7 Surprising Things That Help You Live Longer
You can control some of these determinants — but not all
(This story originally appeared on Grandparents.com.)
We all want to live a long, healthy life. Recent research studies show that longevity can often be traced to seven common traits:
1. Living in an affluent community
It’s long been known that the poor tend to have shorter lifespans than those with more money (who can afford better medical care and tend to smoke less), and this was shown again in a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The authors collected more than 1.4 billion Social Security and tax records to measure the relationship between income and life expectancy. Surprisingly, the study also showed that poor people who live in expensive, well-educated cities such as San Francisco and New York tend to live longer — up to three or four years longer — than low-income people in less affluent places like Tulsa, Okla. Experts aren’t sure exactly why, but it may be that certain cities are better about promoting healthy lifestyles with things such as smoking bans or that people tend to adopt healthier habits if they live in a place where everyone else is doing it, say study authors.
2. Flossing your teeth
Did you know that flossing your teeth actually keeps your arteries young? According to studies at Emory University by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can also trigger inflammation that causes your arteries to swell, which constricts blood flow and can lead to heart disease and stroke. Other studies have shown that periodontal disease leads to a higher white blood cell count, which can indicate that your immune system is under increased stress, making it harder to fight off infection. According to Dr. Michael F. Roizen in his book, Real Age, daily flossing adds an average of 6.3 years to a person’s lifespan.