7.3 million Americans are vegetarians and a further 22.8 million Americans follow a “vegetarian inclined diet”, meaning that, although they are not vegetarian they eat meat only occasionally. Most vegetarians eat more fresh fruit and veg than the average meat eater. A newly published study shows that the average vegetarian is likely to live up to a whopping ten years longer than the average meat eater.
The largest study of vegetarians and vegans yet, the report shows that those following a plant-based diet have a longer life expectancy, living an average of 8 years longer than meat eaters. What is it about plant based diets that help you to live longer? And what can you do?
Heart disease is America’s biggest killer. One of the primary causes of heart disease is dietary cholesterol, which is found only in animal fat. By reducing or cutting out animal fat altogether, researchers propose that it is possible to not only stop the progression of heart disease, but to reverse heart disease altogether. Studies show that a vegan diet can open clogged arteries without the need for surgery or drugs.
Let’s move on to America’s second biggest killer, cancer. Alternative cancer therapies are leaping forward in using food as medicine and focusing on removing the environmental causes of cancer. This study shows the effectiveness of such measures and indicates the involvement of diet in the development, treatment and cure of the disease.
Researchers found that men who had followed a vegan diet for a year had almost 8 times the cancer fighting power of people who ate meat regularly. Further studies show that being vegan for as little as two weeks could dramatically increase a woman’s natural ability to prevent and fight breast cancer by reducing levels of insulin growth factor (IGF)1 and enhancing natural levels of IGF-1 binding protein.
What Can You Do?
The key to good health is balance. If you are a vegan and enjoy your way of life and the many health benefits, then great! Maybe you don’t want to go vegan; maybe you like the odd bit of meat or cheese. Marinating meat in red wine can stop your body from absorbing the cholesterol present in red meat, and making sure that your diet contains lots of fresh fruit and veg and lots of fiber can help you to maintain a healthy dietary balance.
Have meat and dairy as a treat and try swapping a few meals a week from meat and dairy to plant-based.
Animal fat is the only source of dietary cholesterol and is linked to a shorter life span.
The cholesterol in one egg could affect a woman’s life span as much as five cigarettes.
Plant based food
Fiber, which is only found in plant based food, is linked to significantly longer life.
The fiber in the equivalent of a daily cup of oatmeal could extend a woman’s life as much as four hours’ jogging a week.
By simply swapping a meal a day from a meat or dairy based one to a vegan one, or by changing your eggs for breakfast to fruit and oatmeal, you could improve your health, probably lose weight AND live longer. Why not give it a try?!
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