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Fifty ways to live to 100 (Part 2/5)

Floss every day
Don't just floss when food gets stuck. "Flossing nightly can make a significant difference to how fast you age," says Dr Michael Roizen, a leading U.S. anti-ageing expert.
"It can take as much as 6.4 years off your age." Bacteria that cause tooth decay trigger inflammation, which in the arteries is "a significant precursor of heart disease" (flossing may also protect against diabetes and dementia).

Conscientious thinking
The best predictor of longevity is how conscientious you are, say U.S. psychologists Dr Howard Friedman and Dr Leslie Martin, who've made a study of longevity. This means being careful with money, thoughtful, detail-oriented and putting everything back where it belongs.
Conscientious people may have more of the brain chemical serotonin, which affects how much they eat and how well they sleep. They also appear to be naturally drawn into healthier situations and relationships.

Bacon for breakfast
Eating lean trimmed bacon instead of bangers for breakfast will cut your intake of artery-clogging saturated fat that can increase your risk of heart attack and dementia.
"Lean bacon is 332 calories per 100g, with 22.3g of fat; a grilled sausage is 318 calories per 100g and 24.6g of fat," says dietitian Lorraine McCreary. "But sausages tend to be heavier, so you"ll consume more calories in one sitting."

Be cheerful - but listen to your doctor
Many people believe happiness and optimism are the secret of long life, but research by U.S. psychologists Dr Howard Friedman and Dr Leslie Martin found cheerful children are less likely to live to an old age - the link between cheerfulness and early death was as significant as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
It's thought relentlessly happy people may be dangerously prone to underestimate risks to their health and thereby fail to take precautions or follow medical advice.

Don't be a catastrophisers
Worrying about your health is not a bad thing, as you're more likely to take action. But U.S. researchers have found "catastrophisers" - people who see impending doom everywhere - are more likely to take risks because they figure life is short and brutish anyway, and are more likely to die from accidents or violence.
When they get ill, they become despondent and unmotivated, refusing to take their pills.

Take a walk
Research shows a short walk is enough to bulk up your brain - and slow down memory decline. One study of elderly sedentary people who covered nine kilometres a week found they did better in memory and decision-making tests after six months - possibly because greater activity triggered new brain cells, as well as new blood vessels and connections between the brain cells.

Eat less
U. S. research shows rats, mice, flies and monkeys live up to twice as long when their food intake is reduced by a third. It's thought eating less means the metabolism has less work, and so slows down, producing fewer damaging "free radicals".

Hang out with healthy people
Sociability isn't as protective of health as you might think - the key is spending time with healthy people because our friends have been shown to have a huge unconscious influence over our behaviour.
Overweight friends can be particularly harmful. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found people are most likely to become obese if they have a close friend who's obese - even if the friend lived hundreds of miles away. A fat best friend means you have a 171 per cent greater chance of becoming fat, too.

Take Selenium
The antioxidant selenium, which comes from soil, is widely accepted as an important trace mineral with cancer-protective benefits. Modern farming practices mean we're missing out. However, too much is just as bad as too little (and may be linked to a greater risk of type-2 diabetes). Women need 50-60mcg a day, men up to 100mcg, but it's hard to find selenium supplements at this level. So split a 100mcg pill, or take a tablet every other day (or eat a Brazil nut - each contains nearly 100mcg).

Onion breath
One 80g onion per person (in bolognese, say) is a sneaky way to add to your five portions of fruit and vegetables.
Onions are thought to lower the risk of colorectal cancer, laryngeal cancer and ovarian cancer - they're rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that prevents harmful enzymes from triggering inflammation, and contain sulphur compounds that boost the immune system.

Fifty ways to live to 100 (Part 1)
Fifty ways to live to 100 (Part 3)
Fifty ways to live to 100 (Part 4)
Fifty ways to live to 100 (Part 5)
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