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Health systems
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Your body runs on three major energy sources: fat, protein and carbohydrates. Together, they power everything from your eyes being able to blink over 100,000 times a day to your mind's ability to process information at an estimated 286 mph. Having too much energy is like drinking too much coffee: your body gets jittery, with your cells and organs working harder than they need to. Similarly, too little energy leaves your body unable to complete its functions.


Your heart and lungs are the engines of your body. Your heart pumps over 2,000 gallons of blood around your body every day; your lungs breath in enough air to fill a swimming pool. Strengthening and maintaining these engines are some of the most important steps you can take to extend your health. Research has found some activities to boost the health of these engines also have a large impact on happiness.

Heart & Lungs

Your body has at least 50 different hormones that regulate everything from mood, growth and development, the way your organs work, metabolism, and reproduction. Think of these little cells as something like the candy in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, each of which can magically transform you. Stakes can be high, then, when these hormones become out-of-balance. 


About 8 percent of your genes work to proactively protect you (or immunize you) from threats to your health. Think of it as something like an insurance policy for your body in case something unexpected happens. Since at least the 1970s, scientists have found that strong immune systems reduce the risk of developing chronic heart diseases and dying early.


Your body has over 600 muscles and 200 bones, which work together to power our internal movements (like digestion) and external movements (like walking). Research consistently finds that keeping these muscles not only strong throughout life, but also in balance with each other, is one of the most powerful steps you can take to extend your health - and can be even more important than your diet.


The body needs 40 different types of nutrients found in food and liquids to function optimally, which includes basic nutrients like water and fat, as well as less known nutrients like specific minerals. Scientists have found that the exact nutrients you need changes as you age and can be quite variable across people, since our bodies each can metabolize food differently.


Satisfying relationships with family, friends, and your community are correlated in dozens of studies with people who are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer. These studies also show that a relative lack of social ties is associated with depression and later-life cognitive decline, as well as with increased mortality.


Stress is a normal, healthy part of life, in part because it can make your body more resilient and better able to fend off health threats. But, too much stress, or the inability to effectively manage it, can erode your body's natural ability to detoxify itself, which, overtime, can damage your cells and increase your odds of a range of chronic health problems, from cancer to Alzheimers.


Sleep health is a function of your propensity for sleepiness and difficulty getting-up. Researchers have found that people who exhibit poor sleep health are more likely to develop a range of health problems compared to those with optimal sleep health, including heart diseases, lung disease, strokes, dementia, diabetes, cancer and early death.


Your liver filters about 250 gallons of blood every day, making it the largest and one of the most important organs in your body. Among its more than 500 functions, the liver extracts about 4 cups of bile (used for digestion) every day and about 30 grams of waste, which is sent to the kidney for disposal. The kidneys remove waste from the liver and other sources as their primary job, but, like the liver, play a broad number of key roles, including the generation of red blood cells and controlling blood pressure.

Liver & Kidneys

Optimism has a surprising impact on your health. Harvard researchers recently found that the top 25 percent most optimistic people lived 5 percent longer lives compared to the 25 percent least optimistic people, even after controlling for social, economic, and health differences. 


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