Listening to Your Body's 4 Secret Signs

You may not know it, but your body holds clues that could help you prevent serious disease years before getting a diagnosis.

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It tells you when you’re tired, when you’ve eaten enough, even when you might be coming down with a cold, but did you know that your body may also be your best early warning system for disease? New research is finding subtle physical clues that reveal whether you may be likely to develop certain serious diseases. By identifying and paying attention to them, we can all make little changes that could mean big improvements in our long-term health. Learn to read these 4 secret signs to decrease your risk and beat the odds. 

 

Your Height

A Randy Newman song says "short people don’t have a reason to live," but it turns out they may outlive their taller peers. According to a recent study published the National Academy of Sciences, people who are below 5’2” have a greater chance of living to age 100. Researchers speculate that the gene involved with assisting in the body’s recovery from oxidative stress (the cell damage that comes from the radiation we’re exposed to every day, the environment, activity and the foods we eat) is somehow related to the gene that determines height. Their guess is that people who are taller do not respond as well to oxidative stress.

What can you do?

Regardless of your height, if you are concerned about longevity, new research points to interesting ways to lengthen your life.

  • Prevent cardiovascular disease, which is the country’s leading cause of death and disability, through exercise and resistance training. (Ready to commit to a healthier heart? Take Dr. Oz’s Heart Healthy Challenge.)
  • Reduce your calorie intake, which new research suggests can slow metabolism and cell death, helping you live longer. The studies have looked at reductions of about 25%, but if that’s not realistic (or healthy) for you, shoot for 10%.
  • Eat a colorful diet, which will be rich in antioxidant-packed fruits and vegetables.
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 times per week (the more, the better).
  • Log 7 hours (or more) of sleep nightly to repair your cells and generate the growth hormone necessary to increase bone density and lower body fat (which has been linked to many diseases). Get tips from Dr. Oz to improve your sleep hygiene.