Eating a healthy diet could increase the lifespan of young adults by as much as 10 years, according to new scientific research.
1. Healthy diet
There’s no doubt that a healthy and balanced diet can bring a myriad of benefits. According to the latest research from Plos Medicine, an ‘optimal diet’ — which consists of plenty of legumes and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and no red meat — has been developed to calculate the impact of such nutriments on lifespan.
To arrive to these conclusions, researchers have calculated a ‘feasibility approach diet’ — a ‘halfway’ between a typical Western diet and an optimal one that still benefits life expectancy. Overall, the study found that eating healthier could extend lifespan by 6 to 7 years in middle-aged age adults, and in young adults, could increase lifespan by about 10 years.
2. Analysing data
The study was based on a compilation of data from many studies that looked at diet and longevity, based on an existing study from the Global Burden of Disease, which provides a summary of population health from many countries, allowing the researches to iterate from there.
The researches then delivered a comparison of a typical western diet, a feasibility approach diet and an optimal diet. As part of the optimal diet, according to the new study, it is advised for humans to eat 225 grams of whole grains per day, 400 grams of vegetables and fruits, 200 grams of legumes, fish and dairy. Recommended at 0 grams per day are red meat, processed meat and sugar-sweetened beverages.
3. Extending life with nutrition
In particular, the researchers found that this diet would benefit women and men from the US, China and Europe. They also found that changing from a western diet to the optimal diet at age 60 would increase life expectancy by eight years. For 80-year-olds, life expectancy could increase by almost three and a half years. The optimal diet that the researchers uncovered in this study includes many foods that are high in antioxidants, which are known to slow or prevent damage to human cells, which is one cause of ageing. Many of the foods included within this study also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may also delay the onset of various diseases and the ageing process.