- With exercise and a good diet the majority of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and colon cancers can be prevented.
- For proven anti-aging treatment…Eat well and exercise.
- This is not up for debate. It is not a theory, nor is it controversial. It is fact that eating well and exercising is necessary to be healthy.
Healthy Eating forms the foundation of a healthy life. This is not a new concept and the benefits of a healthy dietary pattern have been known for a long time. “Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” —Hippocrates (460 BC-370 BC)
Although Hippocrates is considered the father of Western medicine we have made little progress in implementing his progressive idea over 2,000 years ago. Since Hipprocrates’ provocative statement, using modern research techniques, we now have indisputable proof that the impact of the right dietary choices as part of a healthy lifestyle is enormous.
- According to Dr. Walter Willet, Chairman, Department of Nutrition, the Harvard School of Public Health “we could prevent about 82 percent of heart attacks, about 70 percent of strokes, over 90 percent of type 2 diabetes, and over 70 percent of colon cancer by attention to a healthy lifestyle”.
- The best drugs can reduce heart attacks by about 20 or 30 percent, yet western medicine has put almost all of its resources into promoting drugs rather than healthy lifestyle and nutrition.
- During the past 20 years coronary heart disease death rates fell dramatically by 40% but most of that benefit was surprisingly not related to advanced procedures like bypass surgery, angioplasty or stents but to simple lifestyle-related improvements in cardiovascular risk factors: exercise, not smoking and a healthy nutrition pattern.
Some important clinical trials have been performed to date documenting the role that a healthy lifestyle plays in survival. Eating a minimally processed diet (that is, real food) rich in healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grain, fish, nuts, and low-fat dairy has been shown in many studies to be associated with significant reduction of major cardiac events such as heart attacks and strokes. This is important to all of us since cardiovascular problems are the major cause of death and disability for most Americans. A recent study from Sweden showed a dramatic impact adopting a healthy lifestyle had on preventing one’s first heart attack. Nearly 21,000 middle-aged and older Swedish men who maintained 5-health promoting behaviors lowered their risk of a future heart attack over an average 11-year period by a whopping 86%!
- no smoking
- moderate alcohol consumption
- regular exercise
- kept weight goals
- consumed a healthy dietary pattern
The low-risk healthy diet was one that encouraged more fruits and vegetables, reduced-processed foods and dairy, and more whole grains, and fish. This is a nutrition pattern endorsed by the American Heart Association’s 2020 impact goal and is the foundation for maintaining health and importantly.
Nurses’ Health Study
The Harvard School of Public Health Nurses’ Health Study is a highly respected and long-term study. It began in 1976 and has followed 238,000 nurse-participants that have led to many new insights on the relation of lifestyle and nutrition on cardiovascular mortality and cancer. Based on that follow-up study with more than 1 million patient-year follow-up of middle-aged women it is estimated that 55% of all-cause mortality, 44% of cancer, and 72% of cardiovascular mortality during 24-year follow-up could have been avoided by adherence to healthy life-style that included a healthy dietary pattern. “Healthy” aging was examined in the Nurses’ Health Study and was defined as survival to 70 years or older and found that greater adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern in midlife was related to 34% greater odds of health, that is, no major limitations in physical function and mental health versus usual aging. Better diet quality with more features of a Mediterranean dietary pattern at midlife seems to be strongly linked to greater health and well being in persons surviving to older ages.
Healthy dietary patterns
A healthful diet in the NHS was a Mediterranean dietary pattern and is one aspect of a healthy lifestyle. A healthy dietary pattern is characterized by a predominance of fruit, vegetables, legumes, fish, poultry and whole grains. The followers of the Mediterranean dietary pattern (similar to MedChefs and the current AHA 2020 nutrition pattern) when compared to those consuming the typical Western Diet showed a statistically significant reduction all-cause-mortality; that is, a survival advantage is present by healthy eating. On the other hand the “Western pattern” defined as a majority of red meat, processed meat, refined grains, and sweets is associated with an increased risk cancer, heart disease and mortality. Other studies have shown similar protective effects of healthy lifestyle including a remarkable drop in the sudden cardiac death. A 92% risk reduction in sudden cardiac death was seen in a prospective study of 80,000 women who adopted the relatively simple lifestyle changes. The MIND diet, a hydrid diet pattern consisting of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) dietary patterns showed that the risk of Alzheimer’s for those assigned the MIND diet compared to those on a standard Western type nutrition pattern was cut in half.
A healthy dietary pattern (in conjunction with not smoking and moving-more) has the strongest impact on optimizing health, improving survival and reducing the negative effects aging.
A, Larsson SC, Discacciati A, Wolk A. Low-risk diet and lifestyle habits in the primary prevention of myocardial infarction in men. J Am Coll Cardiol 2014)
Chiuve SE, Fung TT, Rexrode KM, et al. Adherence to a low risk, healthy lifestyle and risk of sudden cardiac death among women. JAMA. 2011;306(1):62–69)
The Association Between Dietary Patterns at Midlife and Health in Aging: An Observational Study Samieri, C et al Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(9):584-591)