Diet and walk faster to better health

An older person's gait -- or walking speed An older person's gait -- or walking speed -- has been associated with better health. Those who shuffle along are rarely healthier than those who can pick up the pace. Photo Credit: Fotolia

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Don't want to eat and run? How about eat and walk fast.

An older person's gait — or walking speed — has been associated with better health. Those who shuffle along are rarely healthier than those who can pick up the pace. A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has found a link between a Mediterranean-style diet and the ability to walk faster.

The study followed 2,225 people 70 and older for eight years. All were "well functioning" at the outset. Those who had the strictest adherence to a Mediterranean diet not only walked faster at the start of the study but still outpaced their non-Mediterranean-diet counterparts when the study ended.

A typical Mediterranean diet consists of lots of fruits and vegetables and little red meat. It also is low in saturated fats and higher in beneficial fats, such as olive, canola and sunflower oils.

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