4 healthy diets that can prolong your life: study
You can reduce your risk of early death by almost 20%, just by eating more food of the four healthy ways of eatingsay researchers who analyzed decades of data collected on more than 119,000 adults.
The study, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that people who ate the “highest quality diet” had a 20% lower risk of early death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases during the study.
Specifically, researchers found a link between a healthy diet and a lower risk of death among different racial and ethnic groups, including Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks, and non-Hispanic whites.
“Best Diet” included four dietary pattern indices (Healthy Diet Index 2015, Alternative Mediterranean Diet, Healthy Plant-Based Diet Index, and Alternative Healthy Diet Index).
All share key components including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, although other components vary in different dietary patterns.
“Our findings support the recommendations of the DGA [Dietary Guidelines for Americans] for multiple healthy dietary patterns for all individuals in the US with different cultural and personal dietary traditions and preferences,” concluded corresponding author Frank B. Hu, MD, of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.
The researchers used health data collected over 36 years from two long-term studies. The first examined 75,230 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2020), and the second examined 44,085 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2020).
All participants were free of cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start of the study.
In both study groups, food frequency questionnaires were completed every four years (starting in 1984 for the NHS and 1986 for the HPFS), allowing the researchers to determine how well the 75,230 women and 44,085 men in the two studies adhered to one of the four healthy eating patterns: Healthy Diet Index 2015 (HEI-2015), Alternative Mediterranean Diet Score (AMED), Healthy Plant-Based Diet Index (HPDI), and Alternative Healthy Diet Index (AHEI).
The researcher rated the participants on how well they followed four healthy eating styles they comply with current US dietary guidelines and finally used the participants’ death records to determine any association with dietary patterns.
People often get bored with one way of eating, Hu explained, “that’s the good news. It means we have a lot of flexibility in terms of creating our own healthy eating patterns it can be adapted to individual dietary preferences, health conditions and culture.
“For example, if you eat a healthy Mediterranean diet and after a few months you want to try something different, you can switch to the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet or you can switch to a semi-vegetarian diet,” Hu said.
“Or you can follow the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and create your own plate of healthy eating.”
The findings were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.