Exceed average life expectancy in the UK: 5 longevity tips

In 2023, the UK’s life expectancy is an average of 81 years, with women typically outliving men. Our article at Avea explores why, with advancements in healthcare, the odds of living to 90 or 100 are higher than you might expect.

From genetic predispositions to lifestyle choices and environmental impacts, we will investigate the complex interplay of elements that define how long and how well the UK’s population lives.

Turns out there are some science-backed ways to beat the average life expectancy in the UK!

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Average life expectancy in the UK

Life expectancy in the UK

When it comes to longevity, data often lead the way. As of 2023, the average UK man’s life journey is around 79 years, with women living around 83.

These numbers, while significant, take on new contexts when compared to other countries. 

Spain, renowned for its Mediterranean lifestyle and robust healthcare system, showcases a higher life expectancy, showing the profound impact of national health policies and cultural practices on longevity. The current life expectancy for Spain in 2023 is 83.99 years, a 0.15% increase from 2022.

And the narrative extends beyond the European shores. Globally, 2023 has seen countries reaching the zenith of life expectancy, setting new benchmarks in longevity.

Hong Kong, for instance, boasts an impressive life expectancy of 86.5 years, highlighting the potential for achieving greater longevity under the right conditions.

While some nations enjoy life spans that were once thought to be science fiction, others still struggle to overcome challenges that drastically shorten our lives.

There is a definite contrast: on one end, nations are setting records in longevity, and on the other, some still grapple with significantly lower figures.

Latest research tells us that this disparity between longevity of different nations have little to do with genes, but more with our daily habits and environment.

Certain regions of the world host the most centenerians, living well, and not just longer. These regions have been termed as the ‘’Blue Zones’’. You might have heard of it on Netflix, they’re all living the slow life, quite different from what we’re accustomed to in the UK.

Learn the Blue Zones 101.

In a nutshell, you have more power over your longevity than your genes.

Lifestyle choices that reduce life expectancy in the UK

  1. Smoking
  2. Poor diet and obesity
  3. Excessive alcohol consumption and drug abuse
  4. Poor quality housing
  5. Less access to green space

When you break down the key factors affecting the average UK life expectancy, you can see that those who are wealthier tend to enjoy better health and longer lives, thanks to better access to health care, more nutritious diets, and the ability to afford healthier lifestyles.

Wealthier people tend to have better education, as in, they have more access to information pertaining to health and well-being, as well as the resources they need to make healthier choices. 

Some jobs also carry higher health risk than others, be it in hazardous environments or under stressful conditions.

Top 5 causes of death in the UK 

Chronic diseases also play a huge role in someone’s life expectancy.

  1. Heart disease

Leading cause of death in the UK with preventable risk factors like high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, and physical inactivity.

  1. Cancer

Over 164,000 deaths annually. Key preventable cancers include bowel, lung, melanoma, and breast cancer, with lifestyle factors like smoking and obesity being significant risks.

  1. Stroke

Caused by medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, and exacerbated by lifestyle factors such as smoking and poor diet.

  1. Lung disease

Includes asthma and COPD, with smoking as the main cause.

  1. Liver disease

Increasingly caused by obesity, heavy drinking, and infections.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are noted as the most common causes of death, increasing due to ageing populations and improved diagnostics. 

Alzheimer’s disease is sometimes referred to as “type 3 diabetes,” a term that has emerged in medical research to highlight a potential link between Alzheimer’s and insulin resistance in the brain.

Type 2 diabetes is also a growing health concern in the UK. It leads to other health issues including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and more.  

Both conditions, along with other health problems, are often exacerbated by high sugar intake and a sedentary lifestyle. Excessive sugar leads to frequent glucose spikes and overall metabolic imbalance.

Learn why are glucose spikes harmful.

The gender gap in life expectancy

Gender Equality Index and life expectancy gap between women and men in the European Union (EU) member states in 2019. The left panel displays the Gender Equality Index (0–100) in 2019 for all EU member states. The right panel displays the gap in life expectancy between women and men in 2019 for all EU member states. The blue countries have shorter life expectancy gap, while the pink countries have larger life expectancy gap.

