Small changes to diet may prolong life

It is hard to eat right all the time, but making small improvements by choosing healthier foods now and then may significantly boost your chances of living longer, said a recent US study.

The report in the New England Journal of Medicine is the first to show that improving diet quality over at least 12 years is associated with lower total and cardiovascular mortality.

Researchers at Harvard University tracked the dietary changes in a population of nearly 74,000 health professionals who logged their eating habits every four years.

Over the 12-year span, those who ate a little better than they did at the start - primarily by consuming more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fatty fish - saw an 8 per cent to 17 per cent lower risk of dying prematurely in the next 12 years.

Those whose diets got worse over time saw a higher risk of dying in the next 12 years of follow-up, on the order of a 6 per cent to 12 per cent increase. - REUTERS