Is a Western Diet Aging You?
New research shows a Western diet could lead to an increase in signs of aging and chronic conditions. If you’re thinking of cowboys and Indians, or spaghetti Westerns, think again! A Western diet is what many people who live in the United States consider normal eating. The truth is, this way of eating can contribute to age-related diseases and poorer health if eaten consistently over an extended length of time.
Sugar, fat, and carbs. Fried food, soda, and red meat. Processed foods and full fat dairy. These food catagories are the hallmark of the “Western” style diet, and it could be doing our population even more damage than we know. We’ve all heard how this type of eating pattern is associated with diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and a number of other health issues. Now, researchers think it can also cause people’s health to decline more rapidly as they age, leading to chronic conditions and age-related diseases.
The results of a study involving over 5,000 men and women from Britain, to be published in the upcoming issue of The American Journal of Medicine, point to which dietary factors lead to healthy aging, and which ones lead to chronic disease and even premature death! According to the research gathered on study participants between 1985 and 2009, people who ate a Western diet suffered from cardiovascular problems, inflammation, diabetes, and other health issues.
Fortunately, there was some good news from the study. People who ate fruits, vegetables, fish and other healthy foods were more likely to live long, healthy lives. The incidence of conditions such as cardiovascular disease were reduced, and these participants were found to enoy better physical and mental health. Which group would your diet most closely resemble? If it includes the foods in a Western style diet, you can easily make some changes that will improve your quality of life as you age. If your diet includes lots of fresh, whole foods and leaves out the processed, sugary, fatty foods . . . congratulations! You are helping to ensure you have a longer, healthier life simply because of the foods you choose to eat (and those you choose to aviod). Your future self will thank you!