Top 4 lifestyle choices for longevity

January 9, 2008 in Healthy Eating, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Top 4 lifestyle choices for longevity

Not smoking, eating at least five servings of vegetables and fruit, drinking moderately, and exercising can extend a person's life by up to 14 years, say researchers from the University of Cambridge in Britain.   

Between 1993 and 1997, 20,000 healthy adults were questioned about their diet and lifestyle choices. Blood levels of vitamin C were also taken to determine how much vegetables and fruits people ate.

In order of highest to lowest impact on mortality, the four best diet and lifestyle choices were: not smoking, eating at least five servings of vegetables and fruit each day, drinking moderately and exercising.

Moderate drinking - a half cup of wine (125 ml) or a half pint of beer (235 ml) per week - and regular physical activity had similar effects on life extension.

People who did none of the four healthy diet and lifestyle choices were four times more likely to have their lives cut short, especially by heart disease. Doing all four healthy choices translated into about 14 years of extended life as compared to people who made none of the healthy choices.

Health Canada recommends eating seven to eight servings of vegetables and fruits if you're a woman and more if you are a man. One serving can be a half cup of fresh or frozen vegetables (125 ml), one cup of raw leafy green salad (250 ml) or a half cup of fruit.

Eating more vegetables and fruits can be challenging. According to Health Canada's 2002 survey, only 16% of Canadians say they eat enough fruits and vegetables. Need good food ideas? Click here for recipes and tips on how to add more vegetables and fruits to your diet.

This study was published in a peer-reviewed public access journal, PLoS.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.