A recent report published by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that Americans can expect to live 78.6 years. This is a 0.1 drop from the previous year, and authorities predict that 2017 will show yet another decrease in US life expectancy. It’s bleak news, but there’s still lots of hope.

The top three leading causes of death are heart disease, then cancer, and then unintentional injuries. Unintentional injuries refers to accidental drug overdoses, particularly opioid overdoses – a growing epidemic within the United States, which may lead to an even shorter life expectancy in next year’s report.

So, what can you do to stay young and healthy when the data is showing that the exact opposite is happening to so many Americans?

It’s important to remember that health is very individual and what you choose to do every day can have a huge impact on your health and well being. The three leading causes of death are powerful and intimidating: heart disease, cancer and drug overdose. However, you can stay strong and well by doing three simple things:

  1. Eat a balanced, healthy diet
  2. Exercise three to four times per week
  3. Don’t smoke

These might sound oversimplified, but living this kind of lifestyle can help prevent heart disease and cancer. This in turn, can help you avoid powerful pain medications, like opioids.

It’s true that statistics show that Americans are living shorter lives. But this can inspire you and me to make healthy changes to stay strong and young for years to come.

If vegetables aren’t appealing to you, they probably don’t take up much space on your lunch and dinner plate. So, why not enjoy them for dessert? Unconventional, I know and maybe it sounds like an oxymoron. But vegetables, like sweet potato, pumpkin and parsnips, are the magic ingredient in these three delicious sweet breads, and they’re a delicious way to sneak veggies into your diet. 

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