Excessive wine drinking has become such a problem in the U.K. that the government is actually pushing to redefine "wine" across the EU, but they’re encountering some pushback from other countries, including France and Italy.
Health minister Earl Howe wants the EU to lower the minimum strength of wine across Europe from 8.5 percent alcohol by volume to just 4.5 percent.
"The government has consistently made the case for change to the EU wine rules to permit reduced and de-alcoholised products to be called wines," he said.
According to the Telegraph, he claims that the market for low-alcohol wine has been growing in recent years. But while 7 million bottles of lower-alcohol wine sold in the U.K. in 2011 and sales have been growing, several retailers say they still aren’t popular and have stopped stocking the bottles due to insufficient demand.
Negotiations in the EU failed to come to terms over the lower-alcohol wine question recently after other countries, including France and Italy, blocked an attempt to redefine "wine" to include nonalcoholic beverages.
"The parts of the EU that might fight against the proposal to change the definition of wine might be the ones for whom the word ‘wine’ still has a cultural resonance," wine critic Victoria Moore said. "They like to think it’s more than just booze, it carries a sense of place, and history, and is supposed to taste good."
Moore said many naturally low-alcohol wines, like moscato from Italy and German riesling, can be quite good. But the artificial alcohol-lowering process used to make many low-alcohol, wine-like beverages is like decaffeinating coffee beans, Moore said, and the results are "rubbish." In her eyes, redefining wine is the wrong approach because it focuses on wine merely as an alcohol delivery system.
"The more we winnow away at this and encourage the idea that wine is nothing more than booze that has once seen grapes," she said, "then I think we’re placing more emphasis on alcohol than on taste and actually promoting mindless boozing."
The Lost Boys of Bird Island: three apartheid ministers named in paedophilia ring
SOUTH AFRICA - 1970's: Former Minister of Defence, General Magnus Malan photographed in his office. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times)
News24 has released information about three ministers who were central figures in a paedophilia ring during the apartheid era.
Magnus Malan, John Wiley and a third minister of the National Party were labelled as paedophiles in a book titled, The Lost Boys of Bird Island.
Authors, former policeman Mark Minnie and ex-journalist Chris Steyn, saw the country go into a frenzy over the damning allegations contained in their book when it hit the shelves on Sunday.
We all know ministers are given gifts, but which ones do they keep?
David Cameron’s penchant for designer shoes and the State of Qatar’s propensity to lavish designer watches on the Ministry of Defence are revealed in official documents released on Friday.
The ministerial code states that ministers are allowed to keep only gifts below the value of £140, unless they pay their value above that sum. So when they dig into their own pockets to keep one, a picture of their tastes begins to emerge.
In the first three months of 2014, David Cameron became, according to the quarterly transparency statement from No 10, rather partial to four gifts worth more than £140.
They included wine from the prime minister of Moldova, which was kept by the Cabinet Office and used for official entertainment a £150 watch from Interpol and a pair of £279 Oliver Sweeney shoes, both of which the prime minister liked so much that he bought them for himself. He will probably have had to pay only £10 for his watch from Interpol and £139 for the shoes.
The prime minister also kept a gift from Hamid Karzai, the then president of Afghanistan, of a trinket box and one of his traditional Afghan coats.
If Cameron needed a glitzy occasion to wear his gifts, he would have had a number of options, including some revealed by the new documents, which also show government ministers’ travel and meetings between January and March this year.
In a list of guests invited to the prime minister’s country residence at Chequers is German model Claudia Schiffer and her British husband, film director Matthew Vaughn.
Other guests at the stately home in Ellesborough, Buckinghamshire, include the chief executive of Marks & Spencer, Marc Bolland Oxford University’s professor of European politics, Catherine de Vries the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt the editor of the Spectator magazine, Fraser Nelson the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte and Lady Manningham-Buller, the former director general of MI5.
Conservative party chief whip and former secretary of state for education Michael Gove received a total of £1,332.80-worth of opera tickets from three parties – Ken Costa, the chairman of Alpha International, which promotes the Christian Alpha course Martyn Rose, chairman of the Big Society Network and business tycoon Gerald Ronson.
But it was not all high culture: he was also given £500 of football tickets by US industrial group Access Industries.
George Osborne was given a satchel by the Cambridge Satchel Company, which manufactures high-end, vintage leather satchels. As it costs more than £140, Osborne is not allowed to accept it and the satchel is being held by the Treasury.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg’s only recorded gift was of “food items” from the British businessman and Liberal Democrat life peer David Alliance.
The Ministry of Defence was given a total of six watches by Qatar in the first three months of this year. The foreign secretary Philip Hammond was given two watches by the State of Qatar, both worth more than the £140 limit, and both “disposed of” by the Ministry of Defence. Philip Dunne, minister for defence equipment, support and technology, was given four watches also worth more than £140 by the Qatari defence minister they are all being held by the MoD.
Records from the Home Office reveal that Theresa May was given various books, including a Torah in a walnut box by Dr Viatcheslav Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, and a variety of gifts worth an estimated £500 from the Saudi government, including two paintings and some perfume oil.
