Healthy diet linked to better aging in older people

Credit: Unsplash+

A recent study presented at NUTRITION 2024, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Chicago, suggests that sticking to healthy dietary patterns over the long term increases the chances of aging healthily.

Anne-Julie Tessier, R.D., Ph.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, led the research team in examining the impact of diet on aging.

The study followed participants over 30 years, assessing their diets every four years using a food frequency questionnaire. The goal was to see how closely adherence to eight different healthy dietary patterns was associated with what the researchers defined as “healthy aging.”

This definition included living to at least 70 years old while maintaining good cognitive function, physical function, and mental health, and remaining free of chronic diseases.

Out of the participants, 9,837 individuals (9.2%) met the criteria for healthy aging. The study found that higher adherence to all eight dietary patterns was significantly linked to better odds of healthy aging.

The odds ratios for the healthiest eaters compared to the least healthy ranged from 1.43 to 1.85. The weakest link was found with a healthful plant-based diet, while the strongest was associated with an alternative healthy eating pattern.

The study also highlighted specific foods that contributed to healthy aging. Higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fats, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy were positively associated with healthy aging.

Conversely, higher intakes of trans fats, sodium, total meats, and red and processed meats were linked to lower odds of healthy aging.

In a statement, Tessier emphasized that the findings support dietary recommendations aimed not just at preventing disease but also at promoting overall healthy aging as a long-term goal. This research underscores the importance of diet in maintaining health and function as we age.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies that vitamin D can help reduce inflammation, and vitamin K may lower your heart disease risk by a third.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about foods that could sharp your brain, and results showing cooking food in this way may raise your risk of blindness.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.