The lead author of this study, Michael May of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, VA, says press release.
“The improvement in physical fitness that we observed in participants who ate a better diet is consistent with the effect of 4,000 extra steps each day.”
Fruit and vegetables work
The researchers’ study included 2,380 people with an average age of 54, of whom 54 percent were women.
All participants had to undergo a cycling test to measure their maximum oxygen uptake, called the VO2 value.
In addition, the participants filled out a questionnaire about their diet. Participants who ate plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish and healthy fats — and had limited intake of red meat and alcohol — scored highest on the researchers’ scale.
According to the researchers, there was a clear relationship between diet and physical fitness in both men and women, and the link was particularly pronounced among participants under the age of 54.
The findings suggest that the connection may be due to a healthier diet linked to a better metabolism.
Metabolism describes the chemical processes in the body that convert water, food, and other substances into substances the body needs to function—and, according to researchers, a good metabolism can explain why you get in better shape from eating healthy.
The researchers conducted an observational study, and emphasized that they couldn’t be sure whether a healthy diet leads to better fitness — or whether well-trained people are the ones who eat healthily.
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