Wednesday, January 13, 2016


OF A PLANT-BASED DIET When you consider Bill Clinton’s svelte physique post-heart surgery and Paul McCartney’s on-stage energy, it may seem that vegetarianism is a fountain of youth. And a strong body of research supports the idea that a plant-based diet can boost your health, decreasing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, and helping you stay at a healthy weight. It can even lengthen your life, according to a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine that tracked more than 70,000 people. 
But for many, life without steak, barbecued chicken, or pork tacos doesn’t sound so appealing. Fortunately, you don’t have to make an either/or choice. “Just making a shift to a more plant-based diet can offer significant health benefits,” says Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D., an adjunct associate professor of nutrition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The main advantages of a plant-based diet seem to be more related to the foods you’re eating lots of (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts) rather than those you’re eating less of (meat). “When you base your meals on plant foods, you’re packing your diet with the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that most Americans don’t get enough of,” says Sharon Palmer, R.D.N., editor of Environmental Nutrition.
Plant-based diets are also full of phytochemicals, compounds that help keep many of your body’s systems running smoothly. For instance, the anthocyanins in berries help protect vision; carotenoids in carrots and cantaloupe, and the isothiocyanates in brussels sprouts neutralize the free radicals that cause cell damage; and flavonoids in apples help control inflammation.

This article is written by Rachel Meltzer Warren to Consumer Reports. Despite all the evidence which proves that the adoption of plant-based diets is a way to improve individual and public health, many people still consider that humans have evolved as carnivores, and they do not want to live without eating meat. However, one thing is clear: the more unprocessed plant based foods you eat, the better your overall health. So regardless of what diet you choose - vegetarian, vegan, paleo - avoid processed foods. If you became vegetarian or vegan, you will never worry about your cholesterol or blood pressure levels. Another thing to take into account is that eating beef has daunting environmental impacts. We should also be aware of the fact that eating vegetarian or vegan foods helps combat climate change and other environmental problems. Because of the amount of grain and land used to produce a pound of beef, as well as the volume of methane the animals produce, the world’s intake of beef has significant environmental ramifications, particularly in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, the environmental impacts from beef production dwarf those of other animal foods such as dairy products, pork and poultry.  Apart from all that, did you know that each vegetarian or vegan person spares more than 100 animals from dreadful anguish, suffering and pain every year? So, why not try to put more vegetables on your plate and gradually eliminate meat consumption? (Editor's note).

The word “vegetarian,” first used by the founders of the British Vegetarian Society in 1842, comes from the Latin word “vegetus” meaning “whole, sound, fresh, or vigorous”. The original meaning of the word implies a balanced philosophy and moral sense of life, much more than a diet of fruits and vegetables. In 1961 the Journal of the American Medical Association said: “Between 90% and 97% of heart disease can be prevented by a vegetarian diet.” Since then it is known scientifically that after snuff and alcohol, meat consumption is a major cause of mortality in Western Europe, USA, Australia and other regions. A report by the British medical journal, The Lancet, DCR Sirtori concluded that people with high levels of cholesterol associated with heart disease “may benefit from a diet in which protein comes only from vegetables.” 


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