Let's face it: it's difficult to say no to a doughnut or a double cheeseburger every now and again. However, it turns out that the things we eat have a significant impact on how long we live.
According to a March 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 45.4 percent of deaths caused by heart disease, stroke, or type 2 diabetes — the leading causes of mortality in the United States — are linked to consuming too much or too little of certain foods (JAMA). Continue reading to see which food habits have the most impact on your longevity.
1. Too Much Red Meat.
In 2012, diabetes-related deaths accounted for 4.2 percent of all deaths. But it isn't all doom and gloom. Red meat was responsible for fewer than 1% of all diet-related fatalities. Red meat also contains a number of minerals, including B vitamins, iron, and zinc, in addition to being high in protein.
Though there's no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to how much red meat you should consume, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends sticking to less than 18 ounces each week.
2. Too Many Solid Fats.
According to the JAMA study, a diet heavy in solid fats caused 2.3 percent of diet-related fatalities due to cardiometabolic causes such as stroke, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Solid fats, such as beef fat, butter, shortening, coconut oil, and palm oil, are solid at room temperature. According to MyPlate.gov, they have higher saturated and trans fats than oils.
As a result, they can elevate your bad cholesterol (LDL) and put you at risk for heart disease. Choose heart-healthy oils like avocado or olive oil instead.
3. Too Many Sugary Beverages.
Sodas and other sugary beverages were linked to earlier mortality in adults aged 25 to 64 than any other dietary component. Sugary drinks were linked to 7.4% of deaths overall, with men being affected more than women.
Sugary drinks are linked to dental decay, metabolic syndrome, and obesity, according to the Boston Public Health Commission, and women who consume one or more sugary beverages per day are nearly twice as likely to acquire diabetes as women who consume one or fewer per day.
4. Not Enough Fruit
According to MyPlate.gov, fruits are high in numerous key nutrients that are typically underutilized, such as potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, and dietary fiber.
7.5 percent of the diet-related cardiometabolic fatalities evaluated were due to failure to consume the daily recommended fruit intake. Every day, MyPlate.gov suggests eating 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit.
5. Not Enough Vegetables
Our parents were correct in their advice to consume our vegetables. 7.6% of the deaths in the study were due to not eating enough veggies. Veggies, like fruits, are low in fat and calories, and there is no cholesterol in vegetables. According to MyPlate.gov, which suggests eating around 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day, they're high in vital nutrients including potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
6. Too Much Processed Meat
Consuming excess processed meat accounted for 8.2 percent of all the diet-related deaths studied. These meats are preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives, according to the American Heart Association, and include cold cuts, sausage, bacon and hot dogs.
7. Not Enough Nuts and Seeds
Surprisingly, a lack of nuts and seeds was linked to 8.5 percent of the deaths studied. Nuts and seeds are very nutrient-dense and belong to the protein food group. Fiber, magnesium, and polyunsaturated fats are all present in these foods.
According to a study published in the medical journal BMC Medicine, consuming around a handful (20 grams) of nuts every day can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30% and diabetes by nearly 40%.
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