A NEW STUDY indicates even if you change your DIET in OLD AGE- you will LIVE LONGER with less complications!

The findings, reported in the July 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, might not sound surprising. Health experts said they basically reinforce messages people have been hearing for years.

"Most participants in our study were 60 years or older," she noted. The findings are based on nearly 74,000 U.S. health professionals who were part of two long-running studies that began in the 1970s and 1980s.

It turned out that people who had changed for the better -- adding more fruits and vegetables and whole grains, for example -- had a lower risk of premature death than those whose diets stayed the same.

Overall, the study found, a 20-percentile improvement in diet quality was linked to a to 17 percent decrease in the risk of early death from any cause. There was a similar dip in the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke, specifically.

Swapping out one daily serving of red meat for one serving of legumes or nuts, for example, is as simple as the change needs to be.

"This study reinforces what we've been saying for a long time," Ideally, healthy eating is a lifelong habit. But you're never "too old" to make changes for the better, Lichtenstein noted.