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Is Food Better Than Supplements for Longevity?

A new study out of Tufts University involving more than 27,000 Americans is the latest research that shows that most supplements may not do much to improve health or at least can’t compete with a healthy diet.

Some interesting findings:

Taking supplements, the study found, did not translate to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or any other cause for that matter. Getting an adequate amount of Vitamin K and Magnesium from Food, however, reduced the risk of dying overall by more than 20 percent. Those whose diet had enough Vitamin A and K, copper and zinc cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by half.

Researchers found that among supplement takers, nutrients from the foods they ate were protective but the nutrients from supplements were not.

The study highlighted the negative effects of the overuse of supplements. For example, getting 1,000 mg per day of calcium in pill form was linked to a 62 percent increased risk of cancer. However, people getting the same amount of calcium from food did not increase cancer risk.

One main takeaway from the study is the fact that if your diet is made up mostly of nutritious foods, supplements won’t necessarily offer any additional benefit. The key is not to focus too much of a specific vitamins or minerals. Eat a variety of healthy, whole foods - whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes and lean meats. You will get the vitamins and minerals you need.


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