candle: Men who did this for just 1 minute before bed fell asleep faster, tossed and turned less, and felt more refreshed in the morning than those who didn’t inhale the aroma, report scientists at Wheeling Jesuit University. That’s important, because insufficient sleep boosts your risk of diabetes, and restless sleep increases your odds of a stroke.

  • Don’t Get Blown to Bits: Keep bleach, paint stripper, fabric softener, glue, and sidewalk salt away from gas appliances. The chlorine or fluorine in these products breaks down into ionized gas, which can eat holes in the pipes that deliver the fuel for your furnace, range, or dryer. Think you smell fumes? Don’t call for help from inside your house; using your phone could create an electric spark and set off an explosion.
  • Find time to Exercise: Scandinavian researchers have observed that deep depression (and its spinoff, suicide) is often caused by job stress. Here’s how to lower stress, boost your mood, and simultaneously improve your overall health.
    People who exercise at any intensity for 2 hours a week—an average of about 17 minutes a day—are 61 percent less likely to feel highly stressed than their sedentary counterparts, according to researchers in Denmark.
  • Douse Your Salad with Oil and Vinegar: European scientists determined that unheated olive oil reduces cancer risk. As for vinegar, eating it prior to a high-carbohydrate meal (like pasta) slows the absorption of carbs into your bloodstream. This prevents the spikes in blood sugar and insulin that signal your body to store fat.
  • Stash a Cinnamon Air Freshener in Your Car: The strong, spicy smell can help you stay alert as you drive. Researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University found that a whiff increases alertness by 25 percent. Sucking on an Altoid may work, too.
  • Take a Noontime Nap: Breaking up your day with a 30-minute snooze can reduce coronary mortality by 37 percent, report Greek researchers. Why? It reduces stress that can damage your heart. Even a short nap once or twice a week was found to decrease the risk of early death.
  • Enjoy Your Joe: Brooklyn College researchers recently discovered that drinking 4 cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of dying of heart disease by 53 percent. If you like Starbucks, choose a Caffé Americano: A grande counts as 4 cups and contains just 15 calories.

Ok, I republished almost half the list. I hope you found it as interesting as me. Cheers!

For the complete list, go here:
50 Ways to Add Years to Your Life by D. Watkins, A. Granell, and H. Loeb, Men’s Health. Last accessed 8/17/2009.

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