Eight healthy habits that could add years to your life

What if there were some simple rules that could almost certainly guarantee lowering your biological age?

Would you follow them?

Well, following the American Heart Association’s eight healthy habits, known as Life’s Essential 8 (LE8), may slow biological ageing by six years, according to new research.

It may also reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular and other age-related diseases.

Preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2023 meeting found that adults who live a heart-healthy lifestyle, as measured by the LE8 cardiovascular health scoring, tend to live longer lives free of chronic disease.

Researchers examined the association between heart and brain health, as measured by the LE8 checklist and the biological ageing process, using phenotypic age.

Phenotypic age

According to the AHA, instead of using just your chronological age, phenotypic age measures biological (physiological) age calculated based on your chronological age plus the results of nine blood markers for metabolism, inflammation and organ function.

A higher phenotypic age acceleration value indicates faster biological ageing.

“We found that higher cardiovascular health is associated with decelerated biological ageing, as measured by phenotypic age. We also found a dose-dependent association – as heart health goes up, biological ageing goes down,” said study senior author Nour Makarem.

The AHA Life’s Essential 8 are:

Eating better. Include whole foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and cooking in non-tropical oils such as olive and canola.

Be more active. Adults should get 2.5 hours of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. Kids should have 60 minutes every day, including play and structured activities.

Quit tobacco. Self-explanatory.

Get healthy sleep. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Children require more: 10-16 hours for ages five and younger, including naps; 9-12 hours for ages 6-12; and 8-10 hours for ages 13-18. Adequate sleep promotes healing, improves brain function and reduces the risk for chronic diseases.

Manage weight. Aim for a body mass index of 25.

Control cholesterol. The AHA recommends consulting your doctor for testing and support.

Manage your blood sugar. Once again, consult your doctor.

Manage blood pressure. Yes, you guessed it, consult your doctor.

“Greater adherence to all Life’s Essential 8 metrics and improving your cardiovascular health can slow down your body’s ageing process and have a lot of benefits down the line,” Dr Makarem said.

“Reduced biologic ageing is not just associated with lower risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, it is also associated with longer life and lower risk of death.”

Have you heard of Life’s Essential 8 before? Would these findings change your lifestyle? Why not share your opinion in the comments section below?

Also read: 10 foods that can lower cholesterol

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