Over the last several years, there has been some in depth research into food for health and related issues. But did you know that it has now been shown that eating healthy foods can actually reverse life threatening diseases?
From Bill Clinton talking about how a plant based diet reversed his ill health, to the China Study and now the film, Forkes over Knives - not to mention the numerous doctors, nutritionists and other health professionals strongly recommending a plant based diet - veganism is suddenly hot news!
This page is quite long winded when you include all the links I've added but I do encourage you to do your own research on this subject when you have the time. If you havn't got the time, then the video I've added below is just an hour long and covers a lot of information in a short space of time.
Think healthy eating must be difficult? Once you take out all those processed foods (and especially sugar which is in almost everything, including supermarket houmus) containing all those additives out of your diet, your blood sugar levels will balance out and you will not feel so hungry. The more you eat sugar and additives - the more you crave them! The more you eat healthily, the more you want to continue to do so!
You can skip this whole page and go straight to the video below to watch a great talk on health and nutrition. This talk is by Dr Michael Klaper. I found it interesting from the very first on screen quote. It's around one hour long and Dr Klaper is quite watchable as you will see.
Eating food for health and disease prevention (and reversal as new studies are now showing) cannot be underestimated. That old adage "we are what we eat" is more true today than it ever was when you consider the vast choices of processed and chemically enhanced foods available to us. Remember, there are a lot of people out there on a vegan diet who are not ethical vegans. They eat a plant based diet because they have learnt that cutting animal pollutants from their bodies is by far the healthiest option to take. A plant based diet is far healthier for you than consuming meat, dairy and eggs which are literally adding to the problem of ill health in humans.
Food for health is far easier to achieve when you cut out animal products! Don't just take my word for it though. Read up on the latest nutritional research and make your own conclusions.
However, here's a rundown on the importance of healthy eating and how eating the wrong foods contribute to serious diseases:
CORONARY HEART DISEASE PREVENTION:
The number one killer throughout the Western nations is coronary heart disease (CHD), which is responsible for more than 110,000 deaths a year in the UK.
CHD occurs because of a process called atherosclerosis. These are fatty deposits (or "plaque") which accumulate and harden over time on the artery walls, eventually thickening to the point that blood flow to the heart becomes dangerously restricted. A heart attack strikes when plaque deposits block too much blood (and the essential oxygen it carries) from reaching this vital organ.
While factors like age and heredity can increase a persons vulnerability to CHD - making healthy lifestyle choices and eating food for health can also dramatically raise or reduce your chances of suffering its consequences. For example, engaging in regular exercise, practicing stress reduction techniques (to reduce blood pressure), not smoking, and moderating alcohol consumption all promote heart health. But did you know that eating heart health food can help you not only prevent CHD but can even reverse existing symptoms.
Here's why: two of the main substances comprising the dangerous fatty deposits that accrue on arteries are cholesterol and saturated fat - both of which are abundant in meat, dairy and eggs - therefore these foods are not heart health foods. In contrast, all plant based foods are naturally cholesterol free, and most contain no saturated fats (oils made from coconut or palm being notable exceptions. Please note that the jury is still out on these items so do your own research on this as they may not be as bad as was initially thought). The human body internally produces its own cholesterol without needing to ingest it from an external source, so the best way to lower your cholesterol levels is to simply choose food for health and heart health food which do not contain artery clogging animal products.
Many people also assume that eating fish is good for their health and can help prevent heart attacks. New research is saying that this isn't the case. It seems the more research is done into eating animal flesh, the more it seems that we shouldn't eat it if we want a healthy body.
If going vegan seems too difficult or drastic, consider the socially sanctioned alternatives: taking statin drugs that have very unpleasant side effects or having a surgeon cut open your chest to scrape out your arteries. Now those are some desperate measures! Eating fresh fruits, veggies, beans, and grains instead of fast food hamburgers? That's just being heart smart.
Approximately 150,000 people suffer strokes in the UK every year, more than 67,000 of which are fatal. A stroke is like a "brain attack" that occurs because the arteries that carry oxygenated blood to this organ are either clogged or leaking. As in CHD, one of the main reasons that these vessels become damaged is the long term build up of cholesterol and saturated fats, which results from eating animal flesh and reproductive secretions (such as meat, dairy and eggs).
The number one risk factor for having a stroke is high blood pressure, which is sometimes called "the silent killer" because many people don't realize their blood pressure is treacherously elevated until their doctor administers a test. While the causes of high blood pressure remain indefinite - in more than 9 out of ten cases, studies show that making healthy lifestyle choices can substantially reduce blood pressure and therefore the risk of a stroke. And choosing a high fibre, cholesterol-free plant-based diet has, yet again, proven to be something of a panacea.
So, one quarter of strokes could be prevented by eating food for health and reducing meat intake while increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Still, I can't help but think that even more lives could be saved if more people went completely vegan!
