Each meal provides us with the opportunity to make a choice. Do I go for the food that satisfies a craving, will fill me up, slow me down or is just tastier? No matter what you decide to put on your plate, learning more about what foods may or may not serve you can help with this decision.
A number of studies have already begun to uncover the relationship between diet and disease. In a study looking specifically at the effect a plant based diet has on type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other risk factors, such as obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and inflammation, a positive correlation was shown. This tells us that there is truth to Hippocrates’s well known philosophy of “food as thy medicine”.
In a review analyzing data from 87 different studies, it was found that a vegan or vegetarian diet is a highly effective means for weight loss. This is important to note because obesity is a precursor to a number of diseases. In addition to this finding, the review also found that vegetarian populations have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. And when looking at the process of atherosclerosis, Dr. Dean Ornish saw 82 percent of his
patients diagnosed with heart disease experience some level of regression when following his plant based program. In Dr. Ornish’s program, 10 percent of calories came from fat, 15 to 20 percent from protein, and 70 to 75 percent from carbohydrates.
The review concluded that a whole-foods plant-based diet consisting of legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, with limited or no intake of refined foods or animal products is extremely beneficial in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes. Such a diet simultaneously helps treat and prevent cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in the United States, with cancer following in second.
No matter what state of health you’re in, the research provides that a plant based diet has the potential to improve your health. At your next meal, start with plants first and go from there. Just incorporating a little more vegetables and a little less meat can add up over a period of time.