While lifestyles greatly impact life expectancy, another fair statement can also be made— women live longer than men.

  • So far, we know that men generally take greater risks, have more dangerous jobs, and are more prone to heart disease at a younger age.
  • Sadly, men are also more likely to commit suicide, especially as they are often less socially connected and less likely to seek medical care.  
  • Genetic factors also contribute (sorry boys!), as the Y chromosome is more prone to mutations and X-linked abnormalities are not compensated for in men. 
  • Biological factors like slower frontal lobe development in young men and lower estrogen levels in men also play a role. 

Addressing modifiable factors, such as encouraging men to seek regular medical care and manage chronic conditions, could help narrow this longevity gap. Still, individual risk factors can override these general trends.

Studies show that the genetic component is estimated to be higher at older ages and more crucial in males than females​​.

Longevity is mostly determined by your lifestyle.

Lifestyle choices that boost life expectancy

The enigma of human longevity has more than genetics to it. In fact, research has established that only 25% of the variation in human longevity is attributed to genetic factors.

So boys, don’t worry, your life choices can compensate for your less positive genes. Girls, this one’s for you too; do not solely rely on your genes.

Below are 5 tips to live longer than the average UK individual.

1. Diet and Nutrition

1. Fasting for longevity

Fasting, particularly intermittent fasting, has gained attention in longevity research. Studies suggest that periodic fasting can improve metabolic health, reduce inflammation, and possibly extend lifespan[1]

The key is to find a fasting pattern that is sustainable and aligns with your health needs. Common approaches include daily time-restricted feeding (eating within an 8 to 10-hour window) and the 5:2 method (eating normally for five days and reducing calorie intake for two non-consecutive days each week).

Learn how to fast properly

2. Balancing macronutrients

A balanced diet is crucial for longevity. This involves a healthy mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats (like those from avocados and nuts), and a plethora of fruits and vegetables are recommended. 

Diets rich in these elements, such as the Mediterranean diet, have been associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases and longer lifespans[2]. Avoiding processed foods, excessive sugars, and trans fats is equally important for maintaining long-term health.

Learn the top 10 longevity diet tips.

2. Exercise and physical activity

1. Muscle mass and longevity

Maintaining muscle mass is pivotal for longevity, especially as we age. Muscle mass contributes to metabolic health, mobility, and overall physical resilience, factors that are crucial for a long life[3]

Regular strength training, combined with aerobic exercises, is recommended to preserve and build muscle. Even moderate resistance training can have significant benefits for individuals of all ages.

2. Exercise regimens for ageing gracefully

A combination of cardiovascular, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises is ideal for ageing gracefully. Activities like walking, swimming, yoga, and cycling are would help keep the body and mind connection healthy. 

Regular physical activity, tailored to your own capabilities and preferences, is key in reducing the risk of chronic diseases and enhancing mental well-being, thereby contributing to increased longevity[4].

3. Mental health and cognitive wellbeing

1. Stress management and its role in longevity

Chronic stress is a known factor that can shorten lifespan and deteriorate health. Effective stress management techniques can be mindfulness meditation, regular physical activity, and engaging in hobbies.

These are crucial for maintaining mental well-being and thus promoting longevity. Cultivating a positive mindset and resilience can also greatly enhance life quality and length[5].

2. Cognitive exercises to boost brain health

Keeping the brain active and engaged is essential for cognitive longevity. Activities like puzzles, learning new skills, reading, and social interactions help in maintaining cognitive functions. Regular mental stimulation is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s, contributing to a longer, healthier life.

4. Social connections and emotional health

1. Active social participation

Robust social networks and strong emotional bonds are linked to longer, healthier lives. Engaging with family, friends, and the community not only enhances mental well-being but also has tangible benefits on physical health. This can be attributed to reduced stress, increased sense of belonging, and improved self-esteem[6].

Think of participating in community events, joining interest-based clubs or groups, volunteering, and nurturing relationships with friends and family.

2. Leverage digital platforms

In today’s digital age, online platforms emerge as vital tools for building and sustaining social connections. They offer unique opportunities for staying in touch with loved ones and forging new relationships, regardless of physical distance.

