Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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The path to a longer life is precarious and offers no guarantees. However, a healthy diet is one of the most powerful weapons you can add to your arsenal of protection against various diseases. This makes food regimes packed with colourful fruit and veg a crucial ingredient for longevity, with four diets being especially potent.
With the volumes of research coming out every year, it’s hard to navigate the diet world.
From blue-zone diets to paleo, the variety of food regimes all promise the same thing – a boost for your health. But which one to pick?
Fortunately, the researchers from Harvard University have ranked four top diets based on how effective they are at lowering the risk of early death.
While the diets differ slightly, they all stress that eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes is key.
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The Healthy Eating Index
Developed by the US government as the nation’s official dietary standard, the Healthy Eating Index could cut your risk of mortality by 19 percent from any cause.
This diet celebrates plant-based foods while it frowns upon consuming red and processed meat, added sugar, unhealthy fats and alcohol.
The food protocol is based on a score of zero to 100, focusing on how many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and seafood a person gets per every 1,000 calories they eat.
Eating 0.8 cups of fruit, 0.4 cups of whole fruit, 1.1 cups of vegetables and 0.2 cups of greens and beans per every 1,000 calories eaten would earn someone a perfect score.
The Alternate Healthy Eating Index
A more refined version of the previous diet, the Alternate Healthy Eating index is a regime developed by Harvard.
This diet calls for five servings of vegetables daily, four servings of fruit, five to six of whole grains, at least one serving of protein from nuts or tofu, and a regular dose of fish.
This diet generates a score from zero to 110, with the highest scorers being able to reduce their risk of death by 20 percent.
Like its name suggests, The Mediterranean diet is typical for traditional healthy lifestyles of people living around the Mediterranean Sea.
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This diet is packed with vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, and fish the NHS explains.
The Mediterranean regime is hugely celebrated for its various benefits, including staving off heart disease and dementia.
Furthermore, the findings showed that people who adhered to this diet type saw their mortality risk fall by 18 percent.
Increasingly more popular, a vegan diet excludes all animal-derived products while putting emphasis on plants.
Following this diet protocol was found to drop the risk of death by 14 percent in the study.
These latest results were based on survey data from more than 100,000 men and women who were followed for 36 years.
The participants were asked to fill out dietary questionnaires every two to four years, detailing their dietary habits.
The researchers said that diets remain “a cornerstone for maintaining optimal health”.
Dr Frank Hu, corresponding author of the study and nutritionist at Harvard, said: “[These dietary standards] are intended to provide science-based dietary advice that promotes good health and reduces major chronic diseases.”
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