There are many benefits to eating a healthy diet low in fats and high in fiber, but it hasn’t been until recently that scientists have really started looking into just how many health issues can be reversed or prevented by switching to an all or primarily plant based diet. Many of the top killers of Americans, including the number one killer, heart disease, can be overcome by this healthy lifestyle change.
Some of the major indicators that put people at risk for heart disease include, high blood levels of total cholesterol, high LDL “bad” cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximately 49% of adults have at least one major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The typical Western diet increases the risk of getting heart disease by almost 50%. However implementation of a high fruit, vegetable, nut, whole grain, and meat substitute (soy) diet can decrease or eliminate every one of the risk factors listed above.
One interesting study “Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest Lived Peoples” looked at how disease is virtually unknown in certain cultures, even in their oldest people. Studies have shown that their exceptional health is largely attributed to low-calorie, plant-based, whole foods diets. Genetics are ruled out as a significant factor because as they are exposed to Western-style diets they quickly develop the same diseases common to Westerners.
So why are more people not jumping into the plant based diet? Western society is the largest consumer of meats and at a young age most Americans are used to eating it on a regular basis and told that it is necessary to get enough protein. Switching to an entirely plant based diet may be easier than you may think. There is every kind of meat substitute but you can also become creative with your cooking and learn many new and interesting recipes combining rice and beans to make a complete protein, trying out different grains, beans, spices, and all sorts of things you may have never been exposed to prior. Try to open your mind, lighten your body, and help your health by experiencing the benefits of a plant based diet for yourself. Remember it’s always best to ease into things to start then grow from there.
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