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Eating Healthier Means Living Longer

Media release
December 24, 2010

Eating Healthier Means Living Longer

Research to appear in Jan 2011 shows eating healthier means you live longer. Summer’s here and what better time to start thinking about your diet. Dietitians New Zealand has lots of practical tips and advice on how to go about eating the right foods for optimal health.

The food we eat can have a major impact on our quality of life and continues to be relevant right across the life span. According to lead author Amy L. Anderson, Ph.D., Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, the "results of the research suggest that older adults who follow a dietary pattern consistent with current guidelines to consume relatively high amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish, may have a lower risk of mortality. Because a substantial percentage of older adults in this study followed the ‘Healthy foods’ dietary pattern, adherence to such a diet appears a feasible and realistic recommendation for potentially improved survival and quality of life in the growing older adult population."

Here are a few simple guidelines to make sure your diet is healthy:

• Include a minimum of five portions a day of different coloured fruits and vegetables as snacks, desserts and with main meals.
• Include some wholegrain foods in your daily diet, for example, wholegrain cereals, bread, rice and pasta.
• Go for a Mediterranean-style diet, with lots of vegetables and fruits along with fish and small amounts of lean meat.
• Choose the reduced-fat versions of dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese.
• Skip adding salt to foods during preparation, cooking and at the table.
• Keep your alcohol intake within sensible limits.
• Stay hydrated in the hot weather with at least 6-8 glasses of fluid each day. Water is a great option.
• If watching your weight, keep to sensible portion sizes and steer clear of the high fat, high-calorie foods such as chips, cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks and lollies.
• It’s also a good idea to be active every day, whether it’s walking, swimming, gardening, cycling or more vigorous sporty pursuits.

It’s summertime, what better way to spend the day than to go for a walk along the beach or in the bush, and packing up a healthy picnic with salads, fruits, fresh wholegrain bread and lean meat. It’s also just the weather for a barbeque. Choose lean cuts of meat, fish or poultry and serve with vegetable kebabs, baked potatoes and salads.

But, the number one piece of advice from dietitians at this time of year is to enjoy your food over the festive season. By applying the simple tips above as well as having an interesting and appetizing diet you’ll actually begin the year 2011 full of energy and feeling great.


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