You may have been seeing on the internet and TV all the celebrities and athletes that have gone plant-based, or maybe you just left the doctor’s office with yet ANOTHER prescription and are feeling a bit frustrated. Or perhaps you got the call that a friend or family member has been diagnosed with cancer and it’s causing you some stress. Whatever the reason, the idea of going plant-based is becoming more and more appealing, but some of you just aren’t quite there yet. Well here are FoodTherapyMD’s top 7 reasons to finally take the plant-based leap:
1. It’s the hands-down, unequivocally, the best diet for your heart. A whole food, plant-based diet is the ONLY diet that has reversed coronary lesions angiographically (which is the gold-standard). Plant-based diets also have been proven to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and just 7 days eating plant-based resulted in measurable reduction in angina symptoms in those with ischemic heart disease and blockage of the arteries.
2. Lowers your risk of cancer and cancer progression.There is one thing that proponents of meat-centric diets cannot overlook or cover up, and that is the STRONG association between animal products and cancer. There are numerous scientific explanations for this, including hormones, heme protein, pathogenic gut flora and TMAO. But the elephant in the room is IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor). IGF-1 is produced in the liver and is important for growth and sexual maturation in utero and in childhood. However, if levels remain high in adulthood, it promotes cancer growth and decreases immune function. The association between IGF-1 and cancer has been recognized for decades. In fact, cancer drugs that decrease IGF-1 pathway have been in development for many years, and decreasing levels through diet is a widely acknowledged as an effective method of cancer prevention. All animal flesh increases IGF-1, including poultry, dairy, and yes, grass fed meats. The World Health Organization has even labeled processed meats (sausage, bacon, deli meats) as Group 1 Carcinogens (along with asbestos and cigarettes), and non-processed meats are “Probably Carcinogenic” and strongly associated with multiple forms of cancer, especially colorectal cancer.
3. Better for the environment. It just so happens that the optimal diet for your body is also the optimal diet for the planet. Animal agriculture plays a substantial part in greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, water scarcity, antibiotic resistance (60% of all antibiotics produced go into farmed animals) and deforestation. Not to mention the issues with animal cruelty. It has been estimated that an individual can reduce their carbon footprint by 70% just by giving up meat and dairy. That makes it more effective AND CHEAPER than buying that Tesla!
4. You will look better. Sometimes the appeal to vanity is the thing that finally works! And eating a whole foods plant based diet is a surefire way to turn back the clock. This is because the aging process, although complicated, is essentially an inflammatory process. Oxidative stress in the cells of the organs, which includes the skin, leads to shortening of the ends of chromosomes (called telomeres) and subsequent cell death. But certain things have been found to keep your telomeres long and healthy, and those things are the nutrients in whole plant foods. And guess what causes your telomeres to shorten and cells to die? Animal protein and processed refined sugar. So yes, there is a fountain of youth, and it’s around the corner at the farmer’s market.
5. You can say “bye bye” to Diabetes. Adopting a whole foods, plant based diet is a proven way to lower blood sugar and reverse/eliminate Type 2 Diabetes. Many people aren’t aware of the actual pathology in Type 2 Diabetes, and how inflammatory animal products and fats cause insulin resistance. Most people, including doctors, focus of sugar intake alone when managing diabetes. But numerous studies with hundreds of thousands of subjects have conclusively demonstrated that vegan diets (and to a lesser extent, vegetarian diets) effectively lower blood sugar levels and reverse diabetes, as well as protecting against diabetic complications like heart disease, strokes, blindness, kidney disease, and amputations.
6. You can eliminate most (and possibly all) of your medications. Amazing things happen as early as 2 weeks after starting a whole food plant based diet. Blood pressure decreases, joint pains go away, and blood sugar lowers. All inflammatory conditions, like asthma and bowel disease, are also positively effected. This usually requires a reduction or stopping of several prescription meds. And it makes sense, because drugs treat SYMPTOMS of disease, while plant-based diets treat the underlying inflammatory CAUSE of disease.
7. You will improve your mood, sleep, and even prevent dementia. Why is plant-based eating better for the brain health? Most research centers around the anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in plant foods. The antioxidants found in fresh fruits and vegetables helps to repair damage to cells and can help to balance neurotransmitters for optimal brain function and less depression.
If you are still not convinced that transitioning to a plant-based diet is right for you, give it a trial run for a few weeks and experience the difference in your health and the way you feel firsthand. And if you need help in transitioning, or have questions, contact us at FoodTherapyMD.com.