How to Live Longer, According to the Science
January 27th, 2022 at 11:54 am EST | Written by Doug Hay
Understanding health and longevity advice has never been more complicated.
Between sensationalized headlines on social media and the news, knowing who to trust can leave you feeling helpless and frustrated...
Or worse, headed down a complicated path that may backfire in the end.
For example, a few years ago everyone was focused on a Paleo diet for short-term gains, without any research on long-term benefits. Now we know that a plant-based diet — in many ways the opposite of Paleo — is the best diet for longevity.
To help cut through the headlines, our team of medical doctors, Registered Dietitians, and bestselling authors have taken a holistic look at the latest research, distilling the science down to which actions matter most for your longevity.
What they discovered weren't hacks or new-age tricks, but foundational pillars — like eating a plant-based diet, regular movement, and meaningful relationships — repeatedly proven to contribute to long-term health.
Important: Each of the 5 Pillars of Longevity outlined below can have a powerful impact on your health, no matter your age. The research and recommendations below are intended to give you a framework of simple daily actions that together can help you live a longer, more energetic and healthier life.
Not only does regular physical activity decrease all-cause mortality by about 30%, it has also been shown to increase your life expectancy by up to 6.9 years.(1)
And according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), regular exercise in adults(2) reduces the risk of cancers, dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and depression; and improves bone health, physical function, and quality of life.
The best part is that all regular physical activity and movement — whether you're doing gentle yoga or running a 5K — increases life expectancy. The power comes from consistency.
What you can do: According to the HHS, adults need a minimum of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity — like brisk walking, easy cycling, yoga, or dancing — or 75 minutes of vigorous activity like running. Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least 2 days each week.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and Sleep Research Society (SRS) recommend adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night(3) or risk an array of adverse health outcomes, including weight gain and obesity, heart disease and stroke, depression, impaired immune function, impaired focus and performance, and more.
That recommendation increases to 8-9 hours of sleep for people over the age of 60.
Unfortunately, between concerns around family, finances, politics, health, and relationships, the CDC reports that as many as 70% of Americans sometimes have trouble sleeping.
What you can do: Improvements to sleep hygiene can include diet, reducing TV or screen time before bed, lower alcohol consumption, sleeping in cooler spaces, and increasing certain nutrients like magnesium.
A review of 148 studies found that a lack of human connection is more harmful to longevity than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure.(4) And that 80% of centenarians(5) – people who live to be at least 100 years old – communicate with friends and family daily.
But at a time when we're doing more online than in person, quality community connection can be hard to come by.
What you can do: In person or online, prioritizing frequent communication with close friends and romantic partners, involvement in a church(6), or finding community in hobby groups can all play a part in increasing your lifespan.
A 2019 study of nearly 7,000 men and women over 50 found that purposeful living in your day to day can reduce all-cause mortality(7) and help you live longer.
What you can do: Mindfulness, meditations, meaningful careers, volunteering, and family were all found increase your life purpose.
Rich in health-promoting nutrients, a plant-based diet contributes to everything from a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity(8). And in men, a plant-centered diet can help increase your lifespan by as much as 10 years(9).
An optimal plant-based diet centers around a wide variety of whole foods including beans, leafy greens, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables.
But according to Dr. Joel Kahn, MD, a leading plant-based heart doctor, even a reasonably diverse plant-based diet is subject to nutrient gaps and deficiencies, which can lessen the positive long-term health impact or even create new health issues.
“I advise testing for nutrients like vitamins B12 and D, iodine, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, and supplementing routinely for those that are commonly found to be low for plant-based eaters,” says Dr. Kahn.
“Don't think of adding nutrients as a flaw in the diet, think of it as a complement to the healthy foods you're already eating to ensure you’re experiencing all of the long-term benefits of a plant-based diet.”
What you can do: Adopt a plant-based or mostly plant-based diet has show to be the best diet for long-term health. But to gain the most benefit and remove risk of deficiences, complement your diet with any missing or hard-to-get nutrients through supplementation.
While the recent explosion of research makes it clear the plant-based diet is best for longevity, it has also exposed certain nutrient gaps commonly found in plant-based eaters:
Vitamins B12, K2, and D3, along with magnesium, selenium, zinc, iodine, and DHA/EPA omega-3 fatty acids are all hard to come by in standard plant foods.
And to fully optimize your plant-based diet for long-term health, research shows that you may need to fill the nutrient gaps in your diet with added supplements.
Complement Essential is designed specifically for that purpose, with nutrients that help support:
… and more.
With the 8 hard-to-get nutrients in science-backed dosages, the unique Complement Essential formula helps support your long-term health and well-being, for a more youthful, vibrant, energetic you.
How is Complement Essential different from other multivitamins?
Most multivitamins take the "more is more" approach, throwing in dozens of cheap vitamins and minerals in absurd dosages.
But if you eat a diverse diet, you don't need all those nutrients. And the megadoses either go to waste or could cause harm.
Complement Essential takes a different approach:
No more juggling multiple supplements to get everything you need.
The 8 science-backed nutrients most commonly lacking in a plant-based diet — vitamins B12, D3, and K2, plus DHA/EPA omega-3s, magnesium selenium, iodine, and zinc — in dosages optimized to support your long-term health.
Fully transparent sourcing.
To ensure the highest quality, clean ingredients from start to finish.
Triple testing of each batch.
From individual ingredient potency to final product, each batch is triple-tested so you know exactly what to expect with each bottle.
What makes Complement Essential exceptional isn't that it's a magic bullet or ingredient you're hearing about for the first time on Facebook...
It's how the formula is designed to perfectly complement your already healthy plant-based diet.
No tricks or unbelievable promises. Just science.
1. Does physical activity increase life expectancy? A review of the literature (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22811911/)
2. Second Edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (https://health.gov/our-work/nutrition-physical-activity/physical-activity...)
3. Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult (http://jcsm.aasm.org/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=30048)
4. Friends and longevity: the science of social connection (https://ro.co/health-guide/friends-and-longevity/)
5. Elder Care Alliance (https://eldercarealliance.org/blog/100-years...)
6. Church attendance, allostatic load and mortality in middle aged adults (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal...)
7. Association Between Life Purpose and Mortality Among US Adults Older Than 50 Year (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama...)
8. Veganism, aging and longevity: new insight into old concepts (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31895244/)
9. Ten years of life: Is it a matter of choice? (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11434797/)
* The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.