The more we learn about the relationship between diet and health, the more clearly we can see how a bone-building diet offers whole-body benefits. New research has further underscored that link.
A Harvard study found that people who ate two fruits and three vegetables a day were more likely to live longer lives.
Today we'll take a closer look at this research and its link to the pH-balanced diet and longevity. That winding path will bring us right back to bone health.
Fruits, Vegetables, And Longevity
A group of researchers at Harvard set out to assess the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and mortality. They examined data from 66,719 women and 42,016 men.
The participants filled out food frequency questionnaires every two to four years over the 28 to 30 years of the study. The researchers then examined this data, along with the data from 24 similar studies, published previously.
Here is what their analysis revealed:
“Intake of about 5 servings per day of fruit and vegetables, or 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables, was associated with the lowest mortality, and above that level, higher intake was not associated with additional risk reduction…. Higher intakes of most subgroups of fruits and vegetables were associated with lower mortality, with the exception of starchy vegetables such as peas and corn. Intakes of fruit juices and potatoes were not associated with total and cause-specific mortality.”1
This evidence makes it quite clear that eating fruits and vegetables helps to live a long life. It's also notable that a variety of fruits and veggies had this impact, almost regardless of the specific combination of particular fruits or vegetables participants ate. The exceptions were starchy vegetables and fruit juices.
Fruit juices are devoid of the fiber contained in many plant foods and they often don't contain the nutrients present in the skins or fibers of those foods.
Starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and potatoes weren't found to be harmful. We know that they contain valuable bone-building nutrients. But to get this life-extending benefit, they can't be the only type of vegetable you eat. Variety is essential, and this study further confirms it.
Researchers at Harvard examined the diets and health outcomes of more than 100,000 participants. They found that those who ate three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day increased their lifespans compared to those who ate less. However, diets dependent on starchy vegetables to meet that requirement as well as fruit juices and potatoes failed to offer this benefit.
The Mediterranean Diet And Telomere Length
The Harvard study points to the relationship between longevity and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. But it doesn't help us understand what physiological differences might be underlying that relationship. Fortunately, other research provides some answers.
A 2014 study examined whether adherence to the Mediterranian diet was associated with longer telomere length.
Telomeres are the caps on the end of each strand of DNA that serve to protect our chromosomes from damage. Telomeres reduce in size as each cell divides, and when they become too short, cells undergo apoptosis– a controlled process of cell death.
Studies have associated shorter telomere lengths with an increased incidence of diseases and shorter lifespans. Accelerated loss of telomere length can enhance the negative effects of aging– making us feel older than we actually are. Fortunately, lifestyle choices like diet and exercise have been shown to slow telomere shortening.2
The study investigating the effect of Mediterranean diets on telomere length found that:
“… greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with longer telomeres. These results further support the benefits of adherence to the Mediterranean diet for promoting health and longevity.”3
The Mediterranean diet focuses on traditional foods eaten in cultures surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It consists primarily of whole, unprocessed foods, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, whole grains, and nuts, and includes only moderate amounts of seafood, poultry, and eggs.
Studies have found that people who followed a Mediterranean diet had longer telomeres. Telomeres are the caps on the end of DNA strands. They shorten over time, and short telomere lengths are associated with disease and reduced longevity.
Build Stronger Bones To Live A Longer Life
The nutritional advice described above should sound familiar to Savers. They fit snugly within the dietary guidelines recommended in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
The Program's 80/20 pH-balance diet operates on a simple principle: your diet should consist of 80% alkalizing foods and 20% acidifying foods to prevent bone-damaging acidification and promote healthy bone growth.
Almost all vegetables and fruits are alkalizing, as are many other plant foods. Animal proteins however, are acidifying. The 80/20 balance of alkalizing to acidifying foods naturally shapes your diet to match the healthy diets examined in the two studies described above.
As a result, we can extrapolate that Savers are also getting the benefits found for those following the Mediterranean diet or meeting the Harvard study's three vegetable and two fruit daily minimum.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program's bone-building 80/20 pH-balanced diet naturally results in eating habits that align with the diets in the studies. That's because fruits and vegetables are almost all alkalizing, and alkalizing foods make up 80% of the 80/20 diet.
What This Means To You
If you've been following the dietary plan in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, you're taking a powerful action that does more than strengthening bone. It supports your overall health in ways that studies have shown translate into a longer life.
If you want to keep infusing your diet with pH-balanced dishes featuring a variety of the vegetables and fruits you need each day, check out Bone Appétit. It's a treasure trove of bone-building dishes, along with a meal planner that makes transforming your diet easy and delicious.
Keep making smart dietary choices that serve your bones, your health, and your longevity. They'll keep you feeling good, strong, and satisfied.