Eating right, staying fit

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Good Food Equals Better Health

Did you know the food we eat can affect how fit we are?

A recent study published in a big science magazine, the “European Journal of Preventive Cardiology,” says it’s true! Healthy eating can make us fitter, especially as we grow older.

Dr. Michael Mi, the main scientist in the study, explained that healthy eating can boost our fitness. It’s almost like adding 4,000 steps to your daily walk!

What is Fitness?

Now, when we say “fitness,” we’re talking about how well our body uses oxygen when we exercise.

This is important because it tells us about the health of our heart, lungs, blood vessels, and muscles. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to guess if someone will live a long, healthy life.

People who exercise a lot usually have good fitness. But even among those who exercise the same amount, some people are fitter than others. Why is that? The answer might be in the food they eat!

How Does Food Affect Fitness?

This new study looked at how eating healthy affects our fitness. The scientists used information from 2,380 adults who were part of a long-term health study called the Framingham Heart Study.

They had these people do a tough exercise test on a special type of stationary bike to measure how much oxygen their bodies could use during intense exercise. This is a top way to measure someone’s fitness.

The scientists also asked these people about their eating habits, like how often they ate 126 different types of food over the past year.

They used this information to score the quality of their diets. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish, and healthy fats earned high scores, while red meat and alcohol lowered the score.

Food and Fitness: What’s the Connection?

After collecting all this information, the scientists compared the people’s diets to their fitness levels.

They took into account things that could affect the results, like age, gender, how much food they ate each day, their body size, if they smoked, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diabetes, and how much they usually exercise.

They found that people with higher diet scores also had higher fitness levels. For every 13-point increase in their diet score, their fitness level went up by 5.2%. It’s like their good eating habits gave them a fitness boost!

Dr. Mi said that healthy eating was strongly linked to fitness in adults, even when considering how much they usually exercise. This was true for both women and men, and especially for those under 54 years old.

The Science Behind Food and Fitness

To figure out why diet and fitness are connected, the scientists looked closer. They tested the blood of some study participants to see what substances, called metabolites, were produced when they digested food and exercised.

They found that 24 of these metabolites were connected to either a poor diet and low fitness, or a good diet and high fitness.

Dr. Mi explained that eating healthy seems to improve our metabolic health, which could make us fitter and better at exercising.

But there’s a catch. This study was observational, meaning it only watched what happened naturally. So, we can’t be 100% sure that eating well causes better fitness. It might be that fitter people choose to eat healthier.

The Takeaway

In the end, Dr. Mi reminds us there are many good reasons to eat a high-quality diet. This study adds one more: it might make us fitter!

A diet full of fresh, whole foods and low in processed foods, red meat, and alcohol is a great place to start.

So, if you want to be healthier and fitter, why not try incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fish into your meals? And remember, try to limit the amount of red meat and alcohol you consume.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that MIND diet may reduce risk of vision loss disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with diabetic neuropathic pain.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that Vitamin E could help reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance in diabetes, and results showing eating eggs in a healthy diet may reduce risks of diabetes, high blood pressure.

The study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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