Live long with these tips. Credits: Calaimage/ Paul Bradbury
Bad health habits are literally taking years off your life, according to a new Canadian study. But we have strategies for curbing the worst offenders.
We have bad news and good news. First, the bad: whether it’s being a couch potato, smoking, letting one glass of Chardonnay turn into the whole bottle, or indulging in a giant bowl of chips and dip, our most beloved vices are killing us. Or rather, they’re drastically reducing our life expectancy, says a new study recently published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Medicine. It found that smoking, eating junk food, vegging out and drinking can actually slash almost six years off the life expectancy of both men and women.
The study, authored by Dr. Doug Manuel, a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa, focused on the worst habits, which contributed to nearly half of all deaths reported in Canada. Using a predictive algorithm Manuel and his team created, population health surveys at the individual level were examined to learn just how dangerous these vices can be. The findings were dramatic—“smoking, by itself, was associated with 32% to 39% of the difference in life expectancy across social groups,” the study says.
But that’s where the good news comes in: though their impact can’t be understated, you can combat unhealthy habits—or at least tame them. Here are the 4 guilty pleasures that are worst for your health, and what you can do to curb them.
While only about 20 per cent of Canada’s total population smokes, it is still the reigning health hazard for Canadians. When lighting up again, remember that the overall loss of life expectancy is an estimated 2.8 years. Coming up with a smoking cessation plan can help you butt out.
2. Eating Junk Food
A poor diet can shave off 1.2 years of your life, so we think it’s safe to say that giving into your sweet tooth at every craving is not a good call. To head off that 3pm junk food craving, don’t skip meals, and keep healthier snack options on-hand.
3. Physical Inactivity
With all the hours you put in at the office, it can be hard to find the opportunity and motivation to head to the gym. But yoga, Pilates, running or even going on 15-minute walks will add an extra 2.6 years onto your life. The solution? Changing your perspective.
4. Consuming Alcohol
Drinking has the least impact of these four vices—drinking contributed to a two-week decrease in life expectancy, but we know heavy drinking impacts your health in other ways. That’s why it’s important to drink with restraint.
The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Credits: James Tse Source: Canadian Living Magazine: September 2015
From ultra classic to new flavour combinations, we're sharing our very favourite chocolate chip cookie recipes.
Our best-in-class take on this classic treat has a buttery flavour, a chewy centre and a subtly crisp exterior. Oh, and you can tweak the recipe to make them crisp or soft, too.
Two buttery chocolate chip cookie doughs—one with an extra hit of chocolate—are baked together to make these scrumptious cookies.
Sneaking this wholesome ancient grain into a beloved oatmeal cookie is easier than you think. With just a hint of flavour and a light crunch, it blends in with the oatmeal and adds extra nutrition to a sweet snack. The cookies will turn out little softer and cakier than usual.
Canadian Living has published many chocolate chip recipes, but founding food editor Carol Ferguson's recipe, with a punchy hit of vanilla, is the standout.
Kids of all ages will love topping these chocolate chip–studded dark chocolate cookies with even more chocolate. It's a delicious, messy good time. Drizzle the chocolate using a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off, or just dip a fork in the chocolate and wiggle it over the cookies for a simple and fun alternative.
A chewy, buttery centre and crisp edge make this the ultimate oatmeal cookie. Quick-cooking rolled oats are the key to the well-loved, homey texture, so be sure to avoid instant oats, which will cause the cookies to spread too much.
The buttery-rich flavour of the macadamia nuts adds to the sweetness of these easy and classic drop cookies. The dough can be portioned and frozen to thaw and bake another day, making freshly baked cookies a possibility at any time.
These blueberry-studded cookies are a staff favourite at Canadian Living headquarters. Finely ground almonds replace some of the flour in the dough, adding extra nutty flavour.
These cookies may look intricate, but they couldn't be simpler to make. To create the green centres, place a log of the mint dough over top of the chocolate dough, and roll up. So easy!
Sweet chocolate chips and crunchy toffee bits give these buttery cookies a festive touch.
Rich dark chocolate and fragrant orange zest make these cookies ultra-sophisticated. Cardamom adds an aromatic note, but if you don't have any on hand, you can simply leave it out.
This straightforward recipe for the classic cookie has been in Canadian Living's recipe archive for decades. For a larger cookie, simply double the amount of dough per cookie and increase the baking time by a couple of minutes.
You will need to make this three times in order to have enough to make the fireplace. Bake and work with one sheet at a time, while it's still warm, cutting out the pieces for the fireplace. Once cooled, these cookie sheets are too brittle to cut smoothly.
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