These 4 healthy eating patterns can extend your life, according to a new study

Aiming to be healthier and exercise better eating habits can be an intimidating solution to set yourself, especially since there is no “one size fits all” approach to getting healthy. For some people, it may mean limiting the amount of processed food, while for others it matters add more vegetables in every meal. While those goals can certainly be different for each individual, new research shows there are common eating habits that are more likely to support and improve your health — and they may even help lower your risk of premature death.

According to a recent study led by Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and published via Jama internal medicine, there are four specific dietary patterns associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality, as well as a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer. You are the:

  1. Index Healthy Eating 2015 (HEI)

  2. Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI)

  3. Alternative Mediterranean Diet (aMED)

  4. Healthful Plant-based Diet Index (hPDI)

After collecting 36 years of data from over 75,000 women and more than 44,000 men reportedly from the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2020) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2020), researchers discovered that those those stuck who were very close or had “high adherence” to at least one of these four healthy eating habits were more likely to experience a reduction in mortality risk than those who had lower adherence scores. In addition, participants with higher adherence to the Alternative Mediterranean Diet and the Alternate Healthy Eating Index also saw a lower risk of dying from neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

“It is important to assess adherence to DGA-recommended eating habits and health outcomes, including mortality, so timely updates can be made,” said Frank Hu, study author, who is also a professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition science daily. “Our findings will be valuable to the 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which is being formed to review current evidence on different eating habits and health outcomes.”

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What is the 2015 Healthy Eating Index?

eating vegetables

eating vegetables

The 2015 Healthy Eating Index was designed by the USDA to reflect the dietary guidelines for Americans. This index is a way of assessing how well a person’s diet meets current guidelines. The index contains 13 food components, broken down into two categories: appropriateness components, which are highly recommended, and moderation components, which are the types of foods you should limit.

Examples of the adequacy components include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and dairy products, while the moderation components include refined grains, added sugars, and saturated fats. For the adequacy components, a higher intake corresponds to a higher score, but the opposite is true for the moderation components. For these, lower supplies correspond to a higher score. (For more information on the rating system, see their Components and Evaluation Standards.)

For the 2015 Healthy Eating Index, a higher overall score means you are following the dietary guidelines for Americans more closely and therefore maintaining a better overall diet quality.

What is the Alternate Healthy Eating Index?

The Alternate Healthy Eating Index was created by Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. It is similar to the USDA’s Healthy Eating Index, but this assessment method focuses more on foods associated with chronic diseases. And while Harvard’s new study found a strong link between AHEI and a reduced risk of mortality, the benefits of this index don’t stop there. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that following this pattern closely could also reduce your risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes.

According to Harvard Health, there are several key food components you need to incorporate in order to score higher on the AHEI. These components include vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, plant-based proteins, fish, and healthy fats. However, this is a scoring system that Harvard says may not be practical at home.

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What is the Alternative Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet, which mimics the eating habits of countries like Greece, Italy and other surrounding areas, has gained tremendous popularity due to its proven benefits heart healthreducing the risk of diabetes and Understanding. Components of the Mediterranean diet include eating plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and legumes, while limiting consumption of red and processed meats, refined sugars and saturated fat.

When it comes to measuring compliance Mediterranean cuisinethere are two types of indexes: the Traditional Mediterranean Score (tMED) and the Alternate Mediterranean Diet Score (aMED) – mentioned in the new Harvard study. After Scientific Reportsthe aMED is a way of noticing how good the traditional is Mediterranean Sea- Principles have been adapted in non-Mediterranean cultures.

The two indices differ only slightly. While the tMED puts fruit and nuts into one category and also includes dairy products, the aMED index includes nine components: fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, red and processed meat, alcohol, and the ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated fats fats . When it comes to the Alternative Mediterranean Diet score, each component is assigned one or zero points and then calculated to produce a score between zero and nine; a higher score represents closer adherence to the Mediterranean diet, which is associated with a lower risk of mortality.

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What is the healthy plant-based diet?

Herbal Buddha Bowl

Herbal Buddha Bowl

Harvard TH Chan’s new study shows that higher adherence to this healthy plant-based diet is linked to healthier, better living chances of longevity. Plant-based diets have been linked lower BMI, a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a lower risk of high blood pressure, but it’s important to realize that not all plant-based diets have the same nutritional value. Therefore the Healthful Plant-based Diet Index (hPDI)– this is a way of using a rating system to see exactly how someone is doing in a healthy, plant-based diet– can be useful for understanding the nutritional value of what you consume, to determine whether or not your current diet is really benefiting your health.

According to Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the hPDI rates “healthy plant-based foods” such as vegetables, fruit, whole grain products, nuts, legumes, oils, coffee and tea positively. In addition, it assigns an inverse score to foods such as refined grains, sweetened beverages, candy, and fries. There is also an Unhealthy Plant-Based Diet Index (uPDI), which gives the healthier plant-based foods an inverse score and the “less healthy” a positive score.

The most important insights

All four of these eating patterns are unique in their own way, but you can probably see the significant similarities between them. These patterns all focus on eating healthier, plant-based foods, with an emphasis on eating more vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, healthy fats, and whole grains, while reducing intake of refined grains, added sugars, and saturated fat fat is reduced.

It seems that all four patterns mentioned in the new Harvard study would prove too complicated to calculate on your own on a regular basis, but these structures are extremely helpful in providing guidelines on how to eat in a way that reduces your risk gets rid of diseases and ensures better overall health.

Eat this, not that

Eat this, not that

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