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6 keys to a healthy lifestyle

Every day we get a new piece of information promising eternal youth, a slim body or recovery from any illness – be it a new vitamin, a new super food or an amazing workout routine that can heal and protect us from disease. In an article published on, Dr. Joel Kahn says that he does not believe in the possibility of finding such a miraculous cure – able, all by itself, to help us live a healthy life without ever having to resort to medication.

Instead, he points out that the answer we all look for is our lifestyle, which is responsible for 80% of our health problems. This conclusion is scientifically supported by the results of numerous studies.

A low-risk lifestyle is defined by the following attributes:

1. a body mass index (the ratio between weight and height) lower than 25;
2. a diet rich in fibers and healthy fats and low in trans fats and sugars;
3. avoiding smoking;
4. drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water each day;
5. performing physical exercises at least 30 minutes a day;
6. avoiding alcohol.

In 2004, the researchers involved in the INTERHEART study set out to determine the risk factors for heart attacks in 52 countries.

Researchers have found that nine such factors are responsible for 90 to 95% of heart attacks:
– smoking;
– a high level of bad cholesterol, exceeding the levels of good cholesterol;
– high blood pressure;
– diabetes;
– obesity;
– stress;
– low fruit and vegetable intake;
– excessive use of alcohol;
– lack of physical exercise.

In 2006, researchers conducting the Health Professionals Study analyzed the lifestyle of a total of 43,000 male subjects aged between 40 and 75 who had no diagnosed heart conditions.

Of these, the subjects considered as having a low risk of developing heart diseases were the non-smokers with a body mass index lower than 25, who were performing a physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, were drinking alcohol in moderation and whose diet consisted in 40% vegetables. In the 16 years of study, in the group of subjects who had embraced all the elements of a healthy lifestyle there were by 87% fewer heart attacks than in the other groups.

In 2013, a team of Dutch researchers performed a study of about 18,000 men and women without diagnosed heart disease.

In the 14 years of study, they found that if the subjects observed four important rules, the risk for heart attack reduced by 60%: 1) at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, 2) a healthy Mediterranean diet, rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grain cereals, 3) avoiding smoking, and 4) low alcohol consumption. Moreover, the subjects who added to the list a fifth healthy habit– at least seven or eight hours of sleep each night – reduced the risk of a heart attack even more (by 80%).

In 2014, a group of Swedish researchers examined more than 20,000 male subjects without diagnosed heart disease and observed them for 11 years.

The study found almost the same healthy habits preventing heart disease: a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, greens, nuts, whole grain cereals and healthy fats, a moderate consumption of alcohol, more than 40 minutes of exercise every day, avoiding smoking, and minimizing abdominal fat. The subjects who followed all these healthy lifestyle rules reduced by 86% their risk of developing heart disease or dying from heart attack.

Therefore, in about 15 years of studies/ we have been told one and the same thing, over and over again: healthy habits can prevent not only chronic diseases, but also one of the most terrible mental disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and can help you maintain your vitality even in old age.

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6 keys to a healthy lifestyle by Technology for Life is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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