Anyone who hasn’t noticed the ever-increasing number of studies that show how meat and dairy increase one’s chances of developing a variety of serious health problems just isn’t paying attention. Whether is Bill Clinton advocating for a plant based diet to fight heart disease or Dr. Oz turning a cowboy vegan to reverse his Type 2 Diabetes, the data all points to fruits and veggies as powerful preventative medicine.
Here are four health problems a plant based diet can help prevent or even reverse. Now, each time you eat your delicious veg meals, you can think to yourself crisis averted.
1. Heart Disease
Don’t just take Bill Clinton’s word for it. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) also sings the praises of a plant based diet to prevent or even reverse heart disease. CNN’s resident physician Dr. Sanjay Gupta notably declared that a vegan diet makes the human heart “heart-attack proof.” What makes a vegetarian or vegan diet so adept at maintaining a healthy heart? PCRM writes on their website, “Vegetarian diets also help prevent heart disease. Animal products are the main source of saturated fat and the only source of cholesterol in the diet. Vegetarians avoid these risky products.”
2. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can start or be worsened by a diet high in salt, fat, cholesterol and by eating too many calories. Thankfully, a vegan diet tends to be low in all of those things. Although you certainly can consume a bunch of salt, it’s pretty difficult to load saturated fat and cholesterol into a plant based diet. Live Strong reports that a “vegetarian diet that is high in a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes that are prepared in a healthy way can help to bring high blood pressure numbers down or prevent high blood pressure from developing.” And of course a whole bunch of studies back up the info including one dating back to the early nineteen hundreds. The ADA lists lower blood pressure as a perk of the diet. Want numbers? Check out this study discussed on The Vegetarian Resource Group.
3. Type 2 Diabetes
Studies show that a vegan diet helps to prevent Type 2 Diabetes, and, miraculously, can even help to reverse the condition. A few years ago PCRM’s study showed that a low fat plant based diet was more successful at preventing Type 2 Diabetes than the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association. PCRM writes, “Forty-three percent of the vegan group and 26 percent of the ADA group reduced their diabetes medications. Among those whose medications remained constant, the vegan group lowered hemoglobin A1C, an index of long-term blood glucose control, by 1.2 points, three times the change in the ADA group.” Perhaps our favorite real-life turn around story comes from Dr. Oz and the Texas cowboy he turned vegan for 28 days. What a transformation!
But if you want more data, Live Strong has this to say: “Research by scientists at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami in Florida and published in “Ethnicity and Disease” in 2003 discovered that the prevalence of diabetes is lower among long-term vegetarians.”
4. Various Types of Cancer
Whether it’s breast cancer, colon cancer or prostate cancer, a vegan diet has the scientific data behind it to show that it works as preventative care. Kathy Freston writes on the findings of T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study, “In fact, these findings indicate that the vast majority perhaps 80 to 90% of all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other forms of degenerative illness can be prevented, at least until very old age, simply by adopting a plant-based diet.” Bill Clinton cited The China Study when he gave up meat and dairy. Campbell isn’t alone in his findings. Live Strong reports, “According to a study published in the December 2008 issue of “Urology,” men with early-stage prostate cancer were able to avoid or delay conventional treatment by consuming low-fat, plant-based diets, engaging in exercise and reducing their stress levels.”
While we discuss four benefits to dropping the animal products from your diet here, it really is just the beginning. Whether it’s weighing less, lower cholesterol or a lower risk of hypertension, a healthy plant based diet really can do it all. One word of advice: stick to whole foods like nuts, whole grains, fruits and veggies. Potato chips may be vegan, but it doesn’t mean they are good for you.
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