Older women who ate a healthy plant-based diet (with foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, vegetable oils, tea, and coffee) had a lower risk of frailty over 14 years, while those who ate an unhealthy plant-based diet (with foods like refined grains, potatoes, sweets and desserts, fruit juices, and sugar-sweetened drinks) or a diet with more animal foods had a higher risk.

Frailty was defined as having at least three of five criteria: fatigue, low strength, reduced aerobic capacity, unintentional weight loss, or at least five chronic illnesses like arthritis, cancer, depression, heart attack, hypertension, stroke, or type 2 diabetes.

What to do

This kind of study can’t prove that healthy plant foods cut the risk of frailty, but don’t assume that you need to eat meat to stay strong.

sliced radishes and snap peas topped with feta cheese

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