How much does a good diet increase life expectancy?
Nutrition is the cornerstone of good health. When the necessary attention about the kind of food we consume is not given and we have lack of the right amounts of macro and micro nutrients this situation can lead to irreversible damage and cause diseases. However, consuming excessive amounts of food is also harmful, as some of these ingredients can cause malfunctions of the body.
Malnutrition causes millions of deaths worldwide each year, and this significant impact has led to thousands of studies (approximately 250,000) being conducted to gain the knowledge we need to improve our health and life expectancy. The most recent reviews and Meta-analyzes of these studies have summarized the findings by food groups that may increase the risk of premature death and that may protect the body. The groups are: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and processed cereals, nuts and legumes, fish, eggs, milk / dairy, red and processed meats and sugary drinks.
One of the most recent studies, published in Plos Medicine by researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway, showed that a change in diet could add up to a decade to life expectancy. In fact, the researchers even developed a new, online calculation model, which assesses the impact of dietary changes on it (https://food4healthylife.org/). This method of calculation could be a useful tool for anyone interested in understanding the effects of different dietary choices.
The results of the study showed that a young adult in the US could live 10 years longer by changing his diet from the typical western diet to a diet that includes more legumes, whole grains and nuts and less red and processed meat. Also that it would benefit the older people who would decide this dietary change. It may decrease as the years go by, but even seniors over 80 have the opportunity to live a few years longer.
More specifically, it appeared that a permanent change from the age of 20 would increase life expectancy by more than a decade for women in the United States (10.7 years) and by 13 years for men. Benefits of eating more legumes (women: 2.2, men: 2.5), whole grains (women: 2.0 and men: 2.3) and nuts (women: 1.7 men: 2) , 0) and less red meat (women: 1.6, men: 1.9) and processed meat (women: 1.6 and men: 1.9).
When this change is decided at the age of 60, it causes an increase in life expectancy of 8 years for women and 8.8 years for men, while 80-year-olds would gain another 2.6 years and their peers 2.7 years.
As expected, the researchers concluded that the shift to a better diet actually increases life expectancy by more than 10 years. The benefits are gradually diminishing and are commensurate with the delayed onset of change, especially as the age of 80 approaches. Increasing the intake of legumes, whole grains and nuts and reducing the intake of red meat and processed meats contributed more to these benefits. Fruits and vegetables also have a positive effect on health, but these food groups are more often and in better quantities included in the standard western diet than other groups (eg legumes).
Many studies have focused on the benefits that a person gets when consuming certain foods or those that harm him. This one examined the issue comprehensively. So we now have at our disposal a way that could protect us from the appearance of diseases and give us more and better years of life.
This is why we recommend people who want to lose weight and follow a flexible diet to choose foods from different food groups, even though they can eat whatever they want to reach the weight they want.