Live Longer – Break Your 3 Worst Habits

Posted on Mar 7, 2012 in Health Optimization

We all have bad habits, but some, such as smoking, are worse than others. They can take years off your life, age your skin prematurely, and cause chronic illness.

Bad Habit #1: Smoking

It should come as no surprise that inhaling tobacco toxins easily takes the cake as the deadliest habit. But here’s something you may not know: Someone who has smoked for 40 years has shaved nearly 10 years off their life and increased their risk of lung cancer 20 times.

How You Can Reverse the Damage

Cigarette smoke paralyzes the tiny hairs in your lungs whose job it is to keep your lungs clear. As soon as you stop smoking, those hairs begin to recover, allowing the cleaning system of your lungs to get back to work. The day after you quit smoking, your risk of surviving a heart attack doubles. A decade after you quit you will see a huge reduction in your risk of smoking-related health problems. Fifteen years after you have stopped smoking, your risk of lung cancer starts to approach that of a non-smoker.

4 Steps to Turn Back Time

  1. Pick a day to quit within the next 30 days; begin walking every day to keep from gaining weight when you quit.
  2. Talk to your doctor about using a craving-reducing medication approved to help people quit smoking.
  3. Take advantage of other assistive products such as nicotine gum and patches. If you try to quit smoking alone, your chance of success is 5%. Using anti-craving drugs in combination with nicotine alternatives bumps your chances to 35%.
  4. Create a Kick the Habit Plan that will work for you and make sure you have a support team to help you throughout the plan.

Skin health bonus: A new study found that within 9 months of quitting smoking, you get a 13-year reduction in the appearance of your skin.

Added life bonus: Stopping smoking can add as much as 8 years to your life.

Bad Habit #2: Tanning

We all wore too little sunscreen, too much baby oil, and spent too much time in the sun back in the 70s and 80s. But we know better now. Today, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America. And melanoma, the most lethal type, takes the life of one American every hour. Plus, too much unprotected time in the sun is a recipe for looking older than your age.

How You Can Reverse the Damage

As your aging skin is exposed to sun, it shrinks, loses the oils that keep it bouncy and filled out, dries up and wrinkles. But with proper treatment and sun protection, the skin can grow thicker, produce protective oils, and maintain a glow and bounciness, giving you the appearance you had before you spent too much time in the sun. And protecting yourself from the sun is the single best way to reduce your risk of melanoma.

 2 Steps to Turn Back Time

  1. Avoid overexposure to the sun and wear zinc oxide or titanium dioxide when outdoors, both are sunscreens that take effect the minute you put them on. Other good investments are clothes and hats made to block ultraviolet light from damaging your skin.
  2. Try retinols, powerful exfoliants found in creams available over the counter and by prescription that help the skin rejuvenate itself.Crunch on cucumbers, which contain silica in their skin that helps improve the connective tissue of your skin, keeping it firm and together.

Added life bonus: 5 years

Bad Habit #3: Eating and Drinking Too Much

With 300,000 Americans dying from obesity-related complications every year, overindulgence has become a seriously dangerous habit.

How You Can Reverse the Damage

Eating too many fatty foods and drinking too much alcohol wreaks havoc on your liver, a vital organ responsible for clearing toxins from your body. When you consistently eat and drink too much, your liver becomes fatty and scarred, making it less able to do its job. Luckily, the liver is the most forgiving organ in the body. Six months after you stop drinking, your liver will return to normal.

3 Steps to Turn Back Time

  1. Limit alcohol to no more than one drink a day for women and 2 for men.
  2. Keep fat intake to 25% of your daily diet, which is no more than 65 grams of fat daily and most of that should come from heart-healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.
  3. Eat spinach and other dark, leafy greens, which help detoxify the liver

Added life bonus: 7 years