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Specific dietary nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, are essential for health and longevity. But a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that a person’s overall dietary pattern may be what’s most important for enjoying a long, healthy life. The study revealed that older people who regularly eat a diet rich in whole foods such as fruits, veggies and whole grains, live longer those whose diets were rich in sweets, fat, or fried food.
In this study, 2,582 men and women (70 to 79 years old), participating in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study, filled out dietary questionnaires to assess their overall dietary pattern and were followed for ten years. Participants were placed, according to the predominant foods they ate, into one of six dietary pattern groups which included: Healthy Foods; High-Fat Dairy Products; Sweets and Desserts; Breakfast Cereal; Refined Grains; and Meat, Fried Foods, and Alcohol.
“In the past century, the leading causes of death have shifted from infectious diseases to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, which may be influenced by diet,” said Amy L. Anderson, PhD, and her colleagues from the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. “As the older adult population increases, so does the need to identify how dietary choices affect quality of life and survival.”
In addition to eating plenty of whole foods such as fruits and veggies, here are three of the most important things you can do to enjoy a long, healthy life:
(J Am Diet Assoc 2011;111:84–91)
Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.