Health: 10 ways to ensure you don't die early

Did you know? Daily exercise like running, walking; adding spicy food to your diet among other things can actually reduce premature death risk. Experts tell you how...

belly fat
All pictures for representational purposes

Trim that belly fat: People who carry fat around their belly, even if they are thin, have a greater mortality risk than those who are overweight or obese but have normal fat distribution, according to a study.

Researchers found that normal-weight adults with central obesity have the worst long-term survival rate compared with any group, regardless of Body Mass Index (BMI). The data showed that a normal-weight person with central obesity had twice the mortality risk of participants who were overweight or obese according to BMI only.

Walk daily for 30 minutes: Just half an hour of brisk walking five days a week can reduce risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, especially in women and those younger than 70 years of age, says a new study.

Daily walking

The study conducted in Argentina investigated the impact of various levels of physical activity on death from ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke and on total cardiovascular mortality in people aged 30 years and older. Doing less than 600 MET/min/week was responsible for 20 percent (4 907) of deaths from IHD and 13 percent (2,371) of stroke deaths.

Include more chillies in your daily diet: Eating spicy foods daily has now been linked to a lower risk of death from cancer, heart and lung diseases and diabetes.

spicy diet

A study conducted by Chinese researchers found that people who ate spicy foods almost every day had a relative 14 percent lower risk of death compared to those who consumed spicy foods less than once a week. So, those who consumed a diet rich in spice three to five and six or seven days a week had more longevity than those who didn't. Previous research has suggested that beneficial effects of spices and their bioactive ingredient called capsaicin include anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammation and anti-cancer properties.

Sauna sessions for a longer life: Frequent sauna use could reduce risks of a sudden cardiac death, research an the University in Finland has suggested.

Sauna bath

The findings reveal that people who take sauna four to seven times a week have risks of cardiac mortality cut down by 63 percent, compared with people who take sauna only once a week. The results were base on a 20-year follow-up research of a population-based sample of 2,315 middle-aged men from Eastern Finland. According to the research, sauna bathing was also found to reduce mortality caused by coronary and other cardiovascular diseases.

Don't overdose on milk: Instead of strengthening your bones, drinking more than three glasses of milk a day may increase the risk of early death, a study conducted by researchers at a Swedish university has found. This could be due to the high levels of lactose and galactose (types of sugar) in milk, that have been shown to increase oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in animal studies, the researchers said.

daily milk intake

The team set out to examine whether high milk intake may increase oxidative stress, which, in turn, affects the risk of mortality and fracture. They found no link between higher milk consumption and reduction in fracture risk in women. Furthermore, women who drank more than three glasses of milk a day (average 680 ml) had a higher risk of death than women who drank less than one glass of milk a day (average 60 ml). Men were tracked for an average of 11 years, during which time 10,112 died and 5,066 had a fracture. They also had a higher risk of death with higher milk consumption, although this was less pronounced than in women.

Go for a run everyday: A recently conducted study in the Us has suggested that running everyday, even for a few minutes, can significantly reduce a person's risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases. Researchers studied 55,137 adults, aged between 18 and 100, for 15 years to determine whether there was a relationship between running and longevity.

daily running

The study showed how participants who ran less than 51 minutes, fewer than 6 miles (about 9.6 km), slower than 6 miles per hour, or only one to two times per week had a lower risk of dying compared to those who did not run. During the study period, 3,413 participants died, including 1,217 whose deaths were related to cardiovascular disease. Of this population, 24 percent of the participants reported running as part of their leisure-time exercise.

The researchers also found that runners who ran less than an hour per week have the same mortality benefits compared to runners who ran more than three hours per week. Thus, it is possible that the more may not be the better as far as running and longevity as concerned.

They found that those who persistently ran over a period of six years on average had the most significant benefits, with a 29 percent lower risk of death for any reason and 50 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke. On an average, runners lived three years longer compared to non- runners.

Avoid living alone: In an international study of stable outpatients at risk of or with arterial vascular disease (such as coronary disease or peripheral vascular disease), living alone was associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular death. Living alone was associated with higher four-year mortality (14.1 percent vs. 11.1 percent) and cardiovascular death (8.6 percent vs. 6.8 percent), according to the study results.

Living alone

Based on age, living alone was associated with an increased risk of death among those patients 45 to 65 years old compared with those living with others (7.7 percent vs. 5.7 percent), and among those participants 66 to 80 years old (13.2 percent vs. 12.3 percent). However, among patients older than 80 years, living alone was not associated with an increased risk of mortality compared with those living with others (24.6 percent vs. 28.4 percent).

Opt for gastric bypass surgery: Obese people who undergo gastric bypass surgery are less likely to die from heart attack and stroke than people who receive more conventional treatment for their weight condition, a Swedish study said. It included about 4,000 patients in Sweden who were recruited between 1987 and 2001, who either had gastric bypass (13.2 percent), banding (18.7 percent), or vertical banded gastroplasty (68.1 percent), and all lost 16-23 percent of their body weight in subsequent years.

Gastric bypass surgery

Bariatric surgery was also linked to a lower number of heart attacks overall, fewer strokes, and fewer fatal strokes. But when the researchers looked at weight change alone, they could find no significant relationship to cardiovascular events in either group, suggesting that the weight loss itself might not be the driver of fewer deaths. Other studies have shown that the benefits of gastric surgery for extremely obese people can include long-term changes of body weight, better quality of life, and fewer incidences of diabetes and cancer.

Avoid excessive TV viewing: A review of published studies in the past 40 years in the United States has shown a higher risk of diabetes, heart problems and early death among people who watch lots of television.

TV viewing

More than two hours per day of TV-watching boosted risk of type two diabetes and heart disease, while more than three hours a day increased a person's risk of dying prematurely. Each two-hour increment in viewing per day was linked to a 20 percent higher risk for type two diabetes; a 15 percent increased risk for fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease; and a 13 percent higher risk for all-cause mortality.

Don't 'sit around' at work: Workers please take note! Taking frequent breaks to reduce sitting time at workplace can help you cut extra body fat, thus lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes and early death, reveals a recent study conducted in Denmark.

sitting at work

The team analysed 317 office workers in 19 offices across Denmark and Greenland randomly put into the intervention or control groups. The results which were followed up for three months showed a reduction of 0.61 percent in body fat in study participants, which was due to 71-minute shorter sitting time per day during working hours after one month. After one month, participants in the intervention group sat down for 71 minutes less in an eight-hour work day than the control group. This reduced to 48 minutes after three months.
-With inputs from agencies 

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