Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference
Have you ever heard the phrase “to cheat death?” With a quick internet search, you can find images of situations where trees fell and barely missed cars or homes that were feet away from being in the path of a tornado. This is the idea of “cheating death,” and in movies and pop culture it often seems fantastic or almost science fiction. But did you know there really might be a way to “cheat death?” You may not escape from a blazing car or jump off a cliff and live to tell the tale, but changing what you eat could have a huge impact on how long you live.
In a recent research study, investigators used years of data to analyze life-expectancy based on diet. In particular, researchers focused on the typical Western diet and noticed that when people change their eating habits, at any age, they experience substantial health benefits. But when people change their habits as younger adults, they CAN ADD more than a decade to their life expectancy. Can you believe it? The simple decisions you make about meals and snacks on a daily basis have a huge impact on how long you live.
So, what is a “typical” Western diet, and what patterns might help us “cheat death?” The study found that people made the largest health gains when they added more legumes, whole grains, and nuts to their diet while eating less red meat and processed meats. The study also saw benefits with fruits, vegetables, and fish.
Want to know more specifics about your predicted life expectancy and eating habits? Researchers built a diet calculator that shows what the typical Western diet is like in comparison to the optimal diet, and the calculator is adjustable! You can input your diet habits and compare them to the optimal and feasible diets laid out by the research team. Based on these calculations, you will receive different life-expectancy projections.
Want to “cheat death?” Check out the Food4HealthyLife calculator below and figure out how much time you gain if you change the way you eat. Then, once you know the best ways to change your diet, consider actionable steps to change. Why not try swapping out a plain bagel for a whole grain one or choose dips that are made from legumes such as hummus. You might even try adding beans to ground meat, meatballs, or burgers! Start with small and feasible changes, as the study suggests, and just maybe you too can prolong your life.