We have often heard the saying that the right kind of diet can impact your health. Eating nutritious and healthy food can go a long way in maintaining a healthy body and mind. Experts and nutritionists strongly recommend controlling the diet to manage a wide range of health issues and lifestyle diseases. And now, research supports this claim too! A recently surfaced study shows that a healthy diet has a significant impact on the life expectancy of an individual. According to the research, consuming a healthy diet can increase life expectancy by up to 13 years!
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Bergen, Norway, and published in the journal ‘PLOS Medicine’. The idea behind the study was to find out the kind of food we should eat and the way it could impact our lives. This data would then help policymakers, clinical personnel and experts formulate their dietary recommendations and make informed choices. “Food is fundamental for health, and globally dietary risk factors are estimated to cause 11 million deaths and 255 million disability-adjusted life years annually,” said the report.
(Also Read: Why Whole Grains Are Good For You? 7 Benefits To Look Out For!)
The researchers used data and analyses from the Global Burden of Disease study (2019). They tracked changes in life expectancy with respect to changes in the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, refined grains, nuts, legumes, fish, eggs, milk/dairy, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
Three kinds of diets were compared in the study – the first was an optimal diet, which had a substantially higher intake of whole grains, legumes, fish, fruits, vegetables, and included a handful of nuts while reducing red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined grains. A western diet had a higher intake of processed meats, refined grains, and sugary beverages. The third diet, that is, the feasibility approach diet was a midpoint between an optimal and a typical Western diet.
The results of the study indicated that a sustained change from the western to the optimised diet from age 20 years would increase life expectancy by 10.7 years for women in the United States and 13 years for men. Eating more legumes, whole grains, and nuts and less red meat and processed meat would bring about this impact on their health. Even bringing about this change at the age of 60 would mean an extended lifespan of 8 years for women and 8.8 years for men!
Thus, it is a good idea to consult a qualified dietitian or nutritionist and bring about these dietary changes to live a long and healthy life!