By Sara Novak, Planet Green
It’s no coincidence that healthy living has a direct connection to green living. People that care about the health of the planet often care about eating well, being outside, and avoiding the crap that will shorten their time on this beautiful planet. So it wasn’t a huge surprise that when Prevention Magazine came up with a list of Surprising Signs That You’ll Probably Live Longer, many of them fit right into a green lifestyle.
Signs of Longevity And Their Connection to Living Green!
1. You walk to stay fit.
Fit people–defined as those who walk for about 30 minutes a day–are more likely to live longer than those who walk less, regardless of how much body fat they have, according to a recent study of 2,603 men and women.
Green It: Walking for a purpose
The best way to stay fit is to include walking in your everyday life as a way to get from A to B. Park the car and instead choose to walk to the store or if you use public transportation, walk to the bus or train station. That’s why Europeans are so enviously thin, they walk to get somewhere not just to stay fit. Save fossil fuels and win the battle of the bulge by hitting the pavement.
2. You skip the soda.
Scientists in Boston found that drinking one or more regular or diet colas every day doubles your risk of metabolic syndrome–a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, and excess fat around the waist, that increase your chance of heart disease and diabetes. Not to hammer this point too hard, but America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic and soda is nothing but empty calories, or in the case of diet soda, chemically flavored fake stuff.
Green It: Drinking soda is bad for you and the planet
Not only is soda bad for you, it’s bad for the planet considering that cans and plastic bottles are hugely wasteful. Even though they can be recycled, it takes energy to recycle them. It’s best not to use something that you do not need in the first place. Try filtered tap water in a reusable bottle and save the calories for local, organic food.
3. You eat purple foods.
Concord grapes, blueberries, and red wine all have polyphenols–compounds that reduce heart disease risk and may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research. “What’s good for your coronary arteries is also good for your brain’s blood vessels,” says Robert Krikorian, Ph.D., director of the Cognitive Disorders Center at the University of Cincinnati.
Green It: Choosing seasonal and organic
Blueberries come into season depending on where you live in the late summer. If you want to enjoy all those polyphenols make sure that you’re buying the fruit locally. Blueberries can lose much of their nutrients when they travel the average 1,500 miles to get to your table not to mention the fact that they waste tons of fossil fuels to get from A to B. Learn how to preserve seasonal fruits so that you can eat them year round here. And don’t forget to sip on red wine but make sure that you’re getting the most green for your green with wine that goes beyond organic.
4. You were a healthy-weight teen.
Swedish researchers found that among 612 men ages 18 to 20, those whose body mass index (BMI) increased the most during adolescence tended to have the greatest amounts of visceral fat — deep “hidden” fat that surrounds the abdominal organs and is particularly linked to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Green It: Raising a healthy green teen
You can’t control your weight as a teenager (unless you still are one) but you can help your teenager control their weight. The best way to raise a healthy, green adult is to start early. Try to make dinner at home every evening using seasonal, local ingredients and keep the processed junk out of the cabinets. If your teens want junk food to snack on, offer up healthy alternatives like homemade granola bars and homemade organic cookies. This way your teens will know the importance of the ingredients in their foods. Also get your teens in the garden so that they have an understanding about where their food comes from. Kids that grow up picking fresh produce from their garden every night for dinner won’t settle for produce that travels across the country because they know that garden fresh is so much tastier.
5. You skip the red meat.
A few palm-size servings (about 2 1/2 ounces) of beef, pork, or lamb now and then is no big deal, but eating more than 18 ounces of red meat per week ups your risk of colorectal cancer–the third most common type, according to a major report by the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Green It: Understanding red meat’s huge impact on the planet
What a coincidence, eating red meat is also bad news for the planet. Hitting the drive through a few times a week does have a huge impact. On the other hand, were the average American household to avoid red meat and dairy and, instead, consume a vegetarian diet or a diet including some chicken, fish, and eggs, the decline in greenhouse gas emissions would be equal to driving 8,000 fewer miles each. That’s like driving from Miami to Seattle and back. When and if you do eat red meat, opt for grass-fed varieties.
Next: 5 more sure signs of longevity and their connection to being green