Posted on Jan 10, 2023, 4 p.m.
According to research recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, there are at least 4 healthy eating plans that can help to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. These diets recommend eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains while avoiding refined grains and limiting red meat as well as processed foods.
The researcher reported that those who followed at least 1 of 4 healthy eating plans were less likely to die from cancer, respiratory disease, or heart disease, and the results remained consistent across different demographics. Additionally, experts suggest that you can have extra benefits by limiting your eating window and eating a variety of foods with different colours (eat the rainbow) throughout the day.
For this study data was collected from 75,230 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study and 44, 085 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had a history of cancer or heart disease, and they all completed dietary questionnaires every 4 years.
The eating plans were the Healthy Eating Index 2015, the Alternate Mediterranean Diet, the Healthful Plant-based Diet Index, and the Alternate Healthy Eating Index. All of the plans shared similar key ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, but other components differed across the plans such as meat consumption.
According to the researchers, the findings are consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for America, and this is one of the few studies to evaluate whether adherence to dietary plans following current guidelines is associated with the long-term risk of total and cause-specific mortality.
All of these dietary plans include several components of balanced eating such as a high daily intake of a variety of fruits and vegetables, limited intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and foods with added sugar, less red meat, less processed foods, consumption of whole grains rather than refined grain, and more plant-based lean proteins, along with poultry and fish.
However, while these guidelines are a great starting point, they are geared toward healthy individuals and do not always address personalization, sometimes choosing a specific dietary pattern will involve a certain degree of personalization which may include assessing cultural and religious preferences as well as environmental challenges.
Developing a healthy eating plan can be daunting for many, luckily there are options such as consulting with a registered dietitian for expert advice, who will be able to help make attainable goals and help you implement them into your life so that these healthful lifestyle changes are sustainable.
Common tips for healthful eating to help lower the risk of disease include aiming to eat 5-7 different colors every day which help you get a variety of nutrients from plants (eat the rainbow). Up your fiber by consuming more unrefined whole grains, lower-sugar fruits, and non-starchy vegetables. Limit your eating window to an 8-12 hours time frame, or at least stop eating a few hours before going to bed and at least 90 minutes after you wake up. Take a look at what may be influencing your eating habits like sleep patterns, stress, and social activity which could be triggers for unhealthy eating. Finally, making a grocery list can help you to avoid those not-so-healthy food choices.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
Content may be edited for style and length.
References/Sources/Materials provided by: