30 Years of Research Reveals Foods to Eat for Staying Healthy at 70

Scientists from Harvard University examined the data of 100,000 people. Many scientists emphasize the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption for a healthy life.
30 Years of Research Reveals Foods to Eat for Staying Healthy at 70

30 Years of Research Reveals How to Eat to Stay Healthy at 70

The results of a 30-year study show how to eat to stay healthy at 70. In addition to the foods consumed, factors such as physical activity, smoking, and social life also play a significant role in living a healthy life free from diseases. A new study tracking the foods consumed by middle-aged individuals up to their 70s reveals the impact of diet.

Presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition from June 29 to July 2, the study examined the 30-year data of approximately 106,000 people.

The study began in 1986 and included participants who were at least 39 years old. Every four years, participants answered a comprehensive survey about their eating habits.

Researchers from Harvard University evaluated participants’ diets based on eight diets with high nutritional value.

By 2016, it was noted that about half of the participants had died, and only 9% had aged healthily. Researchers defined healthy aging as being free from chronic diseases, having good physical and cognitive health, and being at least 70 years old.

Overall, those who consumed more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fats, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy products had a higher likelihood of healthy aging.

In contrast, those who consumed more trans fats, sodium, and red and processed meats had a lower chance of healthy aging.

Researchers found that those who ate healthily had a 43% to 84% higher chance of being physically fit in old age. The study’s lead author, Anne-Julie Tessier, evaluated the findings as follows:

“This indicates that what you eat in middle age can play a significant role in how well you age.”

Tessier noted that they accounted for factors such as physical activity, smoking, alcohol use, and socioeconomic status in their analyses, adding:

“Even after considering other factors known to affect health, such as physical activity, we were surprised by the strength of the relationship between healthy eating habits in middle age and later living a healthy life.”

However, the new study, like most nutrition studies, has limitations, such as relying on participants’ self-reports.

Still, the results are consistent with other findings that show the relationship between diet and healthy aging. Dr. Lawrence Appel from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, commented:

“This joins the ranks of other studies that link healthy eating behaviors in early life with better health decades later.”

Dr. R. Sean Morrison from Mount Sinai Hospital in the U.S., who was also not involved in the study, explained the path to healthy aging as follows:

“As we have long known, the foundation of healthy aging is built on healthy eating, exercising, avoiding tobacco products, using sunscreen, getting enough sleep, and participating in social activities.”

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