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Key to long life lies in what you eat: American Heart Assn

Written by: Staff

Washington, July 6 (UNI) What you eat can determine how long you live, says the American Heart Association in a report recommending new diet and lifestyle choices for a longer and healthier life.

''What these American Heart Association dietary and lifestyle recommendations are really focused on is long term, permanent change in the way we eat and the way we move our bodies,'' said Dr Alice Lichtenstein from Tufts University who chairs the Heart Association's committee on nutrition, according to the Association's website.

Dr Lichtenstein says a lot of people think of diet as depriving themselves of foods they enjoy but this is not true. ''If you really focus on a whole dietary pattern,'' she says, ''then there's a lot of flexibility and it's more likely that people can make changes that they can live with for a long period of time and still not feel deprived or that they are making any major deviation from the way they normally would eat.'' Key recommendations in the new guidelines include eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and high fiber foods.

It also includes eating fish at least twice a week, especially oily fish such as salmon, which is rich in omega three fatty acids. These acids are found to reduce the risk of heart disease.

The association also says to choose and prepare foods with little or no salt, avoid added sugars and pay attention to portion size and calories. Limit intake of saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol, which can be found in meat and fried foods such as French fries.

The new guidelines also recommend regular physical activity, which helps with blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Other recommendations involve tobacco products -- avoid using them, avoid smoking and stay away from smokers so you do not breathe the smoke they exhale.

The American Heart Association says these recommendations would benefit anyone anywhere in the world.


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