Healthy Ways to Live Longer


While many of us believe that genes play the primary role in how long we live, it may be surprising to learn that diet and nutrition may be more important. A proper diet, while restricting the amount of calories consumed can not only reduce or maintain weight and belly fat, but it can protect against acquiring a deadly disease. Diet is so important because it provides the nutrients to support cells which are the building blocks of the human body.

As we age, cells are damaged and must go through a recycling or renewal process called autophagy. One of the best ways to achieve autophagy is through a polyamine called spermidine which can be found naturally occurring in several types of foods. Diets high in spermidine have not only been shown to impact neurodegeneration, but have been found to reduce the mortality rate and provide an overall 5-year increase in life expectancy.

How Long Can I Expect to Live?

With advancements in medical technology as well as lifestyle improvements, longevity has been increasing over time. Furthermore, most countries are no longer dealing with high infant mortality rates that made up much of the early 1900s. Because of these, most people in the United States can expect to live around 78.7 years. However, this number can vary based on age, gender, country of residence, and several different lifestyle factors.

What Affects Life Expectancy? 

So what specific factors affect life expectancy? It’s not a secret that gender is a factor. Women, on average, live longer than men. Women have an average life expectancy of 82.9 years while men’s average about 76.4 years. It is believed that this is a result of riskier behavior and therefore more accidents among men.

Further factors include:

  • Genetics - It is believed that genetics plays a role in 9 out of the top 10 causes of death, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and many more.
  • Prenatal and Childhood Conditions - Poor conditions in utero or early on in life are believed to be factors in higher mortality, even later on in life.
  • Education - Higher education is linked to a higher socio-economic status and therefore longevity.
  • Socio-Economic Status - Life expectancy decreases with socio-economic status. It impacts one’s ability to receive adequate medical attention and acquire healthier habits.
  • Marital Status - Those who are married tend to have a lower mortality rate due to improved cardiac health, the fact that they don’t deal with isolation and loneliness, and receive encouragement to quit unhealthy habits and adopt healthier ones.
  • Ethnicity - Those with a hispanic background, for both men and women, tend to have the highest life expectancy.
  • Medical Technology - Advances in medical technology along with the development of antibiotics and immunizations positively impact longevity.

What About Nutrition?

While that list is quite extensive, one area that was left out is nutrition. How does nutrition affect longevity? A lack of proper nutrition and exercise often creates individuals who are overweight and obese. Currently, nearly 30% of all adults are considered obese. 

As nutrition decreases weight increases and cells are unable to receive the nutrients they need to function and turnover. Over a prolonged period of time, this may cause a decrease in longevity and even premature death.

mom hugging daughter and enjoying a healthy life

Does Eating Healthy Make You Live Longer?

As suggested, eating healthy can truly make you live longer. Researchers have found that improving one’s diet and incorporating a large portion of healthy food choices can decrease the risk of premature death by 8-17%. The diet resulting in the longest life expectancy includes foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Individuals already eating well and continued to do so had between a 9-14% lower risk of an early death. On the other hand, those that had a decrease in their diet quality over a 12 year period increased their mortality rate by 6-12%.

What Should I Eat to Live a Long Life? 

Now, you may be wondering what are the specific foods to eat in order to live longer? Really, it boils down to choosing healthy foods to eat and incorporate every day into your normal routine. Really they look much like the Mediterranean diet. They include:

  • Fruits and Vegetables - Only one in ten adults eats enough fruits and vegetables. These can add years to your life as they are associated with a lower risk of mortality from all causes. It’s best to get five servings a day - two from fruits and three from vegetables.
  • Nuts - These provide healthy fat, fiber, antioxidants, plant protein, vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. Nut eaters have a 39% lower overall mortality risk compared to those who don’t eat them.
  • Meat-Free Meals - Incorporating meat-free meals for several days into your weekly eating routine can also lower the mortality risk. This is seen commonly with those who eat a primarily vegetarian diet. 
  • Green Tea - This drink has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, Type-2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and obesity.
  • Mediterranean Diet - Again, this is what all individuals should be striving for. It includes a high intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fats from nuts, olive oil and avocado, spices, herbs, and seafood while limiting dairy, wine, eggs, meat and sweets.

Does Being Healthy Overall Make You Live Longer?

While being healthy overall certainly helps you live longer, it’s important to make sure those years count. You don’t want your extra time riddled with cancer or disease. 

To encourage a healthy longer life, be sure to pay attention to your diet and maintain a healthy weight, strive to exercise daily or for several hours a week, and don’t smoke or drink to excess. For women who followed this lifestyle, they were shown to have, on average, ten extra healthy years, while men had eight.  

Mom playing with son and loving a healthy lifestyle

Tips to Live Longer and Feel Better

Now that you know that your lifestyle can affect the longevity of your life, below are just some ways to help you live longer and feel better:

  • Stop smoking - Smoking can affect the coronary arteries and lungs increasing the risk of cancer and stroke.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise - Move for about 30 minutes per day. You can even split it into ten-minute increments if you are lacking time.
  • Choose the right foods - Stick with a Mediterranean diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish, healthy oils, and nuts.
  • Sleep - Try to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night. Getting less than six hours a night doubles the risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Vacation - Take time off and away from work. Those who neglect to take a vacation, especially men, are 32% more likely to die from a heart attack.
  • Drink water - Consuming adequate amounts of water can reduce the risk of bladder and colon cancer and help the kidneys to stay in shape.
  • Moderate Alcohol - Heavy intake of alcohol is linked to heart, liver, and pancreatic disease, as well as premature death.
  • Maintain healthy relationships - Having as few as three social ties can help with stress levels and decrease your risk of early death by more than 200%. 

What Are The Effects of Longevity?

While the idea of living longer sounds appealing and something most of us strive for, living too long can have a negative effect if you are not properly caring for your body. It’s important to have a good quality of life, not just a good quantity, or length, or life.

Living too long could mean living with health issues like cancer, Alzheimer’s, or other diseases and can contribute to high social and medical costs. Therefore, it’s vital to focus on reducing age-related morbidity and increasing health and wellness. Relying solely on the advancement of medical technology while not caring for the body could increase longevity, but not quality of life.

How Supplements Can Help Longevity

Now that we’ve seen how caring for the body through factors of nutrition and lifestyle can affect longevity, can supplements also support this mission? Fortunately, supplements like spermidineLife® help to take care of the body from the inside out. They help with longevity, but do so through an anti-aging process.

Consuming supplements with spermidine replenish the spermidine pool in the body which can induce autophagy and promote the renewal of cells, and therefore encourage a prolonged life. Though spermidine is present in many foods, it’s often in lower concentrations and it’s rarely eaten in sufficient quantities. Therefore, spermidineLife® ensures polyamine is part of the daily diet at the right level to bring about cell growth, renewal and longevity.


Listen to this article:


  • Don Moxley - Director of Applied Science

    Don Moxley is the Director of Applied Science at Longevity Labs. Moxley draws upon his career as an athlete, a sports scientist, and an instructor to lead and educate on the science of autophagy and longevity.