Healthy Eating, No Matter the Age

You’re never too old to start eating healthfully. At least that’s what new research has determined. Even if you’re middle-aged, an improved diet can lower your risk of heart disease and premature death. Ishani Ganguli of Reuters reports:
Middle-aged adults who began eating five or more fruits and vegetables every day, exercising for at least 2 1/2 hours a week, keeping weight down and not smoking decreased their risk of heart disease by 35 percent and risk of death by 40 percent in the four years after they started.

"The adopters of a healthy lifestyle basically caught up. Within four years, their mortality rate and rate of heart attacks matched the people who had been doing these behaviors all along," said Dr. Dana King at the Medical University of South Carolina, who led the research.

That is not to say people should wait until their 40s or 50s to get on track, he added.

"But even if you have not had a healthy lifestyle previously, it's not too late to adopt those healthy lifestyle habits and gain almost immediate benefits."
Sound advice if you ask me, but not surprising. Take vegetables for example. They have profound anti-disease effects, and, I doubt they dissipate because you’ve reached a certain age. From Eat to Live:
Vegetables have powerful levels of carotenoids and other nutrients that prevent age-related diseases. For example, the leading cause of age-related blindness in America is macular degeneration. If you eat greens at least fives times a week, your risk drops by more than 86 percent.1 Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids with powerful disease-prevention properties. Researchers have found that those with the highest blood levels of lutein had the healthiest blood vessels, with little or no atherosclerosis.2
1. Seddon, J.M., U.A. Ajani, R.D. Sperduto, et al. 1994. Dietary carotenoids, citamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. JAMA 272: 1413-20.

2. Dwyer, J.H., M. Navab, K.M. Dywer, et al. 2001. Oxygenated carotenoid lutein and progression of early atherosclerosis: the Los Angeles atherosclerosis study. Circulation 103 (24): 2922-27.
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