Eat like this and live an extra 7 years (plus save the planet!)

A groundbreaking study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals significant health benefits associated with the Planetary Health Diet Index (PHDI), a diet designed to enhance human and environmental health.

The study analyzes data from over 206,000 participants across three extensive US-based cohorts and presents profound findings on health outcomes and ecological impacts [1].

The PHDI champions a nutrition-rich, plant-based diet, advocating for [2]:

  • Whole grains: Staples include brown rice, quinoa, barley and whole wheat.
  • Vegetables: A wide array, from leafy greens to cruciferous vegetables like broccoli.
  • Fruits: Emphasizes a diverse selection, including berries, apples and melons.
  • Nuts and legumes: Features almonds, lentils, chickpeas and more.
  • Unsaturated plant oils: Recommends oils from plants such as olives and canola.
  • Moderate animal-sourced foods: Advises moderate consumption of lean meats and fish.
  • Low intakes of saturated fats and sugars: Limits high-sugar and high-fat foods.

Health and longevity benefits

The study’s key findings highlight:

  • A 23% reduction in all-cause mortality for those who closely adhere to the PHDI.
  • Notable decreases in deaths from cardiovascular diseases (14%), cancer (10%), respiratory diseases (47%) and neurodegenerative diseases (28%).
  • In women, a lower risk of death from infectious diseases was noted.

Environmental benefits:

Adhering to the PHDI also correlates with lower greenhouse gas emissions, underlining the diet’s environmental benefits alongside its health advantages.

Potential for extended lifespan

While the study does not directly quantify life expectancy extensions, the significant reductions in mortality rates associated with the PHDI suggest the potential for living longer.

Hypothetically, adhering to such dietary guidelines could extend life expectancy by up to seven years, considering the cumulative effects of reduced disease risks and overall health improvement [3].

By embracing the PHDI, individuals can significantly contribute to a healthier planet while enhancing their wellbeing. This compelling evidence supports a global shift toward this sustainable dietary pattern, potentially preventing premature deaths and promoting ecological sustainability.


Photograph: furmanphoto/Envato
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