The minister of state for skills and enterprise Matthew Hancock was given a signed Manchester United shirt by England World Cup footballer Bobby Charlton, and the minister for government policy Oliver Letwin was gifted a traditional tea pot and cups by the Chinese conglomerate the Wanda Group, which were kept by the British Embassy in Beijing.
Prince Philip: Boddingtons Beer
Prince Philip is said to prefer Boddingtons beer above all other alcoholic offerings. In fact, the Duke of Edinburgh likes beer so much that, according to The Independent, he turned down wine from the Italian prime minister in 2000, saying: "Get me a beer. I don't care what kind it is, just get me a beer!"
British Leader Defends Minister’s Letter to Muslims
LONDON—U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron defended a letter by one of his ministers that has offended some Muslims by urging them to show how Islam “can be part of British identity.”
The dispute over the letter, sent to more than 1,000 Muslim religious leaders in England by Eric Pickles, the minister responsible for communities and local government, highlights how efforts to tackle the threat of homegrown extremism in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris is placing a strain on community relations in European countries with large Muslim populations.
Mr. Pickles in his letter, sent Friday, welcomed the way Muslims in Britain had spoken out against the terror attacks but said “there is more work to do” in combating extremism.
On Monday, the Muslim Council of Britain, a national umbrella group representing 500 mosques, charities, regional groups and schools, replied to Mr. Pickles, taking issue with what it saw as his implication that extremism takes place in mosques and that Muslims hadn’t done enough to challenge the terrorism that had taken place in the name of Islam.
Shuja Shafi, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, rejected any suggestion that Muslims must go out of their way to prove their loyalty to Britain and any notion that Muslims and Islam “are inherently apart from British society.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is out of the hospital, says medical staff saved his life
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was discharged Sunday from a London hospital, where he had been treated in intensive care for COVID-19. Word came later in the day that the United Kingdom had surpassed 10,000 virus-related deaths.
Johnson’s office said he left St. Thomas’ Hospital and will continue his recovery at Chequers, the prime minister’s country house.
“On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work,” the statement said. “He wishes to thank everybody at St. Thomas’ for the brilliant care he has received.”
Johnson had been in the hospital for a week and had spent three nights in the intensive care unit. Earlier he said he owes his life to the National Health Service staff who treated him.
“I can’t thank them enough,” Johnson said in his first public statement since he was moved out of intensive care Thursday night. “I owe them my life.”
Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, said in tweets that she “cannot thank our magnificent NHS enough” and that she “will never, ever be able to repay you and I will never stop thanking you.” She admitted there “were times last week that were very dark indeed. My heart goes out to all those in similar situations, worried sick about their loved ones.”
A blood test taken after his son’s wedding showed the House minority leader had been previously infected with coronavirus, he told reporters.
At this late stage of the pandemic, most Californians have been vaccinated. And yet disparities remain. Door-to-door canvassing is one solution.
A new report shows that Orange County officials for years had largely underestimated the threat of a global pandemic.
Johnson, 55, was the first world leader confirmed to have the illness. His COVID-19 symptoms at first were said to have been mild, including a cough and a fever, and he was working from home during the first few days.
But he was admitted to St. Thomas’ on April 5 after his condition worsened, and he was transferred the following day to its intensive care unit, where he received oxygen but was not put on a ventilator. He spent three nights there before being moved back to a regular hospital ward.
While he convalesces, Johnson has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to handle the nation’s response to the pandemic that has infected more than 1.8 million worldwide and killed more than 113,000 people. Experts say those numbers seriously understate the impact of the pandemic because of limited testing and different ways of counting the dead.
Britain in effect has been under lockdown since March 23, and the government is set to extend the restrictions sometime this week.
But Johnson’s Conservative government has come under fire for its slow response to the pandemic — allowing tens of thousands to gather at the Cheltenham horse racing festival in mid-March, for example. It has also faced criticism for its slow rollout of a coronavirus testing program.
Over the last few days, the government has also faced acute criticism for the lack of personal protective equipment for front-line workers in hospitals amid reports that some nurses have had to resort to cutting up garbage bags to cover themselves.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed Saturday that 19 front-line workers have died of COVID-19.
The Royal College of Nursing has piled more pressure on the government, urging members to refuse, as a “last resort,” to treat patients if adequate protections are not provided.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma on Sunday stopped short of apologizing for the lack of medical masks and gowns but said it is “absolutely right that no medical professional should be placed in a position where they have to make that choice.”
“That is why we are making sure we get the equipment to the front line,” he told Sky News.
Figures later Sunday showed that more than 10,000 people in the U.K. have died after testing positive for coronavirus. That would make Britain the fourth European country after Italy, Spain and France to reach that grim milestone, even with its limited testing.
On Saturday, Britain reported 917 new coronavirus-related deaths in its hospitals for an overall death toll of 9,875. The U.K. total includes deaths in hospitals only.
Although the number of new cases and hospitalizations appears to have leveled out, deaths are still rising. With virus-related death rates in Italy and Spain headed downward, there are growing fears that the U.K. will end up being the country with the most COVID-19 deaths in Europe. The continent has had about 75,000 reported coronavirus-related deaths.
