A study has shown that following a specific healthy diet can be just as beneficial as taking an extra 4,000 steps a day to keep fit.
Scientists say that adding “superfoods” to the diet increases fitness without any real exercise, and also improves overall health. They believe this is because a nutritious diet improves metabolism by helping the body process calories and absorb healthy foods.
The reason some people who exercise are better than others (who also exercise) may be that they are more strict about what they eat.
More than 2,000 participants had to run on a treadmill while Harvard researchers measured their oxygen levels.
People who strictly adhered to a Mediterranean diet consisting of plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains had the same level of fitness as people who took about 4,000 steps a day in the researchers’ previous studies.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, which acts as a natural fat burner and helps boost your metabolism. It also contains a high percentage of antioxidants that protect against inflammation and other health problems.
“In middle-aged adults, healthy eating was strongly associated with physical fitness, even after adjusting for activity levels. The improvement in fitness was similar to the effect of taking an extra 4,000 steps,” said study author Dr. Michael May of Harvard. Beth Israel Deaconess University Medical Center in Boston. Every day “.
A healthy diet is known to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Dr. Mee’s study used data from 2,380 middle-aged Americans. Participants completed a meal frequency questionnaire to assess their consumption of 126 foods over the past year. The study compared the physical fitness of the participants and the quality of nutrition.
The information was used to rate the quality of the diet using the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) on a scale of 1 to 110 and the Mediterranean Diet Scale (MDS) on a scale of 0 to 25, both of which are associated with heart health.
The results showed that there are high quality and highly rated “superfoods” that can improve your health, including:
Whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats)
Legumes (such as beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas)
Limit red meat and alcohol
The study found that every additional 13 points on the Healthy Eating Scale resulted in a 5% improvement in cycling performance.
Dr May added: “There are actually many healthy reasons for eating a high quality diet, and we offer another reason why it has to do with physical fitness. and alcohol is a great place to start.”