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Guiding Your Clients to Build Longevity-Enhancing Habits

Helping Clients Develop Habits for a Longer, Healthier Life

Habits significantly influence overall health, affecting both quality of life and longevity. As a nutrition professional, you can guide your clients in forming positive dietary and lifestyle habits that enhance their lifespan and lower the risk of chronic diseases. From plant-based diets to sleep hygiene, here are some science-backed tips to improve longevity.

Science indicates that improving nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote a long, healthy life. However, many daily activities stem from bad habits that can jeopardize longevity.

As a nutrition professional, you can assist your clients in establishing new habits that reduce the risk of premature death and extend their lifespan. But how long does it take to develop a new habit, and what are some effective ways to encourage lifestyle and dietary changes?

Before exploring science-backed tips for longevity, let's first discuss the importance of habits and how you can help your clients establish positive ones to improve their lifespan.

Why Are Habits Important?

Habits are routines of behavior repeated regularly and often occur subconsciously [1]. Whether positive or negative, habits significantly influence overall health and can affect quality of life and longevity.

How to Help Your Clients Establish Positive Habits

Starting a new habit can be challenging for your nutrition clients. Since habits don't form overnight, here are some strategies to help your clients establish positive habits that will stick:

Utilize a Current Routine: It's easier to remember a new habit when it's paired with an existing one. For instance, suggest placing new supplements on the bathroom counter so your client remembers to take them after brushing their teeth.

Start Small: If a new habit is too complex, it may not stick. Begin with simple changes, such as going to bed 10 minutes earlier or adding an extra portion of spinach to a morning smoothie. Gradually increase the changes as these behaviors become routine.

Do It Every Day: Research indicates it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit [2]. Small, consistent behaviors lead to lasting changes, so encourage daily practice rather than attempting large changes all at once.

Habits to Improve Longevity

All positive habits benefit overall health, but some have a direct impact on lifespan. Here are some science-backed habits to enhance longevity:

Focus on Plant Foods: Research shows that a diet rich in plant-based foods—such as leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats—offers tremendous health benefits, including reduced risks of chronic disease, depression, metabolic syndrome, and premature death [3]. Nutrients like fiber and antioxidants (carotenoids, folate, and vitamin C) in plant foods are anti-inflammatory and promote longevity by aiding weight management, improving gut health, and lowering cholesterol [4,5]. Studies link vegetarian and vegan diets to a 12-15% lower risk of premature death [6].

To help your clients benefit from plant foods, incorporate them into personalized meal plans and provide tips for increasing intake. Suggestions include adding black beans to soup, topping whole grain toast with avocado, or enjoying bell peppers with hummus.

Drink Coffee or Tea: Moderate consumption of plain coffee or tea can benefit healthy aging and longevity, with regular drinkers experiencing a 20-30% lower risk of premature death [7]. Compounds in green tea (polyphenols and catechins) reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease [8]. Coffee's antioxidants are linked to lower risks of certain cancers, brain diseases, and premature death [9].

Encourage clients to enjoy a few cups of plain coffee or tea daily to boost longevity. However, advise against consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine per day to avoid sleep cycle disruptions and mental health issues.

Stay Physically Active: Regular physical activity reduces chronic disease risk, enhances muscle strength, and extends lifespan. Even small amounts of exercise make a difference; 15 minutes of daily exercise can add three years to one's life, and meeting the recommended 150 minutes per week reduces early death risk by 28% [10].

Use activity logs to help clients stay motivated and track their physical activity goals, fostering better habits and longer lifespans.

Make Positive Lifestyle Changes: Encourage clients to make lifestyle changes like reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking. Excessive alcohol intake (<2 drinks/day) is linked to chronic diseases, cancers, and mental deterioration, increasing premature death risk by 20% [11,15]. Smoking is associated with higher cancer and disease risks, chronic inflammation, and increased mortality. Smokers lose up to 10 years of life compared to non-smokers, but quitting before 40 reduces the risk of dying by 90% and can add up to 8 years of life [12,13,14].

Improve Sleep Habits: Sleep is crucial for health, affecting immune function, weight maintenance, stress reduction, and mental clarity. Chronic sleep deprivation increases early death risk by 12% and is linked to inflammation, heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke [16,17,18]. Encourage clients to aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and support them nutritionally to improve sleep quality.


Habits significantly impact overall health, quality of life, and longevity. As a nutrition professional, you can help clients establish positive dietary and lifestyle habits to extend their lifespan and reduce chronic disease risk. From eating more plant foods to drinking coffee and improving sleep, there are many ways to support your clients in developing habits that enhance longevity and well-being.


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  15. Washington University School of Medicine. (2018, October 3). Even light drinking increases the risk of death: At any age, daily drinkers are 20 percent more likely to die prematurely than less frequent drinkers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 13, 2022 from

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  17. Miller, M. A., & Cappuccio, F. P. (2007). Inflammation, sleep, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Current vascular pharmacology, 5(2), 93–102.

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