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a scientific advisor to the British government, said the U.K. was likely to be “one of the worst, if not the worst-affected country in Europe.”
He told the BBC that Britain has “lessons to learn” from Germany, where much more widespread testing has been accompanied by much fewer coronavirus deaths.
Last week, the British government’s chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, warned that the daily number of deaths would probably increase for a couple more weeks.
Sharma refused to be drawn in on whether the U.K. will end up with the highest death toll in Europe.
“We are at different trajectories,” he told the BBC. “We are starting to see these measures work.”
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British Ministers defend plan for minimum alcohol pricing
Ministers have defended controversial plans to ban cheap deals on booze, insisting they would save hundreds of lives every year.
Government ministers in the UK have defended controversial plans to ban cheap deals on alcohol, insisting they would save hundreds of lives every year.
A similar plan was being prepared in Ireland by Junior Health Minister Roisin Shortall, before her resignation from Cabinet.
The coalition is proposing a minimum alcohol price of 45p per unit, and an end to multi-buy offers at supermarkets and off-licences.
Officials estimate the move will save the British taxpayer millions of pounds a year by cutting crime and health problems linked to binge drinking.
But the drinks industry warned that responsible consumers would suffer, with wine and spirits prices being pushed up. They also suggested the move would break EU law, as imports would be hit by price hikes.
Unveiling the package of measures being put out for consultation, British Home Office minister Damian Green said: "The evidence is clear - the availability of cheap alcohol contributes to harmful levels of drinking. It can't be right that it is possible to purchase a can of beer for as little as 20p."
He told BBC Radio 4's 'Toda'y programme: "Too many of us have seen city centres on a Friday and Saturday night often become a vision of hell. A lot of this is fuelled by very cheap, very strong alcohol.
"The point of having a minimum unit price rather than, say, increasing taxation, is that you can target … the shops that do deliberately sell very strong drink very cheaply.
"It is just a fact of economics and indeed of life that if you put the price of a particular product up, demand for it goes down."
The Government believes imposing a 45p minimum unit price (MUP) will reduce total alcohol consumption by 3.3%, and cut the number of crimes by 5,000 per year and hospital admissions by 24,000.
There will be 700 fewer alcohol-linked deaths annually, according to the predictions.
The department's impact assessment suggests moderate drinkers will spend an extra £7 (€8.65) per year as a result of the plans, while harmful drinkers - defined as more than 50 units per week for men and 35 for women - would need to find an extra £118 (€145.91).
The public purse will lose around £200m (€247.30) in duty due to falling sales and there would be a £500,000 (€618,253) bill for enforcing the rules, plus up to £16.6m (€20.5m) in "transitional" costs for the industry.
But it estimates the health benefits are worth more than £400m (€494.6m) annually and the reduction in crime nearly £13m (€16.1m).
The consultation says banning "two-for-one" and other multi-buy offers "would be expected to result in an overall reduction in alcohol consumption and its related harms" - but admits there is not yet enough evidence to assess benefits properly.
"The aim of a ban would be to stop promotions that encourage people to buy more than they otherwise would, making it cheaper (per item) to purchase more than one of a product than to purchase a single item," the document stated.
What the French doctor ordered: David Khayat on being kind to yourself
Everything is bad for us - chips, chocolate, booze, fat, sugar, salt, processed food and tobacco.
We are constantly encouraged to think carefully about what we eat – lean, green, clean – and how much we drink, or we will all get cancer or heart disease or organ failure and die. This encouragement to deny ourselves is shouted at us from all sides, from governments to GPs to Gwyneth Paltrow, and is particularly loud in the English speaking world, where the wellness industry has made health and healthy appearance – slim and glowy – a moral virtue.
So when a high-profile French oncologist, publishes a book titled Arrêtez De Vous Priver! (Stop Depriving Yourself!), it can seem counterintuitive, especially compared with advice Britain's former chief medical officer, who warned women that every single glass of wine consumed brings us closer to breast cancer.
But the author of Stop Depriving Yourself! is not a representative from the food and drink industry, but is the former chairman of France’s National Cancer Institute who holds a British CBE and a French National Order of Merit and Legion of Honour. He says that the physical health benefits of rigorous denial are negligible, compared to the misery they cause that kale and mineral water will not make you live forever. Teetotal vegans will still die too. Clean living does not result in immortality.
Professor David Khayat, 64, who was once invited to be the Health Minister in France (he said no, because he hates politics) believes that we should enjoy “a few small excesses, without feeling guilty.” He says that constant guilt and denial is bad for us, because when we inevitably crack and have a KitKat or a beer or a packet of crisps, and subsequently beat ourselves up for our lack of will power, this can result in a drop in self-esteem. And very possibly more KitKats/beer/crisps.
Instead, he says, we should enjoy our small pleasures - they make little difference to our longevity, but make life altogether nicer. His book, yet to be published in the English language, advocates “hedonism, joy, conviviality, love and friendship”.
