A study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which analyzed 74,000 adults over 24 years, found improving the quality of your diet to include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish and less red and processed meats and sugary beverages, may significantly reduce risk of premature death.
The study, which looked at diet over a 12-year period (1986-1998) and the subject’s risk of dying over the next 12 years (1998-2010), found that increasing healthy foods in your diet is associated with lower risk of total and cardiovascular death. The Mediterranean Diet or DASH Diet were considered to be best examples.
The researchers found that swapping one serving of red or processed meat daily for a better option was linked to an 8% to 17% decrease in risk of death. Among those who had relatively unhealthy diets at the beginning of the study but whose diet scores improved the most, the risk of death in subsequent years was also significantly reduced.
Lead author Mercedes Sotos-Priet says that, “Our study indicates that even modest improvements in diet quality could meaningfully influence mortality risk and conversely, worsening diet quality may increase the risk.”
The study was published in the July 13, 2017 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
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