A new study published in the journal Circulation found a good diet in early adulthood could mean healthier aging. The study published Oct. 26 found that young adults who ate more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day had healthier hearts as they aged, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The study included more than 2,500 adults divided into groups based on how many fruits and vegetables they ate. Researchers used CT scan 20 years later to examine heart health. Those young adults who ate the most fruit and vegetables were 26 percent less likely to have calcified plaque in their arteries. Calcified plaque is associated with the arteries hardening and increasing the chances of heart disease, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Dr. Michael Miedema, the study’s author and senior consulting cardiologist and clinical investigator at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, said people should not wait until they are older to choose to eat healthier. “Our study suggests that what you eat as a young adult may be as important as what you eat as an older adult,” he said.
But, how is this different from anything you have read or heard before? This is the first study to demonstrate the benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables as a young adult by protecting the heart in later years. Previous research only found strong links between a good diet of fruits and vegetables and lower heart disease risk in middle-aged adults.
While the study may not prove directly how much fruits and vegetables you need for a ‘good diet,’ the results are a step forward. “Further research is needed to determine what other foods impact cardiovascular health in young adults,” Dr. Miedema said.