These Foods May Lower Your Risk of Physical Disability

Foods That May Lower Your Risk of Physical Disability

How do you picture yourself in your senior years? Hopefully just as active and mobile as when you were young. Improving your diet may help your physical function later in life.

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We may be living longer, but some research says that we aren’t as healthy and mobile in our older years due to an increase in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Most of these factors can be headed off now by simply changing your lifestyle – especially your diet.

A recent study from researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have found that healthy eating may reduce a woman’s risk of physical disability as she ages.

Francine Grodstein and colleagues analyzed data from almost 55,000 women who participated in the national Nurses Health Study and found that those who had healthier diets were less likely to develop mobility problems than those who ate less healthy diets. In particular, those who ate more fruits and vegetables – especially oranges/orange juice, apples, pears, romaine or leaf lettuce and walnuts – were among those with the best physical functioning.

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Diet habits associated with an increased risk of physical impairment included a higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fats, and salt.

"Physical function is crucial as you age; it includes being able to get yourself dressed, walk around the block, and could impact your ability to live independently,” said study first author Kaitlin Hagan, a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham and Women's.

Journal Reference
Grodstein et al. Greater Adherence to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index Is Associated with Lower Incidence of Physical Function Impairment in the Nurses’ Health StudyJ. Nutr. jn227900; first published online May 11, 2016.

Photo Credit: By Bill Branson (Creative Commons) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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