The only thing to which he is emphatically opposed is, unsurprisingly, tobacco. As well as enjoying wine and eating what you like in moderation, he reminds us that life is short and the importance of enjoying the good things sex, connection, laughter, fun activities, as well as delicious food and drink. Le Figaro has praised his book as a breath of fresh air, especially after the deprivations of lockdown.
Fine line between indulgence and over indulgence
“I am promoting balance,” he tells me from his home in Paris. “So you can eat French fries, but not every day – if you have a fabulous lunch, then you maybe want to do a 16-hour liquid diet afterwards, drink herbal tea, that kind of thing.”
The feeling of pleasure gained from what the French call ‘peches mignons’ – literally ‘cute fish’, which translate as ‘indulgences’ or ‘guilty pleasures’ – should not be underestimated. Even the term guilty pleasure seems a contradiction – why should a pleasure ever be guilty? The trick is to indulge, rather than over indulge.
“We are all going to get old, get sick, and die,” says Prof Khayat. “Yet the message is that if we follow all the health diktats we are going to somehow avoid illness and death – this is simply not true. The media promotes this huge lie.
"The dominant message is that sugar causes cancer, fat causes atherosclerosis, meat causes cancer, sun causes cancer, wine causes everything – this is the hygienist philosophy of our society. Instead, let us live normally, and enjoy being alive.”
Prof Khayat is a serious cook, with a professional qualification from one of France’s top cookery schools. He is a big fan of ham, steak and wine.
I tell him I am vegan (for animal rather than health reasons) and teetotal (I’m in recovery). “You are free to be whatever you want to be, so yes, be vegan,” he says. “And if you don’t drink, don’t drink."
He is not promoting over eating or getting drunk in France, despite all the wine sloshing about, getting drunk is regarded as deeply uncivilised, and for all its pastries and devotion to animal fats, the country has one of the lowest rates of obesity in the OECD.
“It’s the same with obesity,” he continues. “Being 3-4 kg overweight is very different from being 20 or 30kg overweight. Obesity is a disease, and again we need to take care of people who suffer from it. The book is not aimed at those with the diseases of alcoholism and obesity, but at the 90% who are worried to have a glass of wine, and feel guilty about it.
“You can have a glass of wine every day. Or two glasses a day, and then some days have none. Or if you are having a typical long French lunch, maybe you will have four or five glasses, but then you have three days without. It’s all about balance.”
Professor David Khayat,
Let go of blame and guilt
President Macron drinks 14 glasses of wine a week – one with lunch, one with dinner – which some health advisors think is too much. Yet when Macron recently put health warnings on wine bottles, French drinkers were outraged. Prof Khayat thinks the wine health warnings are nonsense, yet is totally opposed to getting plastered.
“I am not promoting binge drinking, which is when you become totally drunk,” he says. “We do not have binge drinking in France – it’s not a social issue like in the Anglo-Saxon world. In France, young people don’t binge drink because when they drink wine it is with food – they are not going to bars just to drink.” (According to the World Health Organisation, the top five countries in the world for binge drinking – that is, getting drunk – are Austria, Ireland, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Finland).
Prof Khayat is encouraging us to let go of blame, guilt and perfectionism, and advocates a bon viveur lifestyle, rather than the ascetic totalitarianism of wellbeing regimens. “Eat, drink, live well,” shouts his book cover. “Everything is possible".
“If you eat French fries, and this generates guilt, you then lose your self-esteem, and so you may want more French fries,” he says. “This leads to yo-yo dieting and weight gain. If you are 2 or 3 kilos overweight, don’t worry. Just be yourself. There is no single good way to live. It’s not just food. There are diktats on everything – sleep, exercise, alcohol. The only thing that is always bad is tobacco.”
He says that by becoming afraid of certain foods, we are denying ourselves pleasure: “We need to understand the difference between danger and risk. For example, the great white shark is dangerous, but the risk of meeting one is negligible.” In other words, the odd plate of chips won’t prematurely kill you, whereas only eating chips probably will.
And to balance out the chips and wine, he urges us to embrace things that are genuinely good for us, albeit without fanaticism.
“Meditation, yoga, exercise, education – all of these factors influence our health and the duration of our lives,” he says.
“This is epigenetics – how you live your life will determine which genes are ‘turned on’ or ‘turned off’. But what I am opposed to is the tyranny of the ideal. This is an imposition, and it does not work. Enjoy your life without worry or guilt.”
Eat, drink and faites' l'amour
The effort involved in attempting a perfect ‘hygienist’ lifestyle advocated in the Anglo Saxon world is out of balance with its actual physical benefits eliminating pleasures sets us up to fail, resulting in lowered self-esteem. The only no-no is tobacco.
Enjoy your food and drink
Providing you don’t suffer from alcoholism or obesity, indulging in rich food and drink is perfectly fine so long as it’s not every day. Offset indulgence with restraint. If you have a heavy meal, fast for 16 hours afterwards.
Don’t get drunk - c’est super-naff. Instead, drink alcohol with food. Appreciate it, rather than knocking it back on an empty stomach.
The Greek philosopher Epicurus advocated modest pleasures and indulgences as a way of achieving inner tranquillity. Be Epicurean, rather than binge / purge. Kale will not make you live forever.
