The quality of the life we lead is on a downward spiral due to numerous reasons like stress, commitments, and personal issues - the list could go on forever. This directly or indirectly plays a huge role in negatively affecting our lives.

However, small alterations in the way we live will help in improving our lives drastically.            

Here's a list of the 10 ways to increase your longevity:

Eat a fiber rich diet, particularly for breakfast. When you take in a lot of fiber instead of those pesky carbs, you manage to maintain your blood sugar levels throughout the day and can go longer between those annoying hunger pangs.

People who eat fiber rich foods for breakfast have a good chance of postponing, and possibly avoiding, the incidence of diabetes, which is a known accelerator of aging.

Sleep for a solid seven to eight hours. This is a time-tested cliché – but clichés are clichés because they are true! Not only does your body and brain need rest, it's when you sleep that your body heals and regulates your cells.

Everyone needs a minimum of seven hours of sleep if they want to live a healthy lifestyle. Lack of sleep leaves you irritable and upset; chronic lack of sleep will definitely lead to all kinds of health issues, from diabetes to obesity, none of which are conducive to a long life.

Don’t be a couch potato (and professionals, don't sit behind a desk all day). The more you exercise, the longer you live. You don’t have to go to the gym every day; just a 30-minute walk 5 times a week is more than enough to keep you healthy. Be regular, though, for definite results – go out, take in some fresh air and clear your head! I guarantee the results will be amazing!

Add more fish to your diet. Eating fish twice a week lowers your risks of a heart attack as well as ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower triglycerides and depression. They are anti-inflammatory in nature and help to reduce blood clotting, which is why scientists believe that omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart attacks.

These acids also help in lowering your blood pressure. So eating fish, like salmon and tuna – which have an abundance of these acids – will reduce your risks of having a fatal heart attack.

Don’t smoke and don’t over-drink. This goes without saying – the less you smoke and drink, the better your life is going to be! Smoking increases your risk of cancer, and drinking can lead to liver failure if you indulge too much.

An occasional drink is fine, but don’t become an addict – that is a definite way to decrease your longevity.

Learn to de-stress. One of the biggest causes of heart attacks is long-term chronic stress over long and frequent periods of time. Don’t take yourself and life too serious, learn to let go once in a while; if you start feeling stressed or upset, take a few deep breaths - meditation also works wonders. The more stressed you are, the lesser your longevity!

Take occasional breaks from the world. This is an extension of the previous idea – just take a breather from your work, your commitments, and your responsibilities for a day or two and let your brain relax! Don’t overtax your senses – spend some time away from civilization to recharge your batteries and reduce any worries. This will increase your longevity and you’ll return to work twice as good as before.

Have an active sex life. Research has shown that people who have orgasms on a regular basis can postpone, and possibly completely avoid depression. And another report in the American Journal of Cardiology indicated that having sex two or three times a week reduces your risk of heart attacks. So go ahead and make "sweet love" to your spouse – it’ll strengthen your relationship as well as keep you healthy and vibrant.

Laugh throughout your day. A study conducted by the University of Maryland reported that laughing for 15 minutes in one day can improve the blood flow to the heart up to a huge 50%, which means your risk of heart problems goes down. And laughing throughout the day reduces your stress levels and you learn to take things lightly, which means you can better handle any situation your bad boss throws at you with ease!

Spend time with friends and family. Man is, after all, a social animal. Interact with the people around you, particularly those who make you laugh and smile. Take time off work to go on a vacation with your friends; take a stroll in the park with your spouse – it reduces your stress marvelously! Being connected will help you avoid depression, which is a major cause of premature death in older adults.

When you have someone to spend time with, you’re not lonely and you have someone to watch your back and take care of you when you need it. So go have fun with your family and friends!

All the best, 

Dr. Antwala