We know from previous studies that good nutrition is strongly linked to optimal health. Now, experts at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have found another reason to choose our foods wisely as we age: better mobility.
Using data from the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study—designed to explore the risk factors tied to chronic disease in women—researchers determined that women who eat healthier diets are less likely to experience a decline in physical function as they age, and that eating the right foods may help prevent or delay problems with movement and flexibility.
Findings from the study, published this month in the Journal of Nutrition, point to the benefits of eating more fruits, vegetables, and nuts, while limiting or avoiding foods and beverages that are high in sugar, sodium, and trans fats.
“We think a lot about chronic diseases, cancer, heart disease, and tend not to think of physical function,” said study author Kaitlin Hagan, ScD, MPH. “Physical function is crucial as you age; it includes being able to get yourself dressed, walk around the block, and could impact your ability to live independently.”