Have plenty of sex – the endorphins released help everything from reducing the risk of prostate cancer in men to overall feelings of wellbeing and youthfulness.
Embrace yoga and meditation
For tranquillity of mind and a strong, flexible body – also, once you have reached 50, have regular health check ups. It’s all about prevention, wellbeing and balance.
Best British recipes: Victoria’s secret of the perfect sponge
Making a light, moist, tender cake is the test of a traditional British cook and well worth the effort, believes Xanthe Clay .
Next Saturday we reveal the first round winner of the Telegraph Morrisons Best British Recipes competition. Don’t panic if you haven’t got around to sending in your own favourite. There are 16 more weekly winners to find before we choose the overall winner, so keep those entries coming in.
I’m glad to say there are lots of your recipes for sumptuous cakes. It bears out what we already know – that the British love to bake. The Women’s Institute takes it most seriously of all and their Victoria sponge competition is the cookery equivalent of a driving test.
Producing an evenly risen, high Victoria sponge sandwich cake, moist and tender with a buttery flavour and airy lightness, is the ultimate proof of the traditional British cook.
It’s also one at which home cooks, rather than professional chefs, excel. As Angela Hartnett’s mother once remarked about her boss, Gordon Ramsay: “He’s all very well but can he bake a cake?”
We know exactly what she means. This is an honest, delicious cake it’s not about decoration or culinary fireworks. A Victoria sponge is always un-iced, served with just a dusting of icing sugar, neat but never prim.
As for the filling, according to the Women’s Institute guidelines, a Victoria sponge should be filled with raspberry jam and nothing else. Here, perilous though it feels, I disagree. Adding something rich and creamy with the jam rounds out the flavours.
Sophie Dahl layers her cake with buttercream as well as jam. This has the advantage that the cake keeps better than one filled with fresh cream and won’t need to be refrigerated, which tends to dry out the sponge. But fresh cream is the real deal, mellowing the full flavour of the jam without oversweetening the cake.
Nigella, who is a cream, jam and fresh raspberries advocate, adds cornflour to her cake mix. It’s a trick that American cooks use to reduce the gluten levels in their all-purpose flour, which equates to our strong bread flour. With our naturally lower gluten plain flour, made from “softer” British wheat, it gives the cake an airy quality.
As for the fat, queen of cakes Mary Berry insists that margarine makes for a lighter texture than butter. This is true, especially for the “all-in-one” method, where all the ingredients are beaten to a batter in a food processor. But butter gives a better flavour and, unlike margarine, I understand the ingredients list on the packet. But you choose.
50 Ways to Live a Longer, Healthier Life
If your favorite vegetable isn't in season, grab a frozen bag of it for the same nutritional value.
The editors at AARP have filtered through numerous medical journals and studies to identify the best actions you can take to achieve a longer, fuller life. We know there are no guarantees. But genetics account for just 25 percent of a person’s longevity. The rest is up to you. With this collection of some of the most important longevity findings, you’ll have the road map you need to get to 80, 90, 100 or beyond.
You can eat a balanced diet even when fresh fruits and vegetables are out of season because frozen can be as good as or even better for life-extending nutrients. British scientists found that fresh fruit can lose nutrients after three days of refrigeration, while frozen fruits don’t suffer the same fate. Another study similarly found that frozen blueberries contained more vitamin C than fresh ones.
2. Cut back on pain pills
Regular use of painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen — including over-the-counter brands such as Advil, Motrin and Aleve — may raise your risk of heart attack and stroke by 10 percent, according to a 2014 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel review. (Prescription-strength versions may increase your risk by 20 to 50 percent, even after just a few weeks of use.) Reserve these drugs for severe pain, and use the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time.
Consistently sleeping less than six hours a night nearly doubles your risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a review of 15 studies published in the European Heart Journal. Another study found that consistently sleep-deprived people were 12 percent more likely to die over the 25-year study period than those who got six to eight hours of sleep a night. These tips from the National Sleep Foundation can help ensure that you get good quality shut-eye, even if you’re among the half of people over 60 who have insomnia:
- Make the room pitch-black dark, and set the thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees.
- Exercise every day. It doesn’t matter what time of day you work out, just so it doesn’t interfere with your rest.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.
- Shut down your electronics an hour before retiring, as the light from some devices can stimulate the brain.
- Replace your mattress if it’s more than 10 years old.
4. But don’t always go right to sleep
A Duke University study that followed 252 people for 25 years concluded that frequent sex “was a significant predictor of longevity” for men.
Marriage is good for the heart in more ways than one.
5. Get (or stay) hitched
Marriage truly is good for your health — and your longevity. The prestigious Framingham Offspring Study found that married men had a 46 percent lower risk of death than never-married men, in part due to marriage’s well-known impact on heart health. Indeed, a 2014 study by New York University’s Langone Medical Center found that married men and women had a 5 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
No, you won’t die from eating under-ripe produce, but new research shows that fully ripened fruit has more life-lengthening health benefits. For example, green bananas are low in fiber and high in astringent tannins that can cause constipation. Fully ripened pears and blackberries have more disease-fighting antioxidants. And in watermelon, a deep red color signifies more lycopene, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
7. Don’t sweeten with sugar
A high-sugar diet boosts blood sugar, which in turn plays havoc with your heart by increasing levels of LDL cholesterol while lowering heart-friendly HDL cholesterol, and tripling your risk for fatal cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar a day, and men no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams).
