DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — A new study finds that the risk of premature death from any cause can be reduced by nearly 20%, simply by eating more of the foods you choose from four healthy diets.
People who strictly followed a healthy diet that focused on eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes were less likely to die from cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and neurodegenerative diseases.
The study results, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, show that “there is more than one way to eat well and reap the associated health benefits,” according to Dr. David Katz, an expert in lifestyle medicine who did not participate in the study.
Study co-author Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and director of nutrition at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said people are often bored with only one way to eat. our own healthy diets, which can be adapted to individual dietary preferences, health conditions and cultures.”
وتابع أنه “على سبيل المثال، إذا كنت تتناول طعامًا متوسطيًا صحيًا، وبعد بضعة أشهر ترغب بتجربة أمر مختلف، يمكنك استبداله بحمية DASH (الأساليب الغذائية لوقف ارتفاع ضغط الدم) أو بنظام غذائي شبه نباتي، أو يمكنك اتباع الإرشادات الغذائية الأمريكية وإنشاء طبق الأكل الصحي Your”.
Long term study
The study tracked the eating habits of 75,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 44,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study over 36 years. None of the men and women had cardiovascular disease at the start of the study, and very few smoked. All completed dietary questionnaires every four years.
“This is one of the largest and longest cohort studies examining recommended diets and long-term risks of premature mortality and other major diseases,” Hu said.
He and his team scored participants on how well they adhered to four healthy eating habits consistent with current dietary guidelines in the United States.
One of them, the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes the consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish and a large amount of olive oil, has said Hu, “Focuses on healthy fats, especially monounsaturated fats, in addition to plant foods and drinking alcohol in moderation.
The following diet is based on a healthy vegan diet, which also focuses on consuming more plant products, but scores negative points for various animal products and any type of alcohol.
“You can imagine that vegans are likely to be at the top of this food ranking, and those who eat a lot of animal products or foods high in processed carbohydrates will be at the bottom of this list,” he said. he noted.
The Healthy Eating Index tracks people if they follow the US Dietary Guidelines, which emphasize healthy plant-based foods, frown on red and processed meat, and discourage consumption of added sugar, unhealthy fats and alcohol, Hu said.
He added that the Alternative Healthy Eating Index was developed at Harvard University and uses “the best available evidence” to include foods and nutrients strongly associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease.
“We explicitly included nuts, seeds, and whole grains, as well as consuming less red and processed meats and sugary drinks.” “Alcoholic beverages are permitted in moderation,” he continued.
Results by disease
After recording each person’s eating habits, participants were divided into five groups, from highest to lowest adherence to one or more eating habits.
Katz, president and founder of the nonprofit organization True Health Initiative, a global coalition of experts specializing in evidence-based lifestyle medicine, said: “The top quintile (in the list) of the Diet quality relative to the bottom quintile was associated with nearly a 20% decrease from all causes.
Hu said the study also found a lower risk of dying from certain chronic diseases if people improved their diets over time.
He noted that participants who improved the health of their diet by 25% may have reduced their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 6-13% and cancer by 7-18%. There was also a reduction of up to 7% in the risk of dying from neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia.
“The reduction in deaths from respiratory diseases is actually much greater, which reduced the risk by 35 to 46 percent,” Hu said.
The study relied on participants’ self-reports of food preferences and therefore only showed an association, not a direct cause and effect, between dietary habits and health outcomes. However, the fact that the study asks about diets every four years over such a long period adds value to the results, according to Hu.
What is the conclusion of this vast and long study?
“It’s never too late to adopt healthy eating habits, and the benefits of healthy eating can be significant in terms of reducing overall premature mortality and various causes of premature death,” Hu said.
People also have a lot of flexibility to create their own healthy eating pattern. But the common principles, like eating more plant-based foods and less red and processed meats, added sugar and sodium, should be there no matter what type of diet people want to follow.
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