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4 Dietary Habits That Help Women Age Well

4 Dietary Habits That Help Women Age Well

Women who adopt certain eating patterns are far more likely to reach age 70 with their good health intact, according to a recent study, conducted by scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard.

Researchers analyzed the dietary habits and health of over 10,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study, a long-term epidemiological study on women’s health. Those who adhered to a Mediterranean-style diet were 40 percent more likely to turn 70 with fewer incidences of physical disability, cognitive decline and chronic disease (i.e. Parkinson’s, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer).

“Better diet quality at midlife seems to be strongly linked to greater health and well-being in persons surviving to older ages,” study authors note.

The connection between dietary habits and overall health is well-established. The Mediterranean diet in particular has been linked with a host of potential positives—from guarding against certain cancers to possibly providing protection against Alzheimer’s disease.

But research into whether the diet promotes healthy aging hasn’t been investigated on this large of a scale before.

The women in the study didn’t stick to a strict interpretation of the Mediterranean diet; rather, they regularly practiced certain nutritional principles:

Gorge on greens: Organic fruits and vegetables are staples of any healthy eating plan. Broccoli, spinach and kale are nutritional powerhouses, offering an array of disease-fighting vitamins and nutrients. Bananas, apples and berries are touted as some of the top players in the fruit category. Avocado is versatile and offers a good dose of heart-healthy fat.

Seek whole grains: The distinguishing characteristic of whole grains is that they are unrefined—they still have their germ and bran intact. This means whole grains maintain their maximum amount of fiber, vitamins and iron. Examples of healthy whole grains include: bulgur, quinoa, rolled oats, millet, barley, brown rice, whole grain pasta and bread.

Go fish and nuts: Protein in the Mediterranean diet generally comes from nuts, fish and beans. Almonds, cashews and pistachio nuts have some of the best health benefits. Salmon and tilapia are good choices for fish. Kidney beans and pinto beans pack some of the highest antioxidant amounts, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Alcohol as an indulgence: The benefits and detriments of alcohol have long been debated. Red wine, in particular, appears to provide some health advantages, if consumed in moderate amounts.

Even though everyone loves a “superfood,” the bottom line of most studies regarding diet and health is that good nutrition is mostly about balance. Like the rest of life, it’s important to seek out more of the good stuff, less of the bad.

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Read more: Aging, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, Healthy Aging, , , ,

: By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

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131 comments

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11:36AM PST on Feb 23, 2014

Ok, looks like I am good on these guidelines. Hope it helps me age gracefully!!

3:09PM PST on Nov 15, 2013

thank you

5:25AM PST on Nov 12, 2013

I agree with the person who mentioned genetics...they do play a big part.....I just have to look at my mother and grandmother....hope I look as good at their ages.

12:38PM PST on Nov 11, 2013

Noted, thank you.

6:25AM PST on Nov 11, 2013

thanks for sharing

11:44PM PST on Nov 10, 2013

Bulgur is really good for anyone. It's realy easy to cook and you can add different veggies and it'll still taste amazing. I'd recommend tomato, green pepper, onion and garlic. :)

7:46AM PST on Nov 10, 2013

I really wonder why they always mention the red wine... you can get the benefits from non alcohol . Many women I know find that the wine exasperates their hot flashes terribly. Also, I find that many women that are older still hold onto that old food pyramid ... too many carbs as they age and their metabolism slows. Many are also finding out about the wheat belly bloat or are wheat/gluten sensitive. I am more inclined to think, drop the Mediterranian diet and go Japanese! The sea veggies are great for aging thyroids, lots of veggies and lean proteins ...

7:16PM PST on Nov 9, 2013

I am sure this is very good adice, but genetics DO play a big part too! I know one lady who is about 60 and she eats AWFUL food and has skin that looks like a baby! I hate her!! ( Just joking!) I am sure she is an exception and I hope we all take note of this article and do what it says with great expectations of it working!

1:25PM PST on Nov 9, 2013

Thanks

10:48AM PST on Nov 9, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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