8. Consider extra vitamin D
Vitamin D, a bright byproduct of sunlight, has many health benefits, including a link to longevity. But too much vitamin D increases your risk of dying as much as too little, according to a 2015 Danish study. So you want to get the right amount. Don’t just rely on outdoor time to get extra vitamin D the rate of skin cancer rises as we age, so it’s important to limit exposure. The smart plan: Ask your doctor if you would benefit from extra D in pill form. University of Copenhagen researchers found that the ideal vitamin D level is more than 50 nanomoles per liter of blood, but less than 100 nmol/L.
If coffee’s not your thing, green tea also has proven longevity cred, likely because it contains powerful antioxidants known as catechins that may help combat diabetes and heart disease. In a large study of more than 40,000 Japanese men and women, drinking five or more cups of green tea a day was associated with a 12 percent decrease in mortality among men and a 23 percent decrease among women.
Taking a break from work and going on a vacation is crucial to your well being.
Not taking time off work might, indeed, be deadly. One study of men at high risk for coronary artery disease found that those who failed to take annual vacations were 32 percent more likely to die of a heart attack. And in the long-running Framingham Heart Study, women who vacationed just once every six years were eight times more likely to develop coronary artery disease or have a heart attack than women who vacationed twice a year.
The average American eats one serving of whole grains daily — and that may be just a single morning slice of toast. But eating three or more servings each day can cut overall death rate by about 20 percent, according to a 2016 study from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Have some oatmeal or brown rice, or get adventurous and go for quinoa, barley, even farro.
Eating hot chili peppers may add years to your life. In a 2016 analysis of the dietary habits of more than 16,000 men and women over 23 years, those who reported eating hot peppers reduced their risk of dying by 13 percent. Not a fan of those peppers? Even a little spice can have health benefits. That’s because the body produces endorphins to reduce the heat from the capsaicin in the peppers those endorphins also reduce pain and inflammation.
You’ve been told forever to drink low-fat or skim milk, or go for fat-free yogurt. But research published in the journal Circulation in 2016 concluded that those who consumed the most dairy fat had a 50 percent lower risk of developing diabetes, a disease that can shorten your life by eight to 10 years on average.
Staying adequately hydrated — measured by urine that’s light yellow or straw colored — can also help prolong a healthy life by reducing the risk of bladder and colon cancer and keeping kidneys in tip-top shape. Bonus: It might even help you lose weight. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that those who sipped more H2O ended up eating 68 to 205 fewer calories per day.
A few cups of java a day might keep the doctor away.
15. Say yes to that extra cup
Coffee does more than help you wake up it also reduces your risk of stroke, diabetes and some cancers. And in a 2015 study published in the journal Circulation, Harvard researchers discovered that “people who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about a 15 percent lower [risk of premature] mortality compared to people who didn’t drink coffee,” says coauthor Walter Willett, M.D. Mind you, a cup is 8 ounces, so your 16-ounce Starbucks grande is really two cups by that measure.
16. Live like the Amish
A University of Maryland study found that Amish men live longer than typical Caucasian men in the United States, and both Amish men and women have lower rates of hospitalization. What are the Amish ways? Lots of physical activity, less smoking and drinking, and a supportive social structure involving family and community.
17. End the day's eating by 9 p.m.
Not only is eating late bad for your waistline — sleeping doesn’t exactly burn lots of calories — it also increases the risk of heart disease by 55 percent for men ages 45 to 82, according to a Harvard study.
In a study of 73,000 adults, most in their mid to upper 50s, vegetarians were 12 percent less likely than carnivores to have died from any cause during the six-year study period. The 2016 study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that mortality rates were lowest overall for pesco-vegetarians (those who eat fish occasionally), followed by vegans (those who eat no animal products), and lacto-ovo vegetarians (those who eat dairy and eggs).
19. Eat like the Greeks
The Mediterranean diet, with its reliance on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, fish and nuts, is one of the healthiest diets for both overall health and longevity. Harvard researchers, reporting in the BMJ in 2014, found that those who followed the diet most closely had longer telomeres, which cap the end of each strand of DNA and protect chromosomes from damage. Even those who only sporadically followed the diet reaped longevity benefits, researchers found.
Cutting your portions helps you cut calories, which aids in weight loss and more.
If you want to reach 100, put down the fork, says Dan Buettner, who studies longevity hot spots around the world, such as Okinawa, Japan. Buettner found that the oldest Okinawans stop eating when they feel 80 percent full. A National Institutes of Health-funded study similarly found that cutting back calories reduced blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance.
21. Drink less (here’s a trick)
More-than-moderate alcohol consumption (generally, more than one drink a day for women or more than two a day for men) leads to a shorter life span. Here’s one way to cut your intake: Pour red wine into a white-wine glass, which is narrower. Studies by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab found that people poured 12 percent more into red-wine glasses. You’ll also pour less wine into your glass if it’s sitting on the table, instead of in your hand, says Brian Wansink, the lab’s director.
