Everybody wants to live as long as possible. After all, a long life means more time to do the things you love with the people you love. But without your health, your later years may not turn out to be as enjoyable as you imagine.
Instead of spending time playing with your grandchildren or gallivanting across the globe, you could be spending time at the doctor’s office, managing a chronic illness. That’s why it’s imperative to take care of your health now. Think of it as another insurance policy on your golden years. Here are five tips to increase your health span for a longer happier life.
Health Span vs. Life Span
The attention paid to life expectancy statistics is understandable. In just the last century, the average life span in the United States has risen from about 53 years in 1920 to the 78.8 it is today.1 While that’s a pretty dramatic increase, those extra years aren’t the whole story. A more telling stat is health span, or how many of those years are lived free from disease and debilitating health problems. Yet, according to the World Health Organization, the average health span for an American is just 66.1 years.2 That means people are spending about 16 percent of their lives dealing with chronic health issues rather than living their days to the fullest.
What’s Undermining Your Health Span?
Two of the biggest culprits responsible for shortening your health span are chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. Not only do they contribute to the development of many serious conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease, inflammation and oxidative stress are also related to many age-related concerns, such as Alzheimer’s disease, sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss), and frailty.3 They can take years of your health span and will probably take years off your life as well.
5 Ways to Increase Your Health Span
Fortunately, there are steps you can take now to narrow the gap between your health and life spans so you can get the most out of your years on this planet. By focusing on the following five lifestyle hacks, you can effectively reverse the damage caused by inflammation and oxidative stress,4 adding time to your health span.
Tweak your diet. Fighting off inflammation and oxidative stress starts with what you eat. If your meals typically consist of highly processed foods that are loaded with fats, sugar, and salt, you’re creating the perfect environment for inflammation and oxidative stress to thrive. But swapping these foods out for a minimally processed, whole-foods diet can have a huge impact on your health span. Be sure to include plenty of foods containing polyphenols. Found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, and teas, polyphenols are powerful compounds that improve your antioxidant defenses while reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.5
Increase your antioxidant intake. Antioxidants play a crucial role in protecting your health. Consuming them in high quantities is a smart move if you want to combat oxidative stress. One way to ensure you’re getting enough antioxidants is with a daily dose of Aged Garlic Extract (AGE). An AGE supplement fights oxidative stress while also putting a damper on inflammation. Studies show that, taken consistently, AGE may prevent the development of chronic diseases associated with low-grade inflammation.6 It does this in part by inhibiting the formation of advanced glycation end-products7—harmful compounds that contribute to the development of life-shortening vascular problems such as atherosclerosis.
While supplementing with AGE alone can be a beneficial tool for boosting your health span, Kyolic Detox and Anti-Aging combines AGE with a combination of vitamins and herbs that protect against cell damage and aid in detoxification. Kyolic Healthy Inflammation and Response, on the other hand, takes AGE and then harnesses the anti-inflammatory might of curcumin to provide support for joint function and cardiovascular health.
Kick the habit. Indulging in destructive habits such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol is sure to take years off your health span, not to mention your life. Cigarette smoke has been shown to contain multiple inducers of inflammation.8 And several studies have linked alcohol consumption to oxidative stress.9 10 But whatever your vice, taking steps to curb unhealthy behaviors will work to lengthen your health span.
Break a sweat. Exercise is one of the most effective ways of improving your quality of life and extending your health span.11 That’s because exercise activates an anti-inflammatory immune response, which has been shown to be especially effective for individuals with chronic diseases linked to high levels of inflammation.12 Getting your heart rate up consistently can also improve metabolism and weight control, as well as strengthen muscles and bones. Even hitting the gym or walking the dog a few times a week can provide trigger a beneficial response.
Stay sharp. Exercising your body is key to having a long health span, but exercising your mind may be just as important. Training your brain can enhance cerebral functions such as memory and logical thinking while preventing memory deterioration and dementia.13 So work on a crossword or sudoku puzzle—or learn a new skill or language. Anything that challenges your brain will help to improve and maintain cognitive function.
Living a long life is one thing; living a healthy life for a long time is another. With healthy habits and an antioxidant-rich supplement like AGE, you can extend your health span to better match your life span.
- National Center for Health Statistics. NCHS Fact Sheet. March 2021.
- World Health Organization. Global Health Observatory data repository. Healthy life expectancy (HALE). Last updated: 2020-12-04.
- Freund A. Inflammatory networks during cellular senescence: causes and consequences. Trends in Molecular Medicine. Vol. 16, Issue 5, p.238-246.
- Liguori I, Russo G, Curcio F, et al. Oxidative stress, aging, and diseases. Clin Interv Aging. 2018;13:757-772.
- Serino A. Protective Role of Polyphenols against Vascular Inflammation, Aging and Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients. 2019; 11(1):53.
- Xu C. Aged garlic extract supplementation modifies inflammation and immunity of adults with obesity: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN. Vol. 24, p.148-155.
- Elosta A, Slevin M, Rahman K, Ahmed N. Aged garlic has more potent antiglycation and antioxidant properties compared to fresh garlic extract in vitro. Sci Rep. 2017;7:39613.
- Arnson Y. Effects of tobacco smoke on immunity, inflammation and autoimmunity. Journal of Autoimmunity. Volume 34, Issue 3, 2010, Pages J258-J265.
- Barcia JM. Does Oxidative Stress Induced by Alcohol Consumption Affect Orthodontic Treatment Outcome? Frontiers in Physiology. Vol. 8, 2017.
- Das SK. Alcohol-induced oxidative stress. Life Sci. 2007 Jun 27;81(3):177-87.
- Guan Y. Molecular Mechanisms of Exercise and Healthspan. Cells. 2022; 11(5):872.
- Beavers KM. Effect of exercise training on chronic inflammation. Clin Chim Acta. 2010 Jun 3;411(11-12):785-93.
- Kim H. A Study of Dementia Preventions through Brain Training by Serious Games. Journal of Next-generation Convergence Information Services Technology. 5.1 (2016): 35-44.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.