The results of a study from Harvard are no surprise, but deserve mentioning as a reminder that it is never too soon to slow the aging process. Using data from 10,670 women in the Nurses’ Health Study with no major chronic diseases at the start of the study in 1984, the researchers compared the women’s diets in their early years to their health 15 years later. Results showed that the healthier the women’s diets when they were in their 50s and 60s, the better chance they had to age healthfully. Compared to the worst eaters, those who ate the best had a 34% greater likelihood of healthy versus typical aging. Those women who ate closer to the Mediterranean diet had a 46% greater likelihood of healthy aging with no major limitations in physical function and mental health. The researchers conclude that, “…better diet quality in midlife seems to be strongly linked to greater health and well-being in person’s surviving to older ages.”
Samieri C, Sun Q, Townsend M, et al: The association between dietary patterns at midlife and health in aging. Annals of Internal Medicine 2013;159:584-591.