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A longevity doctor shares 5 simple things she does to try to live longer

Serafina Kenny   

A longevity doctor shares 5 simple things she does to try to live longer
  • Dr. Florence Comite is a precision medicine doctor whose focus is helping her patients live longer.
  • She does five things that she hopes will boost her longevity.

A precision medicine doctor shared the five simple things she does to try to live longer with Business Insider.

Longevity is a buzzy topic, with characters like multimillionaire tech exec Bryan Johnson spending $2 million a year on experimental treatments, and health tech companies trying to muscle in on the burgeoning interest.

Luckily, for those of us who don't have the funds or inclination for treatments that have little evidence to back them up, research suggests that it's actually the simple stuff that helps us live longer — a good diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep.

Here's what that looks like for Dr. Florence Comite, an endocrinologist and founder of the New York-based Comite Center for Precision Medicine & Health.

Prioritize protein

Comite eats at least one gram per kilogram of her body weight in protein each day to maintain her muscle mass. The body loses muscle mass as it ages, leading to weakness and poorer mobility, so maintaining it helps healthy aging. Protein also has other roles in the body including enabling healing and the creation of hormones.

Comite previously shared her high-protein breakfast smoothie with BI.

Do a variety of exercises

Like eating lots of protein, resistance or strength training also helps to maintain muscle mass. Comite does resistance training, such as lifting weights, twice a week.

She balances that out with aerobic exercise, or cardio, two to three times a week. Examples of cardio exercise include walking, running, and swimming.

A recent study found that doing both resistance and cardio reduced participants' risk of early death by 41%.

Eat dark chocolate

Comite sees dark chocolate as a supplement because of the flavonoids in cocoa. They're associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterolm and improved blood flow to the brain, which early research in mice suggests could prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

She eats chocolate with 70 to 90% cocoa solid content because it contains far less sugar than milk chocolate.

Comite previously shared five other supplements she takes regularly with BI.

Don't drink alcohol often

Comite doesn't drink alcohol often, apart from the odd glass of wine or tequila.

Although there are a few studies that suggest alcohol may benefit health, a large 2023 review of studies with 4.8 million participants found that female drinkers were more likely to die than non-drinkers. A separate 2022 study found that regular drinkers lost an average of 6.9 years of life.

The World Health Organization says that no amount of alcohol is safe for health.

Take astragalus

Comite also experiments with taking astragalus, a herb that has adaptogenic properties, meaning it could in theory help protect against stress, cell damage, and diseases such as cancer and diabetes, according to Mount Sinai.

However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says there are no high-quality human studies that show it can help any with any health condition.

Comite told BI that within six months of taking astragalus, her eyesight improved and she no longer needs reading glasses.

"I went back to get tested at Yale. I saw my ophthalmologist and he said to me, 'You've turned back the clock. Your eyes look like your eyes 20 years ago,'" she said.

There is some evidence that astragalus can improve eyesight in eyes affected by retinopathy, which is when the backs of the eyes are damaged by high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes — but this evidence is from studies done on mice so it may not relate to humans.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health warns that taking astragalus orally might have the following side effects: rash, itching, nasal symptoms, and stomach discomfort. Astragalus could also interact with medications that suppress the immune system, and research in animals suggests it might not be safe to take while pregnant, according to the NCCIH.

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