Small diet changes can drastically reduce risk of premature death

Small diet changes can drastically reduce risk of premature death

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - If you're looking for ways to be healthier, it may be simpler than you think.

A new study done at Harvard found that low-effort changes to your diet can have big impacts.

The study found that people who improve the quality of their diet over time can significantly reduce the risk of premature death by way of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

"Overall, our findings underscore the benefits of healthy eating patterns including the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. Our study indicates that even modest improvements in diet quality could meaningfully influence mortality risk and conversely, worsening diet quality may increase the risk," said lead author Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, who worked on the study while a postdoctoral fellow in the Harvard Chan School Department of Nutrition and who is currently an assistant professor of nutrition at Ohio University.

A defining example: by swapping out just one serving of red or processed meat for one daily serving of nuts or legumes was linked with an 8% to 17% reduction in the risk of death. In contract, worsening diet quality was associated with a 6-12% increase in that risk.

The study found that micro-changes – the idea of taking small steps – can impact your health dramatically in the long run.

Simple changes, like switching out refined carbs for whole grain versions, adding a serving of fruit and veggies daily, and replacing butter with olive oil – was found to dramatically reduce mortality risks.

For a full list of some of those food swaps, click here.

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