New study finds that healthy food is good for your health
Healthy habits are linked to a lower risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease, a study has found.
The findings are likely to boost claims that healthy eating is as much about the health of your diet as it is about your overall health.
The new study, led by scientists from Imperial College London, looked at more than 7,000 British adults aged 18 and over.
The researchers found that people who ate healthy diets had a reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer, compared with those who ate unhealthy diets.
“This is the first study that has looked at a large cohort of adults and found that having healthy diets is associated with reduced risk for death from any cause, and also for all causes of death, but especially from coronary disease,” said Dr Andrew Waugh, the lead author and from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).
“These results are not likely to be extrapolated to other age groups and it’s possible that they are different in other ways.”
The researchers also found that the benefits of eating healthy were not confined to one food group.
“We found no association between the consumption of fruits and vegetables and reduced risk,” Dr Waugh said.
“Consuming a wide variety of healthy food sources also may help to reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases and stroke, and is also associated with lower blood pressure.”
Dr Waugh and colleagues analysed data from the British Diet and Nutrition Survey, which included food questionnaires from a random sample of 3,500 adults.
They also looked at the responses of 7,800 people who did not participate in the survey.
The results showed that people eating healthy diets were less likely to smoke, drink alcohol, take antibiotics or take other drugs, to be obese, overweight or have diabetes.
They were also less likely than those eating unhealthy diets to smoke cigarettes, take prescription medication or have a blood pressure of more than 120/80 mmHg, the threshold for heart attack.
Dr Waugts team said that the results showed there was an association between food choices and overall health and that people’s choices were important.
“The results show that eating healthy is important in reducing the risk for heart disease and stroke and may also reduce the risks for cancers and other cardiovascular disease,” Dr Sajjad Mollah, from the ICR’s Department of Medicine, told Business Insider.
“Our findings suggest that eating healthier, even when it comes to food, is associated not only with reduced cardiovascular risk, but also with reduced cancer risk.”
Dr Mollah said that even though these results suggest that health choices should be made at an individual level, the findings should not be taken to imply that eating more healthy foods is the way to go.
“It’s good to emphasise the importance of individual choices and that there is still room for improvements in public health,” Dr Mollah added.
Dr Moulds study has been published in the journal Nutrition Research.