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Food for a longer life

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Some foods will add minutes of disease-free living—and some will steal those minutes away.  Researchers have done the math to give you the real takeaway on fast foods.

We all want to live a long and healthy life, free from disease and chronic illness. And we want every minute of every day to be like that.

We also know that processed food is bad for us—in fact, the US population of 328 million people loses 10 million years of healthy life every year just from eating fast food.

Put that another way—and a sobering way, at that—every time you eat a hot dog, you lose 36 minutes of healthy, disease-free life. Talk about the real takeaway.

Researchers from the University of Michigan have estimated the impact on our health—for good and bad—of 5,853 foods. They discovered that for every hot dog stealing those minutes of healthy living, a serving of nuts can add 26 minutes to your healthy life expectancy.1

Looking at the food we eat in terms of minutes lost or gained could drive home the dangers of a diet of processed and fast food, the researchers say.  

Substituting just 10 percent of calories from beef and processed meats for a serving of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes (such as lentils and peas) or seafood could gain you 48 minutes of disease-free living.

It doesn’t sound like much, perhaps, but do that every day, and eventually it starts to add up to months, even years, without chronic illness. Eating a healthy diet every day for 30 years will add a year of disease-free time to your life.

The healthier diet also has a positive impact on the environment and releases fewer pollutants into the atmosphere.

It all comes down to healthier food choices. Eat less processed meats and greenhouse-grown vegetables and replace them with field-grown fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and sustainable seafood, and you’ll live a longer, healthier life.

You knew that already—but now you know how many minutes of healthy life you’ll gain or lose.


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