Money might not make you happier, but it will help you live longer. A 2016 study by Stanford researchers published in JAMA found that people whose income bracket was in the top 1 percent lived nearly 15 years longer than those in the bottom 1 percent. The disparity could be attributed to healthier behaviors in higher-income groups, including less smoking and lower obesity rates, researchers say.
23. Or move to one of these states
If you’re not wealthy, consider moving to California, New York or Vermont, where studies show that low-income people tend to live the longest. Loma Linda, Calif., has the highest longevity thanks to vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists, who live eight to 10 years longer than the rest of us. Nevada, Indiana and Oklahoma have the lowest life expectancy (less than 78 years).
24. Ponder a Ponderosa
Experiencing a sense of awe — such as when viewing the Grand Canyon or listening to Beethoven’s Ninth — may boost the body’s defense system, says research from the University of California, Berkeley. “That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions — a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art — has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy,” says Dacher Keltner, a psychologist and coauthor of the study.
Owning a dog can help lower stress and boost physical activity.
25. Get a friend with four legs
A few studies on the link between pet ownership and health have found that owning a pet can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, even improve the odds of surviving a heart attack. Now the American Heart Association has weighed in with a report published in the journal Circulation that recommends owning a dog, in particular, for those seeking to reduce their risk of deadly heart disease. Dog owners are more likely to be physically active and are also less vulnerable to the effects of stress, the report says.
Do you wake up looking forward to something? In a 2014 study published in the Lancet, researchers found that those with the highest sense of purpose were 30 percent less likely to die during the 8.5-year study period. In fact, doing something that matters — whether it’s helping your children or interacting in a community of like-minded folks — is correlated with seven extra years of life, according to researchers who study people in “blue zones,” areas of the world where folks live the longest.
27. Embrace your faith
Attending religious services once a week has been shown to add between four and 14 years to life expectancy, according to researchers who study blue zones. Don’t belong to a church? Ask to join a friend at her services, or just drop in at a nearby house of worship most have an open-door policy.
About 3,000 Americans die from food poisoning annually, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even seemingly healthy foods — like sprouts, cantaloupe, berries and raw tuna — can make you sick or even kill you, says the FDA. Your action plan: Keep your kitchen pristine, wash your hands and utensils before and after handling food, separate raw and cooked foods, refrigerate perishable food promptly, and cook food to a safe temperature to kill deadly bacteria.
29. Consider mountain life
People residing at higher altitudes tend to live longer, a study by the University of Colorado and the Harvard School of Global Health revealed. Of the 20 healthiest counties in America, many are in Colorado and Utah. Researchers think lower oxygen levels might cause your body to adapt in ways that strengthen your heart and circulation.
Eating a handful of nuts five times per week can lower your mortality risk from certain diseases.
In a European study of adults ages 55 to 69, those who ate 10 grams of nuts daily — 8 almonds or 6 cashews — reduced their risk of death from any health-related cause by 23 percent. As for specific ailments, consuming a handful of nuts at least five times per week lowers the mortality risk for heart disease (by 29 percent), respiratory disease (24 percent) and cancer (11 percent), according to a previous U.S. study. Sorry, peanut butter fans: Spreads didn’t show the same benefits.
31. Keep watching LOL cat videos
Laughter really is the best medicine, helping to reduce stress, boost the immune system, reduce pain and improve blood flow to the brain. In fact, laughter has the same effect on blood vessels as exercise, report researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Studies show that loneliness increases the risk of early death by 45 percent. It weakens the immune system and raises blood pressure while increasing the risk for heart attacks and stroke. By contrast, people with strong ties to friends and family have as much as a 50 percent lower risk of dying, according to a study in PLOS Medicine. So visit a friend. And don’t discount your online friends. A 2016 study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego found that those who use Facebook also live longer, but only when online interactions don’t completely supplant face-to-face social interaction.
33. Watch your grandkids
While babysitting every day is stressful, regularly watching the grands can lower your risk of dying by a third, according to a 2016 study published in Evolution and Human Behavior. That adds up to an extra five years of life, researchers say. They speculate that caregiving gives grandparents a sense of purpose, and keeps them mentally and physically active.
34. Try to stay out of the hospital
A 2016 Johns Hopkins University study found that some 250,000 patients die each year in hospitals from medical mistakes, such as misdiagnoses, poor practices and conditions, and drug errors. Sometimes the best way to avoid a grave condition is not to enter the system at all.
Reading gives muscle to your memory.
Sounds like we made it up, but scientific research supports the longevity benefits of reading — newspapers and magazines will do, but books are the best. “As little as a half-hour a day of book reading had a significant survival advantage over those who did not read,” said the study’s senior author, Becca R. Levy, a professor of epidemiology at Yale.
36. Read the ‘AARP Bulletin’
Really. This and other smart publications can keep you up to date on health info. Studies have shown that when people are empowered with information to make important medical decisions, it not only enhances their well-being but also improves a treatment’s effectiveness. So keep reading aarp.org/bulletin and aarp.org/health.
