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Stay Mobile as You Age with a Healthy Diet

There’s yet another reason to eat your vegetables every day and adhere to a healthy, balanced diet.

A new study recently found that a healthy diet may help reduce a woman’s risk of physical disability as she ages. Up until now, little research has been done about how diet and disability in later years are connected. Most research is centered around chronic diseases, cancers and heart disease, and rightfully so due to the life-threatening nature of the diseases – however, mobility in age is key in being able to live independently.

Researchers wanted to learn how overall diet impacts our physical ability as we age. They looked at data from nearly 55,000 women in the national Nurses’ Health Study who had their physical function assessed every four years from 1992 to 2008 and completed diet questionnaires.

What researchers found was that those who ate healthier diets were less likely to develop mobility issues than with those with less healthy diets. They found those with high consumption of fruits and vegetables, moderate alcohol intake, and low consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fats and salt were each associated with a reduced risk of physical impairment with age.

The strongest link with lower risk of physical disability in later years was with those who regularly consumed oranges, orange juice, apples, pears, romaine or leaf lettuce and walnuts. The very same ingredients in our healthy, balanced meals – just in case you want or need someone else to do the work for you!

Although the study wasn’t designed to show cause and effect, there seems to be a direct connection of ability to stay mobile with age when it comes to consuming a healthy diet. Physical mobility is important with age, since it allows a person to live independently.

The study appears in the July issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

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