A new study says eating the right foods can add more than a decade to your life. Published PLOS Medicine, The study builds a relationship between diet and lifespan. Researchers are not only saying that the right diet will make you healthier, they are also saying that they can calculate how many years a good diet can add to your life. And they are happy to share their results.
Researchers have combined two different foods to compare with a typical Western diet. One of the best foods is “take more in moderation” such as whole grains, lemons and fish. The optimal diet also reduces factors such as red and processed meats and sugar-sweetened drinks. They also looked at a “probability method diet” that was somewhere between the best and a typical Western diet. Although the optimal diet was more effective, both foods added years to life expectancy.
It is important to note that diet changes work best at a young age. According to researchers, a 20-year-old man can add 13 years to his life with the best food. A 20-year-old woman can add 10.7 years if she follows a diet. However, it is also beneficial for the elderly. For example, a 60-year-old man can increase his life expectancy by eight years by changing what he eats.
To help bring the numbers together, researchers have created their own online calculator, Food4healthylife.org. It’s not the most glamorous website (and it’s pretty busy right now), but it will show you how different changes in your diet can positively and negatively affect your lifespan. For example, a 20-year-old man may increase his lemon intake and eat less red meat, and the result adds 4.4 years to his life expectancy.
Of course, the study only focuses on diet and does not include any other factors related to longevity, so you do not want to put your life expectancy on the calendar. But it does prove that sustainable dietary changes can add substantial health benefits that can change your life for the better.
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