Previously, a number of studies that have examined the benefits of a healthy diet have suggested benefits for specific risks, such as cardiovascular diseases or cognitive decline. Cecilia Samieri, from INSERM (France), and colleagues studied data involving 10,670 women, median age 59 years at the study's start, who were enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study. The researchers followed the study subjects for upwards of 15 years, tracking dietary habits and how well each subject aged – healthy aging was defined as having no major chronic diseases, physical impairment, our mental or cognitive issues. In that definition, the team found that 11% of the women were healthy agers, with the rest aging normally. Healthy agers were found to consume a diet following the Mediterranean (abundant in fruits and vegetables) or DASH (low-salt) guidelines. The study authors conclude that: “Better diet quality at midlife seems to be strongly linked to greater health and well-being in persons surviving to older ages.”
Samieri C, Sun Q, Townsend MK, Chiuve SE, Okereke OI, Willett WC, Stampfer M, Grodstein F. “The association between dietary patterns at midlife and health in aging: an observational study.” Ann Intern Med. 2013 Nov 5;159(9):584-91.
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