It is impossible to know exactly how long we will live with many contributing factors beyond our control such as genetics, illness and injury.

However, our lifestyle habits also have a huge impact on our longevity. Diet, how often we exercise, whether we smoke and how much alcohol we drink all have an influence.

Now one expert has revealed four things he personally does to improve his life expectancy.

Speaking to Business Insider, physician and New York Times bestselling author Doctor Michael Greger, shared the things he tries to do daily to live the longest, healthiest life possible.

These are:

  • Eat berries, cruciferous vegetables, and flaxseeds
  • Use a treadmill desk
  • Get his heart rate up
  • Eat calories earlier in the day.

Eat berries, cruciferous vegetables, and flaxseeds

This important part of Dr Greger’s longevity plan is inspired by the longest living people on the planet.

“The most important thing we can do is we can follow the Blue Zones example and centre our diets around whole plant foods,” he said.

There are five official Blue Zones around the world. They are defined as areas where the population lives around 10 years longer than the country’s average and include Sardinia in Italy and the islands of Okinawa in Japan.

The Blue Zone diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet, and is often high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds and low in refined sugar, animal products, and ultra-processed foods.

Dr Greger said: “Basically real food that grows out of the ground.

“I certainly try not to be a hypocrite and try to eat the diet that I recommend to everybody,” he said.

More specifically, he tries to eat berries and cruciferous vegetables daily. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Cruciferous vegetables contain nutrients such as sulforaphane, a compound that can neutralize toxins and reduce inflammation, and berries are rich in antioxidants, which help fight cell damage.

He also eats one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds daily because they contain high quantities of lignans, which are linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Use a treadmill desk

A sedentary lifestyle where you sit for 10 or more hours a day has been linked to greater risk of dying early.

For this reason, whenever Dr Greger works from home, he walks all day on a treadmill desk set to two to three miles per hour. This allows him to walk around 14 miles a day.

“That keeps me from being sedentary, but it doesn’t really give me exercise per se,” he said.

Get his heart rate up

This is where exercise is important and Dr Greger aims for around 90 minutes of moderate or 40 minutes of vigorous exercise daily.

While speaking to Business Insider he was on tour and admitted that getting enough exercise when travelling is difficult.

“This new apartment I have by the airport is on the 18th floor, so I try to jog up 18 floors every day,” he said.

He also packs a resistance band and does burpees if the place where he’s staying doesn’t have enough stairs.

Eat calories earlier in the day

We all know that how much we eat has a lasting effect on our bodies, but when you eat could do the same.

This is linked to how our circadian rhythm works, Dr Greger said.

The exact same number of calories eaten in the evening causes less of a blood sugar spike in the morning, and we absorb fewer triglycerides, the fat the body converts unused calories into, he said.

A scientific review of studies published in 2022 found that of the more than 400 participants who consumed most of their calories earlier in the day lost more weight than those who did the opposite despite eating a similar amount overall.

They also saw bigger improvements in their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

“If you’re going to eat any kind of junk, you eat it in the morning because the body’s better able to handle it,” he added.

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