Eating the right foods may add years to your life. That’s what Harvard University researchers found in a study of more than 72,000 U.S women.The findings, based on an 18-year Nurses Health Study, showed that women who ate the largest amounts of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains were 17 percent less likely to die during the course of the study than those who ate the smallest amount. Specifically, these healthy eaters were 28 percent less likely to die of heart disease or stroke. Other key parts of the healthy diet include legumes, fish and poultry.
Women who had a “Western” eating pattern that includes red and processed meats, sweets, French fries and refined grains like white bread, were 21 percent more likely to die during the 18-year study period than those women who avoided those foods and followed a healthier eating style.
The study, reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, underscores the importance of healthy overall eating patterns. It’s not about one specific food or vitamin. It’s about providing your body with a steady variety of nutrients essential to your health.
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