Adults who start following a healthier diet during their 40s can extend their lifespan by eight or more years, latest research claims.

Evidence from a study of more than 460,000 Brits shows that people will live longer if they eat more nuts and whole grains and reduce their sugary drinks and processed meats intake.

Women in their 40s who start following the NHS Eatwell Guide are expected to live for eight years and seven months longer than if they were adopting a typically British unhealthy diet, the research has reported.

Meanwhile, a 40-year-old man is likely to live for almost nine years longer if they follow the Eatwell Guide, the study has revealed.

Older adults in their 70s can also extend their life by roughly four years if they follow the Eatwell Guide, according to the researchers.

The guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy balanced diet.

People are advised to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Lead author Professor Lars Thadnes said: “Healthy eating can prevent premature deaths from things like heart attacks and strokes.

“People changing their diet as much as possible could help to achieve targets to reduce these avoidable deaths.”

Professor Thadnes added: “A key priority is for people to reduce their consumption of sugary drinks like cola and lemonade, and processed meats like bacon and sausages, and to eat more whole grains and nuts.

“The Eatwell Guide provides a framework to be more aware of what we are consuming.”

More than 467,000 adults involved in the UK Biobank study took part in the investigation by completing a food survey to outline their average food intake.

The research shows that those who are more at risk of dying prematurely ate a small amount of legumes, whole grains, nuts, milk, white meat, dairy products, fruit, vegetables and fish.

In addition, the study has reported that those most likely to die prematurely regularly consumed a lot of white bread, processed meats, biscuits, white rice, eggs and sugary drinks.

This study has been published in the journal Nature Food.

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