Did you know that choosing vegetarian foods is one of the most effective ways we can protect our health?
In fact, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Heart Association and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) all agree that there are many health benefits associated with vegetarian eating. According to the USDA, vegetarians, on average, have “lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and lower total mortality.”
Beating Heart Disease
In fact, a few years ago former President Bill Clinton, who has a family history of heart disease and had had two invasive heart surgeries since 2004, chose to drastically revamp his diet in an effort to heal himself. In discussing his transformation to a heart-healthy (mostly) vegan diet in which he lost weight and gained energy, Clinton says: “I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival.”
The power of choosing plant-based foods is so significant that CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta dedicated an hour-long show to this important topic, “The Last Heart Attack.” Referring to a “food-based prescription” that could save lives, he sums it up by suggesting we should eat “nothing with a mother, nothing with a face,” and he concludes that “with what we know right now, we could see the last heart attack in America.”
A recent study funded by the National Cancer Institute reported that vegans have lower rates of cancer than both meat-eaters and vegetarians. In an experiment to find an explanation, people were placed on different diets with drops of their blood dripped onto cancer cells that were growing in a petri dish. The results were amazing! Women on a plant-based diet for even just two weeks were found to suppress the growth of three types of breast cancer cells and similar results were found for men and prostate cancer.
The good news: research is showing that we can prevent and even reverse Type 2 diabetes through a healthy diet and exercise. A 2006 study found that 43% of individuals with type 2 diabetes who followed a low-fat vegan diet for 22 weeks were able to reduce their medications used to manage the disease. Another study found that 21 of 23 patients on oral medications and 13 of 17 patients on insulin were able to get off of their medications after 26 days on a near-vegetarian diet and exercise program.
The research showing the benefits of plant-based foods is so strong that the American Diabetes Association acknowledges that “research supports that following this type of diet can help prevent and manage diabetes,” and that “research on vegan diets has found that carbohydrate and calorie restrictions were not necessary and still promoted weight loss.”