Eat more fruits and vegetables and lower your fat intake to help lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to new research.
Dr. John Vollan, a nutrition professor at the University of New Mexico and author of The Food Revolution, says it’s no coincidence that the most popular American foods, including fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains and whole grains, are healthier than many Western foods.
“The majority of Americans are eating the foods that they are eating, and that is an indication that there is a link between nutrition and health,” Vollin said.
“What we’re seeing now in terms of obesity and diabetes is that Americans are not eating the food that they’re supposed to eat,” he said.
So what does that mean for your health?
The study analyzed the diets of more than 1,000 people who participated in a long-term, randomized trial.
It found that those who consumed a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes low-fat and low-sugar foods, had lower odds of developing type 2 diabetitis and type 1 diabetes.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and looked at how eating habits change as people age and their bodies change.
It found that people who had the highest consumption of red meat had the lowest odds of having type 2 diabetic and type 3 non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
“These results indicate that low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic-index diets are important for maintaining health,” said Dr. Steven E. Flegal, an associate professor of medicine at Yale University.
The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits, he said, including lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, lowering insulin and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol.
“If you’re eating these kinds of foods, you’re likely to be consuming a lot of vegetables, a lot more fruits, whole vegetables, less refined carbohydrates, and more fiber,” he added.
People who eat more whole grains are also likely to have lower rates of type 2, which is a risk factor for type 1.
And the Mediterranean diet can help keep blood pressure in check.
“There is a relationship between blood pressure and fiber, so that eating a Mediterranean-type diet might reduce the risk of hypertension,” Vahlin said.
Fiber can help lower the risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure as well as stroke, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
“There’s a good relationship between fiber intake and lowering blood sugar and triglycerides, and there is good relationship with blood pressure,” Vahl said.
A healthy diet can also help reduce the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
It is also important to remember that some of these factors might not apply to everyone, he added, adding that there are some “lifestyle choices” that people can make to lower their risk.
Read moreHealth and fitness topics:Health and wellness topics:The study’s co-authors were:Dr. Matthew M. B. Cote, professor of clinical nutrition and chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Dr. Kristi E. Stromberg, professor in the Division for Obesity, Metabolism and Metabolomics at the National Cancer Institute.
The National Institutes of Health funded the study.
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