premature death

  1. Foods that can extend your life

    The 'magnificent' secret to a longer life

    I know people who'd pay a king's ransom for the secret to a longer life. But today, I'm going to let you in on one of those secrets -- a secret that could add more than a year to your own lifespan.

    And you don't have to pay a cent for this one.

    I call it the Magnificent Seven, because if you up your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables to seven servings a day, your risk of premature death will drop by 10 percent and your risk of heart disease will plunge by 15 percent, according to a major new study out of Europe.

    More importantly, the Magnificent Seven will add 58 weeks to your life.

    And if you go beyond the Magnificent Seven and eat even more fresh produce, you could get an even bigger benefit -- because every 7-ounce increase in intake will cut your risk of a premature death by another 6 percent, according to the study.

    Seven servings of fruit and vegetables may sound like a lot, but it's not. That's about 20 ounces a day, or two servings with each meal plus an extra one for a snack.

    It's probably more than you eat now, and it's more than the five servings recommended by the feds. And while the feds count juice as a serving, the Magnificent Seven has to be in food form -- and, ideally, raw, according to the study.

    But when you eat that many fruits and vegetables, you get two very big benefits.

    First, the obvious: plenty of life-extending nutrients, especially the antioxidants that can fight disease and aging. Some of these nutrients are so powerful they can practically stop time on a cellular level.

    The second is less obvious, because it's not what you eat -- it's what you don't eat. When you eat more fruits and vegetables, you eat less of the things you shouldn't eat, especially the junk foods that can cause disease and speed aging.

    So pass on the junk... the cookies... the cakes... the crackers and booze. And instead, add more delicious berries, apples, pears and more to your diet.

    Throw in a few more vegetables, and you won't just live longer.

    You'll live better, too.

  2. Happy people live longer

    It's the attitude adjustment that could save your life: A new study finds that happy people live longer -- which means a smile might turn out to be the cheapest, safest, and easiest longevity-booster on the planet.

    Can you think of any drug or supplement that can slash your risk of a premature death by 35 percent? I can't -- but the study of 3,800 people between the ages of 52 and 79 found that happiness did just that, even after adjusting for age, gender, depression and other health and lifestyle risks.

    All told, just 3.6 percent of the happiest people died during the five-year study -- versus 4.6 percent of those who had average levels of happiness and 7.3 percent of those who were unhappy.

    The volunteers also answered questions about fear, anxiety and worry -- but none of those other attitudes seemed to have any effect on who lived and who died.

    Just happiness -- although it could also be that the very things that make us happy also help us to live longer.

    Married people, for example, live longer... and people who've been married a long time tend to be happier than those who are alone (even if we might joke otherwise).

    Happier people also have a tighter circle of friends -- something that's also known to boost both longevity and happiness.

    On the other hand, attitude alone really can have a direct and measurable impact on health, like a study a couple of years back that found happy people have a 22 percent lower risk of heart disease.

    Another study I told you about over the summer found that an attitude closely linked to happiness -- optimism -- slashed the risk of a stroke.

    And last year, researchers found that the most disagreeable people were more likely to have thicker carotid arteries -- which would explain that increase in stroke risk, not to mention the thick bulging neck veins seen on angry cartoon characters.

    I know changing your attitude is easier said than done -- especially if you have years of experience in the grouch department. But while it's difficult, it's not impossible -- and if you can pull it off, it might just save your life.

  3. 'D' deficiency turns into crisis

    A leading health expert is calling vitamin D deficiency the world's most common medical condition... with 50 percent of the planet lacking the right amount of this essential nutrient.

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