There are plenty of reasons to quit smoking, including the fact that eliminating this particularly harmful habit can add up to a decade to life expectancy, according to American Cancer Society. If smoking is already something you proudly left in the past, you should know that according to a new study, you can lower your risk of death by eating a healthy diet.
In the study conducted by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and published in JAMA Network is open, an analysis was performed on data from 159,937 former smokers who participated in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study in 1995 and 1996. The participants, who had a mean age of 62.6 years, were asked to answer questions about their lifestyle at the start of the study. The researchers then followed up with these participants about 19 years later, during which time 86,127 of them had died.
Those behind the study also compared the participants’ dietary habits with Healthy Eating Index 2015. This indicator shows how the food adheres to the recommendations provided by Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Participants whose diets scored higher on the index had a 27% lower risk of death than those whose scores were lower. In simple terms, the results suggest that ex-smokers who practice healthy eating may live longer than ex-smokers who do not.
Breaking things down further, the researchers noted that those with the highest score also had a 24% lower chance of dying from cancer, a 28% lower chance of dying from cardiovascular disease, and a 30% lower chance of dying from respiratory disease.
“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as recommended by many national organizations, tends to include the same or similar recommendations for healthy eating and physical activity in order to improve overall health and protect against the onset of many chronic diseases,” Kieran Campbell, RDTells Eat this, not that!
Regarding what type of healthy diet might be best for ex-smokers, Campbell explains that the 2015 to 2020 Diet Guidelines for Americans to “follow a healthy diet include adequate fruits, vegetables, vegetables, beans, whole grains, dairy, total protein, seafood, plant proteins, and foods that It contains fatty acids. Furthermore, “The recommendation also has some limitations [such as] Limit your intake of refined grains, sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats.”
Campbell also notes that “there are Many nutrients that smokers and ex-smokers may need to take possession of their system.”
“For example, vitamin C is one of the nutrients smokers need more than non-smokers,” Campbell says. “Smoking has been shown to lower levels of beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, vitamin E, and several B vitamins. This is mostly due to harmful carcinogens found in cigarettes and the smoke you inhale. It has an oxidizing effect on the body and reduces the bioavailability of these nutrients.” The reference notes Smokers are less likely to consume fruits and vegetables, especially those that are high in vitamin C and carotenoids.”
Desirée O is a freelance writer covering lifestyle news, food, and nutrition, among other topics. Read more about Desirée
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