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Eat well to keep up physical independence longer

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Physical independence is an essential part of healthy aging, but few studies have examined how diet affects physical function in old age. A new study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital addressed this question and found that this highly modifiable factor (i.e., diet) can have a large influence on maintaining physical function. This study was done in men but the results are similar to earlier results in women.

They classified food categories as follows: higher intake is better for vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids; moderate intake is better for alcohol, and lower intake is better for sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juice, red and processed meats, trans fatty acids and sodium or salt.

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