Continuing on in the same vein as in Part One, here are some more startling benefits of adopting a plant-based way of life.
Lower the risk of cancer and slow the progression of certain types of cancer
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) states “It’s never too late to lower your risk”. A consistent diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains will protect against a range of cancers, including mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, colon, lung, pancreas and prostate. The huge EPIC prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition found that the incidence of all cancers combined was lower among those eating plant-based diets. On February 13, 2015, the American Cancer Society published their recommendations that cancer survivors should follow “prudent diets” in order to prolong survival. Their suggested “prudent diet” is plant-based, high in fruits, vegetables and unrefined grains while at the same time being extremely low in meats, refined grains, and sugars.
(See Sources #45 to 55)
Reduce overall mortality and increase length of life
In 2010 the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee for Americans performed a literature review that revealed that plant-based diets are associated with reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease when compared with non-plant-based diets. Several studies have also documented that excessive consumption of red meat is associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality. Two aspects of the plant-based diet are thought to be responsible for longevity. Low meat intake is associated with both a longer lifespan and with healthier and more productive later years. Whole grains as part of the diet have been found to extend life expectancy due to prevention of chronic diseases in the first place (primary prevention) and also to reversing disease that is already present (secondary prevention).
(See Sources #56 to 60)
Protection against cognitive decline
Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment and other types of dementia are examples of cognitive decline. They appear as alterations in memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes. It is becoming apparent that what is good for our hearts is also good for our minds. Clogging of arteries inside the brain with plaque buildup and narrowing is evident on autopsy of a high percentage of those who have died with Alzheimer’s disease. The same diet that works for cardiovascular disease elsewhere in the body also works in the brain.
Genetics appear to have less of a role in the health of our brains than our diet and lifestyle. Even if you have the ApoE variant gene that is linked with the susceptibility to develop Alzheimer’s, expression of the gene can be altered by the food that you eat. The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease increases as the diet that is being eaten becomes more westernized. In fact the lowest incidence of Alzheimer’s in the world is in rural India where people eat traditional plant-based diets centered on grains and vegetables. Once again, diet is the parameter that succeeds in clearing out arteries and, in so doing, clears aging brains as well.
(See Sources # 61 to 70)
Enjoy a healthier mood and increased energy
Studies on people who eat plant-based find that they experience less tension, anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue. Even a single carbohydrate-rich meal improves these parameters. Cross-sectional studies from all over the world support the relationship between happiness and fruit and vegetable intake, with people eating seven or eight servings a day reporting both good humour and the highest satisfaction with life. Often one healthy behaviour goes with another but the happiness/fruit and vegetable association remains significant even after controlling for exercise, smoking, body weight and current health level. The benefits are not just short-term but the positive mood continued on through the next day too. Other benefits are increased energy, improved sleep, less confusion and fewer mood disturbances.
(See Sources #71 to 78)
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Mortality and Longevity
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Mood and energy
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