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New Beginnings May Lead to Longer Life

New Beginnings May Lead to Longer Life

The diet changes to make now

Spring, synonymous with new beginnings, new growth, and new life.  It’s quite possibly the most anticipated season of the year – tulips sprout from the ground, we begin to look forward to lunchtime walks, children run around the playground again and jackets are no longer required to be outside.  Seems like the right time of year to share new research that finds the best way to live as long as possible lies largely with eating the foods that grow from the ground. 

Over the years we’ve established that fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and plant foods in general are fundamental for health and longevity.  But, what if you could instantly know the specific impact these changes would make in terms of life expectancy?  What if we could say, just add one banana a day at breakfast, and you could add 8 years to your life.  Well, researchers published in PLOS Medicine are now one step closer.  

Using data from the Global Burden of Disease study along with life table methodology, researchers created a model where they could input specific dietary changes and show the impact on life expectancy.   They found substantial gains – of about 10 years – when plant-based diet changes were implemented at 20 years of age.  The shift was from a standard western diet to a more optimal well rounded and plant-based diet.  They found the largest gains with legume consumption, increasing life expectancy around 4 years.  Followed by nuts and whole grains adding another 2-3 years respectively.  Researchers estimate slightly smaller gains of about 8 years for older adults who implement these changes at 60 years old. 

Published March 1, 2022

 

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