Don’t wait for annual checkups to consider your health. By then, a small problem could have morphed into a life-threatening illness. In one English study, researchers found that less than 60 percent of people who developed unusual symptoms in the previous three months had seen a doctor. Symptoms that might point to cancer include: unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more (this can be an indication of cancers of the esophagus, stomach or lungs) fever extreme fatigue changes in bowel or bladder habits or unusual bleeding. Other unusual symptoms that could signal disease? A patch of rough, dark skin could indicate diabetes, and a strange color on your tongue could signal serious acid-reflux issues.
38. Visit the hardware store
Among the most common causes of “unintentional deaths” are carbon monoxide, radon and lead poisoning, the CDC reports. Make sure there’s a carbon monoxide detector near every bedroom, and be sure to test and replace the batteries every two years. Was your home built before 1978, when lead paint was outlawed? One trip to the store can get you all you need to test for these toxic substances.
39. Practice home fire drills
Just 1 in 3 families have a fire-safety plan, says Robert Cole, president of Community Health Strategies, an injury-prevention education organization based in Pittsford, N.Y. “People underestimate the speed of a fire. Many waste time figuring out what to do, or trying to take belongings with them. Everyone should know what to do and how to get out safely.”
Studies show that female doctors are more effective communicators than male physicians.
40. Find a woman doctor
When Harvard researchers in 2016 analyzed Medicare records documenting more than 1.5 million hospitalizations over four years, they found that patients who received care from a female physician were more likely to survive and less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. In fact, about 32,000 fewer people would die each year “if male physicians achieved the same outcomes as female physicians,” the researchers said. Previous studies have suggested that female doctors are more likely to follow clinical guidelines and are more effective communicators.
41. Make peace with family
While we often stress about small stuff — the guests are here, and we’re not ready! — it’s the nagging, long-running forms of stress, such as a family dispute, that put your longevity at risk. Chronic stress hastens the cellular deterioration that leads to premature aging and a vast array of serious diseases, according to long-running research from the University of California, San Francisco. This sort of cell death “turns out to be one of the strongest predictors of early diseases of aging and in many studies of early mortality,” says lead researcher Elissa Epel. The remedy: Come to peace with the people in your life. Forgive your family, forgive yourself, put the past behind you — so you can have more life in front of you.
42. Take the stairs — every day
A study by University of Geneva researchers found that taking the stairs instead of the elevators reduced the risk of dying prematurely by 15 percent. What’s more, a daily stair climb shaves six months off your “brain age,” according to researchers at Concordia University who performed MRI scans on 331 people ages 19 to 79. Gray matter shrinks naturally with age, but less so when people stay active.
One of the top risks for falls at home is throw rugs. Those slip-slidey accoutrements send 38,000 older adults to the emergency room each year, according to a 2013 study by the CDC. Banish these rugs from your home, and make sure bath mats have a nonslip bottom.
44. Beware the high-tech dash
Nearly one in five traffic accidents and more than 400,000 crash-related injuries involve a distracted driver, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports. Top distractions, according to a recent Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study, are cellphones. But a less-obvious risk is using the touch screen on your car’s dashboard.
Yes, you can go carless and survive.
In 2014, more than 5,700 older adults were killed and more than 236,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Per mile traveled, fatal crashes increase noticeably starting at age 70 and are highest among drivers age 85 and older, a highway safety organization says. If you’re feeling unsafe behind the wheel, it might be time to look for alternative transportation.
What’s the best prescription for a longer life? Exercise. And doctors are literally prescribing it instead of medication. “There is no pill that comes close to what exercise can do,” says Claude Bouchard, director of the human genomics laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana. It benefits your brain, heart, skin, mood and metabolism. Even as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking can help (that’s all it takes to burn off the calories of one chocolate chip cookie). Once you can do 10 minutes, push it to 15. Then 20. Start slow, but just start.
47. Just not in the street
Nearly 5,000 pedestrians are killed annually in the U.S., according to the latest federal figures, and nearly 20 percent of those deaths were among adults age 65 and older. If you walk for your health — and we hope you do — stay safe and consider doing so at the mall, a community health center or a park.
48. And go a little faster
The benefits of a brisk walk are real: A University of Pittsburgh study of adults 65 and older found that those whose usual walking pace exceeded one meter per second lived longer. While researchers say they can’t recommend brisk walking as a panacea for living longer, they did see increased survival in those who picked up the pace over the course of a year.
Never mind what your grade school teachers said fidgeting is good. A 2016 British study finds that sitting for seven or more hours a day increases your risk of dying by 30 percent — except among active fidgeters, who see no increased risk.
Need wheels? Go for a smart car.
50. Trade in Ol' Bessie
High-tech safety features have now become standard in new cars. The government mandates that all have airbags, antilock brakes, electronic stability control — “up there with seat belts and airbags in its life- aving benefits,” says one industry leader — and tire pressure-monitoring systems. Carmakers also offer back-up cameras, self-parking features, blind-spot and lane-departure warnings, and forward-collision warning with auto-braking.