Plant-based diet prevents and fights chronic diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease

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In 2016, an estimated 1,685,21o new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. and 595,690 people will die from this devastating diagnosis. (1)  On February 13, 2015, the American Cancer Society recommended that cancer survivors should follow “prudent diets.”  Specifically, they recommend a plant-based diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains and low in red and processed meats, refined grains and sugars.  (2)

American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors follow a plant-based diet

Harvard Medical School has furthered these recommendations with their Harvard Healthy Eating plan.  They report that the latest scientific evidence shows that a plant-based diet lowers the risk of weight gain and chronic diseases.  Experts believe that these diets increase the nutrient intake for both children and adult and limit “empty calorie” intake.  Studies show that a plant-based diet offers protection against coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome risk factors, cancer, obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular mortality. (3)

Not all plant-based diet require complete elimination of animal products

Plant-based diets are high in complex carbohydrates, omega-6 fatty acids, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and antioxidants such as carotenoids and folic acid.  Diets such as the Ornish Diet, The 80-10-10 Diet, vegan diet, vegetarian diet, the DASH Diet and Mediterranean Diet are all considered to be plant-based diets.  While some of these diets allow some meat, fish and animal products, these can also be eliminated for a completely plant-based diet.  (3)

When considering a plant-based diet, consider the following health benefits associated with a diet low in meat, animal products, refined grains and sugars.  (3)

Five benefits of adopting a plant-based diet

  1. Anti-Inflammatory:  Inflammation is connected to most chronic diseases from leaky gut syndrome to arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.  Eating foods that fight oxidative stress and reduce free radical damage can help stop the progress of the inflammation.  Anti-inflammatory foods promote longevity, regulate immune systems, help foster improved gut health, boost immune functioning, and reduce autoimmune reactions. (3)
  2. High Fiber:  Plants, seeds, grains, and legumes are high in fiber and capable of reducing the risk of constipation, digestive problems, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.  A high fiber diet can reduce cravings and overeating and help reduce plaque buildup in arteries. (3)
  3. Healthy Weight:  Plant-based diets are cost effect and have low-risk interventions that help reverse obesity.  A 2013 study found that an 18-week dietary intervention of a low-fat plant-based diet resulted in improved body weight, plasma lipids, and glycemic control. (3)
  4. Reduce Risk of Chronic Disease:  Populations around that world that enjoy a plant-based diet have far less chronic diseases than those who consume the Western diet.  The Lyon Diet Heart Study found that the Mediterranean diet could cut the risk of heart attacks and death rates by 70 percent when compared with the American Heart Association Diet. (3)
  5. Environment:  The plant-based diet not only helps our bodies but also helps the planet.  Eating more sustainable foods can lower the carbon footprint, spare the lives of animals and reduce global food scarcity.  (3)

Sources Included:

(1) http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics

(2) http://www.forksoverknives.com/science-says-about-diet-and-cancer/

(3) https://draxe.com/plant-based-diet/

Lynn Griffith
Lynn is a licensed therapist who enjoys cooking, creativity and enjoys helping other's learn how to care for their minds and bodies through healthy eating.  Lynn has wrote for The Raw Food World News and is currently in the process of building her own website focused on managing mental health through nutrition and wellness.