According to the World Health Organization, about one third of all cancers in Western nations are caused by dietary factors with cancer rates generally ranking highest in countries that consume the most animal products per capita. The composition of meat, dairy and eggs most likely accounts for their unhealthy effects: they contain no fibre whatsoever, and yet are packed with saturated fats and cholesterol, plus cooking meat at high temperatures creates carcinogenic mutagens called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). An overwhelming amount of scientific evidence conclusively links consumption of animal products with the most common and deadly cancers, including:
Colorectal Cancer - Also known as bowel cancer, this is the second most deadly cancer in the UK (after lung cancer), killing approximately 16,000 people a year. Epidemiological research has firmly established that consuming even moderate amounts of red meat significantly increases the risk for developing this disease of the lower intestine. Red meat includes beef, pork and lamb, but high salt processed foods made from red meat (such as bacon, sausages and deli slices) are the most strongly linked with higher incidences of colorectal cancer. However, studies have also correlated consumption of white meat with increased risk for formation of colon polyps. But take heart, cancer prevention can be done and one great strategy is
becoming a vegan.
Breast Cancer - Every year in the UK, more than 45,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and about 12,000 lives are lost to this disease annually. Based on the results of numerous studies, researchers have concluded that the high fat content in animal foods triggers estrogen production, causing cancer cells to grow in the breast and other hormone sensitive organs. While plant based high fat foods have also been linked to increased estrogen levels, studies have shown that eating meat carries much greater risks, probably because the circulatory system delivers certain HCAs to the mammary glands where the body metabolically activates them.
Prostate Cancer - The most common cancer among men in the UK, prostate cancer strikes more than 35,000 new patients a year and claims an annual death toll of over 10,000 victims. The prostate gland, which is located just below the bladder, manufactures semen to be blended with sperm in the testes, making it part of the reproductive organs. As such, prostate cancer shares similarities with breast cancer because high fat animal products (especially red meat and dairy) provoke overproduction of the hormone testosterone, which then raises the risk that cancer cells will turn into tumours or metastasize to other regions of the body.
The causative relation between diet and disease has never been more obvious than today, with society undergoing a rapidly expanding obesity epidemic. Nearly one quarter of adult Britons and about 16% of children are now officially classified as obese (defined as having a Body Mass Index, or BMI, of 30 or greater), which represents an overall increase in collective obesity of 15% and 11% respectively from just 15 years ago.
Fortunately, people can drop unwanted weight simply by changing their dietary habits and eating food for health. Meat, dairy and eggs all contain lots of animal fat, so people who eat a lot of these foods tend to get fat! Conversely studies show that vegans are generally leaner than meat eaters by a substantial margin. So as it turns out, the very same vegan diet that reduces your risk of disease also keeps you trim! People on a vegan diet know that food for health means cutting out animal fats completely. Health vegans are very very rarely overweight!
More than two million people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes, a disorder in which the body cannot break down glucose in the bloodstream. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the UK, killing more people than breast and prostate cancer combined.
In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is incapable of producing insulin, which is the hormone that breaks glucose down for use as a source of energy, raising blood sugar levels to dangerous levels. People suffering from Type 1 diabetes are often diagnosed with the disease in childhood, and must take insulin injections for the rest of their lives.
People with Type 2 diabetes either can't produce enough insulin, or their bodies reject it on a cellular level so it can't break glucose molecules down. This disorder is strongly linked with diet and obesity - specifically consuming high-fat animal products makes it harder for insulin to process glucose through the body’s cells.
In addition to the "diseases of affluence" associated with the meat based Western diet, eating animal products poses yet another potentially deadly danger. Zoonotic and foodborne diseases that people can get from eating tainted or infected meat, dairy and eggs. About 2 million cases of foodborne illnesses are reported in the UK every year, resulting in thousands of fatalities. While people can get sick from eating contaminated plant foods, it is important to note that the vast majority of foodborne disease cases are caused by the consumption of animal products, and that when plant foods are the source of infection, it is usually because they've been tainted by animal waste from factory farms. Some of the deadliest zoonotic and foodborne illnesses include:
Some zoonotic diseases are transmitted not by food, but rather direct physical contact between people and animals. Diseases like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Swine Flu and Avian Flu have already killed thousands of people worldwide, but public health authorities warn that such viruses could potentially cause a massive pandemic if they evolve into more contagious and immune resistant strains.
EAT FOOD FOR HEALTH:
So there you have it. The importance of healthy eating for coronary heart disease prevention, the prevention of cancer and other diseases should be taken seriously.
Any amount of research you do regarding food for health will show you that you need to "cut down" on animal based products. My thinking is that for true health, we need to obliterate animal products from our diets. I am fully aware that the animal agriculture industry is a mega profit business who allocate vast sums of money to promote eating animal products in the diet. But the statistics really do speak for themselves.