Did you know that what you’re eating may cause early onset of illness or even death? More appropriately, what you’re not eating could have a significant impact on your health and well-being.
More than 45% of all deaths caused by heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes are associated with eating either too much or too little of just 10 food categories, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this month. The researchers based their estimates on a total of 318,656 deaths related to cardiometabolic causes — heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
The findings from this significant study showed a number of concerning statistics. Individuals who do not consume enough fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes are at increased risk of heart disease and related illnesses. Consuming too much salt had a harmful effect on overall health. Some of the key findings include:
- According to the study, not eating enough fruit led to an estimate 7.5% diet-related cardiometabolic deaths in 2012. Two servings of fruit are recommended every day. A serving would equal one whole fruit such as a banana, apple, or one cup equivalent.
- Vegetables are another necessary part of a healthy diet, with a recommendation of 2 ½ cups every day. Not eating enough vegetables led to an estimated 7.5% of diet related deaths, such as heart disease, stroke and type- two diabetes. Overall a larger proportion of men than women died early due to diet related causes, which researchers say is consistent with generally unhealthier eating habits of men.
- Nuts and seeds are high-protein foods that naturally come in nutrient-dense forms. The recommendation for healthy eating includes 5.5 ounces of protein-rich foods, such as walnuts, each day. Not eating enough nuts and seeds led to an estimated 8.5% of diet-related cardiometabolic deaths.
- A healthy diet includes eating whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats) while limiting your intake of refined grains like white rice and flour, bread and pasta. Too few whole grains and too many refined grains led to an estimated 5.9% of all diet-related deaths due to heart problems, stroke and diabetes.
An interesting finding shows that a larger proportion of men than women died due to diet-related causes. This is consistent with generally unhealthier eating habits in men according the report. Poor diet was also associated with a greater percentage of mortality among younger people versus older people.
One of the biggest and most import findings was the salty food caused 9.5% of the total diet-related deaths. Simply put, think twice before putting table salt on your food. Consume more fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and you could live a longer, healthier, more productive life.