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Your diet at 40 can affect health at 70, reveals a study

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What you eat when you are 40 years old may affect your health at 70, as per a new study. Here are some of the best diets that can help to stay healthy in later life.

A healthy diet should be followed by people irrespective of age and gender. It may be more important during the midlife phase, as a link has been found between what people eat at 40 and their health at 70. If you go for a healthy diet when you are 40 years old, it may increase your chance of an improved quality of life in your 70s, as per a new study. Read on to know which all diets are associated with good health and quality of life.

Link between healthy eating in midlife and better quality of life

Researchers analysed the dietary eating habits of more than 100,000 people over the course of 30 years. The data came from Harvard’s Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. They found that those who followed a healthy diet from their 40s were 43 percent to 84 percent more likely to be physically and mentally fit at age 70 compared with people who did not follow such a diet. The research on the relationship between midlife diet and ageing well was unveiled earlier this month at a American Society for Nutrition meeting in Chicago.

Mediterranean diet
Mediterranean diet may improve your health. Image Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Healthy diets to stay fit

As per the study, the following healthy diets have a connection with healthy ageing:

  • Hyperinsulinemia diet: Hyperinsulinemia diet is all about low-carbohydrate, and high-fiber foods, with an aim to reduce insulin levels, says dietician Shruti K Bhardwaj. It may control blood sugar levels, support weight management, and reduce risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Planetary health diet: The focus in planetary health diet is on sustainable eating pattern emphasising plant-based foods and reducing animal products. It may improve heart health, and support weight management.
  • Mediterranean diet: Mediterranean diet emphasises on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil, with moderate fish and poultry. Following the Mediterranean diet could have anti-inflammatory benefits that could protect against heart disease, as per a review published in the Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care journal in 2022.
  • Dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet may lower blood pressure through high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. It may reduce hypertension, support heart health, and lower cholesterol, says the expert.
  • The Mediterranean-DASH intervention for neurodegenerative delay (MIND) diet: Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet combines DASH and Mediterranean diets, with emphasis on brain-healthy foods like berries, leafy greens, and nuts. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.
  • Empirical dietary inflammatory pattern: Empirical dietary inflammatory pattern may reduce inflammation through anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fatty fish. It may lower the risk of chronic diseases linked to inflammation, such as arthritis and heart disease.

Key components of these diets include:

  • Vegetables and fruits, as they are full of vitamins, and minerals.
  • Whole grains, as they provide complex carbohydrates, fiber, and essential nutrients.
  • Lean proteins such as poultry, fish, beans, and nuts, as they provide protein without excessive saturated fat.
  • Healthy fats that are found in nuts, seeds are fats beneficial for heart health.
  • Drinking adequate water, but limiting sugary beverages.

This balanced approach ensures you receive necessary nutrients, maintain energy levels, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, and diabetes, says the expert.

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Healthy diet
Have a balanced diet to stay fit even at 70. Image courtesy: Freepik

Are there any side effects of following diet trends?

These diets are generally healthy, but some individuals may experience side effects.

  • Changes in fiber intake can cause bloating or gas.
  • Restrictive diets may lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients if not properly balanced.
  • Strict dietary guidelines can be challenging to follow consistently.

So, slowly increase fiber intake to avoid digestive issues and ensure to eat a variety of foods to meet all nutrient needs, suggests Bhardwaj.

What are the unhealthy diets to avoid?

You can go for cheat meals once in a while, but avoid the following diets:

1. High-sugar diets

These contain sugary drinks, snacks, and desserts. They can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and dental problems, says the expert.

2. Highly processed diets

Ultra-processed meats, packaged snacks, and ready-to-eat meals are high in sodium and additives. A link was found between ultra-processed foods and early death, diabetes, heart disease, and mental disorders during a study published in the BMJ in February 2024.

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3. High-saturated and trans fat diet

Fried foods, baked goods, and processed snacks with hydrogenated oils come under this diet. If you eat these foods on a daily basis, it may increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol.

You must avoid unhealthy diets and focus on balanced, and nutrient-rich eating patterns to support long-term health and well-being.



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