The age-old secret to a longer and healthier life really comes down to one’s lifestyle which includes regular exercise, limiting alcohol intake, not smoking and eating a healthy balanced diet. Good nutrition is key to leading a healthy lifestyle. No major surprise really that those who follow healthy diets tend to lead longer and healthier lives. However with the bombardment of the latest and greatest diets it’s easy for one to get bogged down with information overload. According to leading health experts and scientists, there is a diet that proves tops when it comes to living long and healthy.
According to a new study published in The Journal of Nutrition, veganism may be the secret to a longer life.
The study, which looked how various diets impact biomarkers, found that vegans have the most antioxidants in their bodies.
This is largely due to their higher intake of fruit and vegetables.
In fact, vegans have substantially lower death rates than meat-eaters. For several decades, research has consistently found that a vegetarian diet, which is mainly made up of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and wholegrain, can reduce risk of major diseases and help you live longer.
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A team of researchers at Loma Linda University has shown vegetarian men live for an average of 10 years longer than non-vegetarian men.
For women, being vegetarian added an extra six years to their lives, helping them reach 85 years on average.
The Loma Linda team were also behind the ground-breaking Adventist Health Study-1 regarding life expectancy.
This study was considered the gold standard in the world of nutrition because it was a comprehensive, long-term study that involved a large number of people.
For 14 years, Loma Linda researchers tracked diets, lifestyle and diseases among 34,000 participants who don’t smoke or drink.
The study found that there were five key habits that could help add years to one’s life.
They were eating a plant-based diet, eating a handful of nuts regularly, being active, not smoking and being a healthy weight.
The research found on average these lifestyle factors could each provide an extra two to three years to one’s life.
A growing number of similar studies have linked plant-based diets to many health benefits, including lower risk of cancers and heart disease.
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Sticking to an overall plant-based diet or a diet that includes more plant foods than animal foods could be associated with a 16 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and up to 25 percent lower risk of early death.
Assistant professor at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Casey Rebholz said: “Plant-based diets emphasise higher intakes of plant foods and lower intakes of animal foods.
Animal foods include meat, eggs, dairy and fish or seafood.
In our studies, we did not define plant-based diets on the basis of complete exclusion of animal foods from the diet but rather ranked individuals according to their relative frequency of intake of the foods.”
Dr Michelle McMacken, director of the plant-based lifestyle medicine program at NYC health + Hospitals added: “The higher the proportion of plant foods in the diet, the lower the risk of cancers and cardiovascular events and death from any cause.
“Reason for this is, first this diet is higher in beneficial nutrients such as fibre, plant fats, potassium and antioxidants and lower in potentially harmful nutrients such as animal-based iron, animal fats and nitrite preservatives.
“Second, plant-based diets are also linked to healthier body weights, lower inflammation, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, better blood pressure and blood vessel function, and beneficial gut bacterial metabolites. All of these factors translate in lower risk of diseases.”