…fiber, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids helped win points while elements like sodium and trans fat lost points.
For example, for seafood range from about 10 minutes of healthy life lost to 70 minutes of healthy life gained. This difference is largely driven by the omega-3 fatty acid content found in each seafood that can reduce the probability of ischemic heart disease.
What You Should Eat Instead
Looking for a lunch alternative to your hot dog? Researchers found that pb&j could actually add 33 minutes to your life, the top score for any food tracked, according to the full study results.
“Increasing the consumption of nuts and of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (driven by nut content), legumes, seafood, fruits, snack bars, ready-to-eat cereals and non-starchy vegetables is health beneficial,” the authors wrote.
Substituting the likes of fruit, veggies, nuts, or beans for the equivalent of one lousy hot dog could buy you an extra 48 minutes of healthy life.
Healthy life is defined as 1) being alive; and 2) living free of health problems ranging from skin irritations to cancer.
More Healthier Choices to Choose From
To make it easier to make healthier choices, the researchers put foods into three categories, from best to worst in terms of both health and environmental impact:
- Green zone: Fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and some responsibly harvested seafood.
- Yellow zone: Poultry, grains, and most dairy.
- Red zone: Meat, especially red meat, and most especially processed red meat, plus sugared beverages.
So even if you don’t want to read all of the research or even dive deeper into what each zone means, Jolliet offered a simple and concise suggestion: “Start reducing the red foods now, finding alternatives you like in the green or even intermediary yellow zone.”