NEWS

Simple diet swaps may extend your life by 10 years

Healthy older man at a swimming pool

You may be able to add up to a decade to your life expectancy by switching to a healthier diet, according to new modelling.

The model, also available as an online calculator, predicts switching from a typical Western diet to one that includes more fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish and nuts may add more than 10 years to a young adult’s life and can increase an older person’s life expectancy by around eight years.

Published in PLOS Medicine, the research shows a sustained change from a Western diet, typically high in saturated fat, refined grains, sugar and sodium, to an optimal diet (similar to a Mediterranean diet) from 20 years of age could increase a female’s life expectancy by approximately 8-12 years and 9-14 years for males.

The diet switch taken at 60 years of age may increase female life expectancy by around 6-9 years and 6-10 years for males.

The researchers say the largest gains in life expectancy are seen with eating more legumes, whole grains and nuts, while decreasing processed and red meat consumption.

They have used their modelling to create an online calculator, Food4HealthyLife, which they say can be used by clinicians, policymakers and the public to better understand the impact of dietary choices.

For ways to include more legumes, whole grains and nuts in your diet you might be interested in these:

 

First published: Feb 2022

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