Habits That Help You Live Longer

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An American woman born today is expected to live to 81.2 years of age, which is longer than ever before. But there are a few little tweaks you can make to extend that time even further. The best part? They involve simple steps like eating chocolate, drinking wine, and getting happier. You can definitely handle that, right? Get ready to blow out more candles!

Eat Sushi

Japanese women have some of the longest life spans in the world, and experts believe it might have to do with their dining habits. Plus, having high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish) were associated with a lower risk of dying from all causes for participants in one 2013 study.

Indulge in Some Chocolate

Like you need to be convinced, right? Studies show that eating dark chocolate in moderation (like two servings a week) is associated with a lower risk of heart failure.

Get Happy

The happiest people are three times less likely to die over a given period than the least happy people, according to a 2012 study. It’s not just the optimism: Happy people have lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and lower blood pressure. Lower blood pressure lessens the threat of cardiovascular issues like heart disease and stroke.

Pack Some Nuts

People who eat nuts significantly reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lung diseases, and just about every scary illness. In fact, nut-eaters were 20 percent less likely to die, period, over non-nut-eaters in one study. Check out some ideas for incorporating more nuts into your meals.

Quit Smoking

Duh, right? There are millions of reasons to ditch the cigarettes, but just in case you think it might be too late for you and the bad effects are already there, research finds that women who quit before age 40 live a decade longer than those who quit later on.

Stand Up

Sitting in front of your computer all day at work is necessary for your bank account, but it’s not great for your body. Research shows that women who sit for more than six hours a day have around a 40 percent higher risk of dying from any cause than those women who sit for fewer than three hours—regardless of their fitness levels. So really, call your boss about that standing desk.

Keep Moving

Exercise keeps you fit, gives you energy, releases endorphins—the benefits go on and on. Plus, one study found that staying active is associated with a longer life expectancy.

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