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By Alison Granell, Men's Health
Men's Health

1. Next time you're asked, "Soup or salad?" order the salad. +2 years  

Italian researchers found that eating as little as 1 cup of raw vegetables daily can add two years to your life. Why raw? Cooking can deplete up to 30 percent of the antioxidants in vegetables. To eat your quota, fill a plastic sandwich bag with chopped red and green peppers, broccoli and carrots. Toss the bag into your briefcase, along with a packet of dressing—the fat will boost your body's absorption of certain nutrients. Learn 13 more tasty ways to maximize your food's health powers.

2. Learn the Law of Lard: The fat you carry today could kill you tomorrow. +3 years  

University of Alabama researchers discovered that maintaining a body mass index of 25 to 35 can shorten your life by up to three years. (Excess body fat raises your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and colon cancer.) If you're allergic to exercise, sweat with your significant other. A Duke University study shows that sedentary men are 50 percent more likely to work out three times a week if their partners participate.

3. Crack open a fresh can of nuts and extend your expiration date. +3 years  

When Loma Linda University researchers tracked the lifestyle habits of 34,000 Seventh Day Adventists—a population famous for its longevity—they discovered that those who munched nuts five days a week, earned an extra 2.9 years on the planet. Pick up the Planters NUT-rition Heart Healthy Mix, which made our list of the 125 healthiest supermarket foods. The blend contains all five key nuts, including walnuts, which are usually left out of nut mixes. Aim to eat 2 ounces a day.

4. Never forget that your buddies have your back—even when it's hunched over from osteoporosis. +7 years  

In a study of seventysomethings, Australian researchers found that those with the largest network of friends had the longest lease on life. For the average guy, this could add up to seven additional years of existence. Yes, some buddies may encourage risky behavior from time to time, but friendship ultimately provides more protection than peril. So try to learn a few new faces at work, trade lifting tips at the gym or simply say "hey" to that neighbor you've never met. You can all thank each other later.

5. Repeat after us: "There is life after retirement." +7 ½ years  

Or at least that's what you'd better believe if you want to live that long. In a Yale University study of older adults, people with a positive outlook on the aging process lived more than seven years longer than those who felt doomed to deteriorating mental and physical health. Already envisioning decades of decrepitude? Volunteer for a cause you're passionate about: Selfless actions can put a positive spin on life and distract from unhealthy obsessing, reports a study in Psychosomatic Medicine. And try these 18 mood boosters to feel better in less than five minutes.

Provided by Men's Health

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