As a cardiologist and certified personal trainer, Dr Mohammed Alo knows all things heart health. On his YouTube channel, he recommened six things people can do to live longer.

1. Eat a Mediterranean style diet

Dr Alo said: “Without question changing your diet around to a healthier diet is the number one greatest thing you can do to improve your health.”

The Mediterranean diet focuses on plant foods like fruit, vegetables, wholegrain, nuts, seeds and pulses. It also includes moderate amounts of lean proteins like fish and chicken and low-fairy foods.

Olive oil is also used to replace other oils and fats in the diet.

According to the NHS, the benefits of the Mediterranean include reduced risk of having a heart attack or stroke, reduced blood pressure, and lower risk of developing certain cancers.

2. Lift weights and cardio

Dr Alo said: “Having more muscle mass and a higher VO2 max actually contributes to longevity and healthier living.”

VO2 max is the maximum rate of oxygen your body is able to use during exercise.

A 2018 study in Frontiers in Bioscience found increasing your VO2 max can maintain your health and physical fitness well into your later years.

3. Get as close to your BMI as possible

Dr Alo said: “Whatever your ideal body weight is try to get to that or as close as possible.”

People living with excess weight or obesity have an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and heart and circulatory diseases like heart attack, stroke and dementia, says the British Heart Foundation.

4. Quit smoking

Dr Alo said: “If you are a smoker, not that many people are these days, but quit all kinds of smoking, vaping, hookah, whatever it is, quit smoking.”

Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and causes approximately one of every four deaths from CVD, according to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health.

5. Get better sleep

Dr Alo said: “Without question people who get seven to eight hours of sleep a day do better long term than people who don’t.”

Sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity and depression.

6. Reduce stress

Dr Alo said: “Try to reduce all forms of stress in your life, however you can do that and whatever forms of stress you may have.”

Studies suggest the high levels of cortisol from long-term stress can increase blood cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure – common risk factors for heart disease.

Being more physically active, eating a balanced diet, and practicing self care, like going for a walk outside or taking a bath, are just some of the ways you can destress.

If you’re having trouble dealing with your stress, you can speak to your GP.

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