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Healthy diet helps you live longer

Healthy diet helps you live longer Foods linked to longevity

People who stick to a healthy diet are more likely to live longer, according to new research.

US researchers followed the eating patterns of more than 2500 men and women between the ages of 70 and 79 for 10 years. They found that those who preferred high fat dairy foods such as full-fat milk, ice cream, cheese and yogurt were 40 per cent more likely to die than those who ate healthily.

The researchers divided the study participants into six groups according to the foods they liked to eat most; healthy foods; high-fat dairy foods; meat, fried foods and alcohol; breakfast cereal; refined grains; and sweets and desserts.

The "healthy foods" group ate more low-fat dairy foods, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and vegetables, and smaller amounts of meat, fried foods, sweets, high-calorie drinks, and added fat.

The "high fat dairy foods" group ate more foods such as ice cream, cheese, and full fat milk and yogurt, and less poultry, low-fat dairy products, rice, and pasta.

The study found that people in the "high-fat dairy foods" group had a 40 per cent higher risk of dying than the "healthy foods" group.

The "sweets and desserts" group had a 37 per cent higher risk of dying.

No significant differences in the risk of dying was seen between the "healthy foods" group and the "breakfast cereal" or "refined grains" groups.

Dr Amy L. Anderson, from the University of Maryland, who led the study, said: "The results of this study suggest that older adults who follow a dietary pattern consistent with current guidelines to consume relatively high amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish, may have a lower risk of mortality.

"Because a substantial percentage of older adults in this study followed the 'healthy foods' dietary pattern, adherence to such a diet appears a feasible and realistic recommendation for potentially improved survival and quality of life in the growing older adult population."

This article was published on Wed 22 December 2010

Image © NataliTerr - Fotolia.com

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