How to live a long life | The Science of Longevity

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who hasn't dreamed of eternal youth or at least  living a long healthy life. wait! what if it doesn't  

have to be a dream? what if science can help us  maximize our longevity? a new study published last  

month looked at factors that determine how long  we get to live. the researchers focused on genetic  

predisposition. they found natural genetic variants  linked with high cholesterol or being overweight  

and they asked, are people carrying those natural  variants living longer or shorter? they focused on  

nine candidate factors: diet, body weight, exercise, smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar,  

sleep and education. okay, those are all important  for general health, but which actually determine  

how long we live? four factors stood out with the  most robust effects: blood pressure, LDL, cholesterol,  

smoking and education. the first three make sense,  they're major risk factors for heart disease  

and that's the number one cause of death in our  society. education probably came out because it  

helps make better choices regarding lifestyle and  disease prevention. if you're watching this, chances  

are you're mindful of your health in general and  you also read and watch several other sources on  

nutrition. as a result, you probably know way more  than the average person about health and disease  

which allows you to make better choices. knowledge  is power. in addition to those four top factors, the  

data suggests that type 2 diabetes and BMI may  be life shortening factors as well. initially,  

HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides also came out  together with LDL-cholesterol but these blood  

lipid parameters all affect each other so they tried to isolate which are really important on their own  

and LDL-cholesterol came out as the strongest  factor. wait, what about diet? how come that didn't  

pan out? that means i can eat Twinkies and drink  Mountain Dew all day, right? not so fast. they only  

had genetic variants predisposing for coffee and  alcohol intake so those were the only two dietary  

factors they tested. coffee didn't affect longevity  significantly. alcohol in general didn't either but  

there might be a mild life-shortening effect when  we get to the level of alcohol dependence. as far  

as sleep, there was a suggestion of a mild effect  for insomnia but not for sleep length. some factors  

were not significant, like physical activity. yay!!  so i get to sit on the couch all day, right? well,  

it doesn't necessarily mean that physical activity  has no effect on longevity. it could just be that  

the genetic variants they used didn't have a strong  enough effect. so at least for now, the jury is  

still out. the main takeaway here is to solidify  the top four factors as major players, not only  

in general health, but also in determining length  of life. tobacco, blood pressure, LDL-cholesterol  

and education, likely representing the ability and  the resources to make these choices. longevity is  

thought to be 25% genes, 75% lifestyle. in the  study they focused on genetic predisposition  

but in real life whether i have good blood  pressure because i'm genetically gifted or because  

of my lifestyle, either way i reap the benefits. so  even if we didn't win the genetic lottery, most of  

the prize is still ours to take. maintaining good  LDL-cholesterol is mainly about going easy on  

concentrated sources of saturated fat like fatty  meats and butter and conversely leaning a bit more  

on unsaturated fats and fiber like avocado,  flax seeds, legumes and fruits and vegetables  

if you want to include some animal products, in  general fish, lean meats and low-fat dairy are your  

best bets. as for blood pressure, it hinges on the  balance between potassium and sodium, so going easy  

on ultra processed foods which are the main source  of sodium and having potassium-rich foods, like  

leafy greens and beans. we just released a whole  video on potassium-rich foods, and here's 3  

simple tricks to beat your genetics and maximize  your health. thanks for watching, see you next week