These are the 7 foods you should eat after 40

These are the 7 foods you should eat after 40
These are the 7 foods you should eat after 40

Reaching old age in good health is the ideal goal in an increasingly long-lived society. However, a new study has found that less than one in ten people manages to live free of disease and maintain good physical, cognitive and mental health from the 70 yearsThe good news is that it is in our hands to minimize the risks. One way is to follow a healthy diet when we are still in middle age, that is, between 40 and 65.

The research, which covered data from more than 100,000 people over 30 years, showed that those who adopted a balanced diet from the age of 40 had between 43% and 84% more likely to maintain good physical and mental health at age 70, compared to those who did not.

People who followed healthy eating habits in middle age, especially those rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fatswere significantly more likely to achieve healthy aging”notes Anne-Julie Tessier, a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who presented these findings at NUTRITION 2024, the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition.

The importance of nutrition

Researchers identified that a greater Consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fats, nuts, legumes and low-fat dairy products was associated with better odds of healthy aging. In contrast, high intakes of trans fats, sodium, and processed meats reduced these odds.

Unlike previous studies that focused on preventing chronic diseases, this research is distinguished by its focus on healthy aging, defined not only as the absence of disease but also as the ability to live independently and with a good quality of life.

“Healthy ageing is a continuous process of optimising opportunities to maintain and improve physical and mental health, independence and quality of life throughout life,” says the WHO, which popularised this expression in 2002, and which is now considered one of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Traditionally, research and dietary guidelines have focused on preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease,” Tessier explains. “Our study provides evidence for dietary recommendations to consider not only disease prevention, but also the promotion of healthy aging as a long-term goal.”

The study analyzed data from more than 106,000 people dating back to 1986. Participants, who were at least 39 years old and free of chronic disease at the start of the study, provided information about their diet every four years. By 2016, nearly half of the participants had died and Only 9.2% had reached the age of 70 without chronic diseases and with good physical, cognitive and mental health.

The research compared healthy aging rates among people with the highest and lowest adherence to eight healthy dietary patterns defined by previous studies. The highest correlation was observed with the alternative healthy eating indexfollowed by other patterns such as the diet for planetary health and the alternative mediterranean diet.

A prominent finding was the association between the Planetary Health Diet and healthy aging. This diet, based on the EAT-Lancet Commission report, promotes the Consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, plant proteins and healthy fats from sustainable sourcesThis supports the thesis that it is possible to adopt a diet that benefits both our health and that of the planet.

Important in an aging country

It is no secret that Spain is an ageing country. Our country is ranked as the fourth European country with the highest proportion of elderly people, with 20.1% of its population is over 65 years oldProjections indicate that this figure will increase over the next 20 years, especially due to the effect of baby boom, when this generation reaches 65 years of age.

This trend is a consequence of the progressive reduction in mortality rates in older people, achieved thanks to medical, scientific and technological advances that have improved health protection and reduced many causes of death in this age group. Despite these advances, Numerous diseases associated with old age persist.

According to European Health Survey in Spain (2020)Chronic health problems vary by gender. In women, the most common are osteoarthritis (19.7%), high blood pressure (19.1%) and low back pain (17.1%). In men, the most frequent problems are high blood pressure (19.0%), high cholesterol (15.5%) and chronic low back pain (10.1%).

To try to alleviate these situations, it is advisable start taking care of yourself before reaching a certain thresholdThere are many examples of this, especially in the so-called ‘blue zones’, territories where the population manages to live longer on average than in other places. We have talked about some of them in EL ESPAÑOL, such as the Japanese island of Okinawa or the Californian city of Loma Linda.

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