Active-duty males involved in the U.S. Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection course who had higher Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores—used to assess compliance with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans—performed better on the demanding Army Physical Fitness Test and were up to 75% more likely to be selected for the elite unit than those with the lowest diet-quality scores, according to a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Higher scores for total vegetables, greens and beans, seafood, and plant protein were associated with better fitness, including improved situp and running performance. The highest HEI scores were found among military men who were over age 25, did not smoke, had at least some college education and were likely to engage in more than 400 minutes (6.67 hours) of resistance training weekly.
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