The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, examined the diets of 59, 038 Swedish women. Researchers were interested in the influence of healthy and less healthy foods on mortality.
Sixty foods commonly consumed in Sweden were classified as healthy or less healthy.
Foods Considered Healthy
- apples, pears
- citrus, banana
- lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, kale
- cabbage, root vegetables (carrots, beets, etc.)
- beans, peas
- milk with 0.5% or 1.5% fat, yogurt with 1.5% fat
- whole grain bread, crisp bread, oats
- salmon, herring, tuna, other fish excluding shellfish
- meat, meat stew, minced meat
- bacon, sausages, blood pudding
- cold cuts, pate, liver, kidney
- fried potatoes, French fries, chips
- cheese, butter, margarine
- white bread
- pancakes/Belgian waffles
- cookies, ice cream, candy, sugar
While this finding may seem like common sense, it emphasizes the importance of a balanced, healthy diet. Foods in the healthy group are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, probiotics (the "good" bacteria), fiber, and essential fatty acids. Nutritional supplements should not be viewed as a substitute for a healthy diet.
It should be noted that this study did not adjust for smoking, physical activity, and use of dietary supplements, all factors which may influence mortality.
1. Michels KB, Wolk A. A prospective study of a variety of health foods and mortality in women. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2002; 31:847-54.