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Simple ways to add extra years to your life

Citizen and Society Services - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 6:42:11 AM

Cutting down on your smokes, limiting your alcohol intake, eating a healthy diet and regular exercise are few ways that could add extra years to your life. New research has found that women who stop smoking before 40 live a decade longer than those who keep puffing into later life, ABC News reported. Recent findings from a study of over a million women found that smokers more than triple their risk of dying early compared to nonsmokers. Quitting today can help you down the line, as the sooner you take your last drag the longer you'll likely live, Rachel Huxley, PhD, a professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota who wrote an accompanying editorial to the study said.

Kicking the habit before middle age nearly eliminates the risk of premature death, and women who ditch the cigs in their 30s have even better odds of a long life. The reason - fewer years of overall exposure to cigarette toxins that are linked to lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke, Huxley said. But say you don't smoke, or you already quit—there are other steps you can take right now to help prolong your life. Wine lovers can rejoice, as research confirms that moderate drinkers (one glass per day for women) slash their risk of heart disease up to 40 percent. Studies also show that healthy women who eat soy at least once a week cut their risk of breast cancer by 50 per cent. But some research suggests that processed soy may actually rev up cancer cells, so chowing down on Veggie Dogs won't cut it.

Instead, stick to natural staples such as edamame, tofu, soy milk, and miso. Over time, stress can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity - all things that take years off your life. Stress is easy to squash, so don't fret. Most people rank personal finances as their number one stressor, typically because they feel powerless. Try this: Keep some money in a special bank account, safe from your urge to splurge on a new designer bag. This will help you feel more secure with your finances and help reduce stress. Studies show that working out may lower a woman's risk of breast cancer by 37 percent, osteoporosis by 45 percent, and heart disease by 14 percent.

A combination of cardio and weight training boosts metabolism and burns fat, keeping heart disease at bay. Maintaining a healthy weight not only keeps you looking hot in your hip-huggers, it wards off heart attacks and diabetes, too. To see if you're a healthy size, check the circumference of your waist around your belly button. That number should be less than half your height. So if you're 5'2," your waist should be less than 31 inches. Avoiding processed foods laden with trans fats will help. Studies show that this type of fat packs on the most belly blubber, so limit yourself to 2 grams daily.

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