Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Healthy Diet Lowers Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer

(Article first published as Healthy Diet is Key to Long, Disease-Free Life on Technorati.)

There has been a significant shift in all cause mortality over the past 100 years. Up until the first part of the 20th century infectious disease counted as the leading cause of death. An improved understanding of sanitation practices combined with the present overuse of antibiotics has led to a shift away from infectious disease and toward chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia. 

These afflictions were rarely seen a century ago as our traditional home-grown diet has rapidly been altered toward processed, refined and chemically-altered food sources. The findings of a 10 year study demonstrate how you can significantly lower your risk from the common killers of the 21st century by closely monitoring your diet.

Study Finds Certain Food Groups Linked with Disease
There is little doubt that eating a diet filled with convenience foods, sugary desserts and sweetened beverages is detrimental to both health and waistline. Dietary patterns that are skewed toward high consumption of certain food groups can also increase risk of illness and reduce lifespan. The results of a study of 2500 aging adults between the ages of 70 and 79 draws as direct correlation between diet and mortality.

Research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association spanned a period of 10 years and categorized participants into six distinct clusters based on the type of foods most commonly eaten. Of the 2500 participants, 374 consumed a `healthy` diet consisting of low-fat dairy products, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and vegetables and lower consumption of meat, fried foods, sweets, high-calorie drinks, and added fat. The healthy food cluster was found to have significant protection against chronic disease and lower all cause mortality rates.

High Fat Dairy and Sweets Linked to Early Death
The study demonstrated that those individuals consuming the most calories from high fat dairy products had a 40% higher risk of mortality than those classified as healthy eaters. High fat dairy products include ice cream, cheese and full fat milk and yogurt. Participants that were grouped into the sweets and desserts cluster were found to have a 37% increased risk of death compared to the healthy eaters.

Researchers found that adherence to a healthy diet was a feasible and realistic recommendation in light of the dramatic improvements to health and reduced risk of death. The study authors concluded that the "results of this study suggest that older adults who follow a dietary pattern consistent with current guidelines to consume relatively high amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish, may have a lower risk of mortality.”

Health conscious individuals understand the delicate balance between nutrients consumed in their raw and natural form and risk of chronic disease. Research data provided by this study underscores the critical nature of purging sugar, high fat dairy and processed foods entirely from your diet. Not only will you lower risk form many killer diseases, you can also cut all cause mortality by almost half.

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