In research, the nutritional behavior of more than 400,000 people was tracked, which helped determine which foods should be preferred and avoided to live longer.
Every bite, every choice about what we eat or stop eating directly affects our quality of life, and often for its duration. To what extent do the types of foods we choose daily influence our quality of life? A group of scientists conducted a study and their conclusions are surprising.
It is not always easy to choose a healthy food over another that may be harmful. However, research shows that eating healthier foods can have considerable health benefits, especially in the long term.
A new study analyzed data on the dietary intake and health outcomes of nearly half a million people and found that switching to and sticking to a healthy diet can add up to 10 years to your life. What are these foods that help prolong the quality of life?
These are the foods that can increase life expectancy by up to 10 years
The team of scientists, led by Lars Fadnes, a public health researcher at the University of Bergen in Norway, managed to model the life expectancy of some 467,354 people who documented their eating habits as part of the long-term study of UK Biobank which started in 2006. The study was recently published in the Natural Foods Magazine.
The researchers grouped the participants based on their eating habits and observed how they changed over time. They identified average and unhealthy eaters, as well as people whose food intake matched that of their diet. Eatwell Guide from the United Kingdom and others who followed a diet that researchers called the longevity regime.
“The body needs many nutrients to be healthy, So sometimes we find ourselves, for example, with only three meals and little variety of nutrients. » explains the nutritionist Dávila Vespucio Clinic, Paulina Mella .
Given this, what the specialist recommends is that there be a greater variety of nutrients during the diet. For example, vegetables, fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates, which also help to have energy.
After adjusting for smoking, alcohol and physical activity, Researchers found that men and women in their 40s who successfully made lasting changes to their unhealthy diets By following the recommendations of the Eatwell Guide, they gained around 9 years of life expectancy.
These are the foods that can increase life expectancy
Those who gave up sugary drinks and processed meats in favor of a diet rich in whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and moderate amounts of fish They added 10 more years to their life expectancy.
Smaller increases in life expectancy were observed among people who ate an average diet early on and those who improved their eating habits later in life.
“The greater the changes towards healthier eating habits, the greater the expected gains in life expectancy,” the team explained. in the published article . Furthermore, they added that “as expected, “The expected gains in life expectancy are smaller when dietary change begins at older ages, but they remain substantial.”
The nutritionist and diabetologist of UC Christus Clinic, Dr. Javier Vega, explains that this study should also be interpreted from the perspective of foods that shorten quality of life. ““Products high in processed items, high in sugar and red meat increase the risk of several things, one of which increases the cardiovascular risk of certain types of cancer.” Furthermore, the specialist affirms that the most processed red meat products, unlike white meat, have a greater potential for generating oxidative damage.
The people People aged 70 could extend their life expectancy by another 4 to 5 years if they adopted a healthy diet sustainably whether according to the Eatwell Guide or the Longevity Diet, the researchers discovered.
“It is extremely important to have an eating routine because it often happens that after the age of 70 the body begins to emit quieter signals,” explains Mella. As age advances, as he explains, the signal of thirst and hunger begins to diminish, which directly influences the diet that older people may have.
Foods that can increase life expectancy by up to 10 years
Other previous studies have shown how various healthy eating habits that reflect dietary guidelines are linked to a lower risk of premature death among citizens.
Although this new analysis was carried out in the UK, broadening the geographic scope of these studies, the same caveats apply to all population-level data. For example, The UK Biobank does not measure rice consumption, which is particularly important for many migrant groups, so the results may not be generalizable to all.
Likewise, the researchers acknowledge that although their analysis noted lasting changes in diet, “Maintaining lifestyle changes over time with dietary improvements can be challenging, and for many, eating habits fluctuate over time.
For others, the challenge is not motivation, but access. Health authorities may recommend that people follow a healthy diet but access to affordable and nutritious food is a systemic problem and a issue public health problems that government policies can help resolve.
Researchers highlight the role of food taxes and subsidies, which aim to make Healthy foods are more affordable than unhealthy foods . A 2017 study estimated that such policies aimed at taxing unhealthy products like sugary drinks while subsidizing healthy options could save 60,000 lives in the United States each year.
There nutritionist at the Clínica Universidad de Los Andes, Alejandra Alarcón puts forward the idea that in addition to following a special diet, The important thing is to make changes that last over time and are considered a life habit. “A good diet not only improves life expectancy, but, at the same time, the quality of life allows us to be healthier. At this stage, the State has a role to play in promoting healthy living campaigns, where habits are promoted from the first years of life so that they continue into adulthood,” he concludes .