Switching to a healthy diet can add 10 years to life

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Feb 8, 2022 – Just a few changes to your diet could add years to your life, but the sooner you start, the better.

Eating a healthy diet is important, but most people find it difficult to do it every day. In a new study, researchers examined the effects of individual healthy and unhealthy food types and estimated the impact by age and gender of swapping some for others.

“Sustained switching from a typical to an optimized diet from a young age could translate into an increase in life expectancy of more than 10 years,” say the Norwegian scientists who conducted the study.

They developed a line tool that anyone can use to get an idea of ​​how individual food choices can affect life expectancy.



The biggest overall impact comes from eating more plant-based foods (legumes), whole grains and nuts, and less red and processed meat. Fruits and vegetables They also have a positive impact on health, but on average people eating a typical Western diet already consume them in relatively high amounts. Fish is also included in the healthy list, while sugar-sugar-sweetened beverages (soft drinks) and refined-based foods [white] pimples, such as white breadare among those to be avoided.

The study also found that while it’s never too late to start, young adults can expect to gain more years by adopting a healthy diet than older adults.

“Our results indicate that for people on a typical Western diet, sustained dietary changes at any age can provide substantial health benefits, although the gains are greatest if changes begin early in life,” the researchers say.

Depending on how many healthy dietary “changes” are made and maintained and the amounts consumed, a 20-year-old man in the US could extend his life by up to 13 years and a 20-year-old woman by up to 11 years.

That number decreases with age, but switching from a typical diet to the optimized diet at age 60 could increase life expectancy by 8 years for women and 9 years for men, and even an 80-year-old woman could gain more of three years. with healthier food options.

So far, research in this area has shown health benefits associated with separate food groups or specific dietary patterns, while focusing less on the health impact of other dietary changes. The statistical ‘modeling’ approach used in this study bridges that gap, the researchers say.

“Understanding the relative health potential of different food groups could allow people to achieve feasible and significant health benefits,” they conclude.

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