A healthy diet could add 10 years to your life. These three foods appear to make the most of a difference.

Changing an unhealthy diet to a healthy diet in middle age could add 10 years to a person's life. A study found that eating lots of whole grains, nuts, and fruits could make the biggest difference. The bigger the change to the diet, the bigger the life-expectancy gains in the study.

It is found that people in their 40s who switched their unhealthy diet to a longevity-associated diet could add about 10 years to their life expectancy. The change was associated with an extra 10.8 years for women and 10.4 years for men. 

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In the meantime, switching from an ordinary to a longevity-associated diet was connected to a 3.1-year increase in life expectancy for women in their 40s, and a slightly higher 3.4-year rise for males. 

Making the same dietary adjustments in their 70s was related with a five-year increase in life expectancy. 

"Gains in life expectancy are lower the longer the delay in the initiation of dietary improvements, but even for those initiating dietary change at age 70 years, the gain in life expectancy is about half of that achieved by 40-year-old adults," the authors wrote. 

But overall, they found the bigger the changes toward a healthy diet, the bigger the expected gains in life expectancy were. 

whole grains, nuts, and fruits appeared to make the biggest positive difference to life expectancy. The foods that were most closely linked to mortality were sugar-sweetened beverages and processed meat .

The researchers' analysis said a longevity-associated diet consisted of a high intake of milk and dairy, vegetables, nuts, and legumes and a moderate intake of whole grains, fruit, fish, and white meat. 

It also included a relatively low intake of eggs, red meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages and a low intake of refined grains and processed meat. 

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