5. Longevity supplements: Addressing common deficiencies in the UK

In the UK, common nutrient deficiencies include Omega-3 fatty acids, Magnesium, and Vitamin D, each playing a critical role in overall health. 

Omega-3s are essential for heart and brain health, Magnesium is crucial for muscle and nerve function, and Vitamin D is vital for bone strength and immune support.

1. Avea’s solution: The Essentials to cover your base

Avea’s Essentials are designed to address these needs with a vegan blend of essential micronutrients: Vitamin D3, K2, Zinc, Magnesium, and Omega-3. This synergistic combination supports the immune system, brain function, and heart health, providing a comprehensive foundation for well-being.

Learn why you should take supplements.

2. Benefits you can expect
  • Completely vegan & highly bioavailable
  • Immune system function support
  • Brain function & vision support
  • Healthy muscle function support
  • Reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Bone & teeth health support
3. Why you need the Essentials

They provide a powerful combination of vegan-sourced Vitamins D3 & K2, Zinc, Magnesium, and algae-based Omega 3, all in proper dosages. These micronutrients are harder to obtain through diet alone and can support optimal health, making the Essentials a smart addition to your daily routine.

6. Life expectancy and cutting edge technology

Senolytics are emerging as a groundbreaking approach in the field of longevity. These compounds selectively target and eliminate senescent cells, which accumulate with age and contribute to age-related diseases and deterioration.

Senescence and senolytics.

The presence of senescent cells has been observed in different diseases including, osteoarthritis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and during frailty. In each disease, different cell types undergo senescence.

Learn more about senolytics.

Quercetin, found in onions, berries, and grapes, is a pioneering senolytic with anti-inflammatory properties and potential lifespan extension benefits. Fisetin, prevalent in strawberries, apples, and grapes, is another potent senolytic, noted for its effectiveness in clearing old cells and even extending lifespan in animal studies.

1. Avea’s solution: The Cell Primer to rejuvenate your cells
Avea’s Cell Primer

Avea’s Cell Primer, developed by longevity experts, comprises these senolytics.

It’s formulated with Fisetin, Quercetin, and Spermidine, aiming to boost autophagy, clear senescent cells, and support cellular health. This product exemplifies how modern science is harnessing natural compounds for enhanced longevity.

2. Benefits you can expect to see
  • Cellular defence against oxidative stress
  • Promotes autophagy for cellular renewal
  • Supports clearing of senescent cells
  • May boost brain health & cognition
  • Science-backed longevity ingredients
  • Developed by longevity experts
3. Why you need the Cell Primer

Natural senolytics like Quercetin and Fisetin are included for their effectiveness in clearing these zombie (senescent) cells,  that contribute to ageing and chronic inflammation. 

And there are even more longevity-promoting mechanisms which can be targeted by the Cell Primer.

Autophagy is the cell’s way of cleaning out damaged components. Spermidine in the Cell Primer aids this process by regulating proteins and signalling pathways, promoting healthy cell renewal.

Learn more how to promote autophagy.

To further combat oxidative stress, powerful antioxidants like Ergothioneine, Quercetin, PQQ, and Selenium, help protect cells from damage, support energy production, and aid in cell repair and rejuvenation.

How many live to 100 years old in the UK?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that, as of 2020, the UK is home to approximately 15,120 individuals aged 100 years or above.

This marks a significant 18% increase compared to the figures from 2002 to 2005, where only 11,200 centenarians were recorded.Yet, centenarians still represent a modest fraction (0.02%) of the overall UK population.

If you want to increase that percentage, start today. Learn how to break bad habits and form good ones.

References[+]

By Aishani Rajarai

Aishani Rajarai is a scientific writer and neuroscience enthusiast. She holds a BSc in biochemistry and cell biology, and a minor in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology. Her mission at Avea is to bring the science of longevity through blog posts, newsletters, podcasts, and social media content to the public, so people can live a healthier, longer, and happier life.

Aishani Rajarai is a scientific writer and neuroscience enthusiast. She holds a BSc in biochemistry and cell biology, and a minor in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology. Her mission at Avea is to bring the science of longevity through blog posts, newsletters, podcasts, and social media content to the public, so people can live a healthier, longer, and happier life.