It's easy to feel like you have pass to eat whatever you want in your twenties. Why not eat all the pizza you can while your metabolism is still in its prime? Well, a new study published in The Journal of Nutrition has at least one reason: your health later in life.
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital studied a group of over 50,000 women involved in the Nurses' Health Study. Every four years (starting in 1980 and running through 2008), the researchers rated the women's diets against the Alternative Healthy Eating Index and measured their physical fitness (starting in 1992) throughout the duration of the study.
As you can probably guess, maintaining a healthier diet resulted in better health as the nurses got older, specifically in terms of mobility. As you get older, your mobility might make or break your ability to walk around the block or get yourself dressed in the morning. The food choices that mattered most? More fruits and vegetables; less sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fats, and sodium.
And although the quality of the overall diet proved to be the most important factor, the researchers also highlighted some individual age-fighting superfoods in the findings. Oranges, apples, pears, romaine lettuce, and walnuts all kicked ass when it came to keeping the women in the study mobile. (Check out the 12 Best Power Foods for Women)
In other words, you don't get a free diet pass just because you're young. A healthy diet matters at every age, and could predict better health later in life.