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4 diseases that can be reduced and even reversed with a plant-based diet

Colorful raw, whole foods are laid out on a brown burlap blanket. Vegetables include onions, squash, carrots, peppers and eggplant.

A ton of research has been done providing excellent scientific evidence that many chronic diseases can be controlled, reduced, or even reversed by moving to a whole-food, plant-based diet.

A book called The China Study noted as the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever shows that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and other significant illnesses.

These are pretty big claims! The research done in The China Study has been the landmark for many other studies since, reporting more significant fitness payoffs, more energy, reduced inflammation, and better health outcomes.

Plant-based diets promote good heart health

One of the most well-known benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet is increased heart health. Did you know that a plant-based diet is the ONLY diet proven to prevent and reverse heart disease? No other diet can make that claim.

Researchers have been studying the benefits of plant-based diets since the 1980s. Recent research, presented during the 2017 American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, revealed that plant-based diets could reduce the risk of heart failure by 42 percent among people with no history of heart disease.

Another study found that participants who consumed a plant-based diet even showed a reversal of coronary artery disease.

Protective factors are attributed to both the quality and types of foods consumed. For example, a study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology found that among 200,000 participants who followed a healthy plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts had a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease than those following non-plant-based diets.

It's important to note that the study also found that unhealthy plant-based diets that included sugary drinks, fruit juices, and refined grains were associated with a slightly increased risk of heart disease.

Reduce risk of breast, colon and prostate cancer

Research suggests that following a plant-based diet may reduce your risk of certain types of cancer.

There are two important factors to know when discussing cancer. First, cancer cells thrive in a high-sugar environment. When the cells are starved (by reducing sugar), they cannot flourish. Second, while DNA can play a role in the risk of developing cancer, diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors are modifiable conditions that also contribute.

Vegetarian diets are associated with a significantly lower risk of gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer. Did you know that the American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors follow plant-based diets that are high in fruits, vegetables, and unrefined grains while at the same time being low in red and processed meats, refined grains, and sugars?

Research has shown that plant-based diets positively affect survival for individuals with

  • Breast cancer

  • Colon cancer

  • Prostate cancer

  • Skin (Melanoma) cancer

A whole-foods, plant-based diet can help reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and decrease body weight, all of which are attributed to reducing cancer risks.

Whole foods help manage diabetes

Adopting a whole-foods, plant-based diet may be a useful tool in managing and reducing your risk of developing diabetes.

Countless studies have examined the effects of diet and diabetes. The results are promising!

A study of more than 200,000 people, published in a peer-reviewed weekly medical journal, found that those who adhered to a healthy plant-based eating pattern had a 34% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who followed unhealthy, non-plant-based diets.

Similarly, a study published in Diabetes Care demonstrated that plant-based diets were associated with nearly a 50% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes compared to non-vegetarian diets.

There’s also good news for people with diabetes, a study published in Cardiovascular Diagnosis & Therapy found plant-based diets have been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.

Reduce the risk of developing cognitive brain impairments

Plant-based eating is associated with many health benefits, and the brain is no exception!

Plant-based diets appear to influence both mental health and cognitive function positively.

Higher levels of antioxidants in the blood from plant sources have been associated with a significantly lower risk of depression, and lower suicide rates. In both cross-sectional and interventional studies, vegetarians showed fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and mood disturbance than omnivores.

The higher levels of antioxidants are also attributed to slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and reversing cognitive deficits. Countless studies report an association between higher intakes of fruits and vegetables and a reduction in cognitive decline.

A meta-analysis, which is a review of several different studies of a similar subject, found that eating more fruits and vegetables led to a 20% reduction in the risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia. The analysis reviewed nine studies including over 31,000 people.

The benefits are pretty astonishing, right? Making a sustainable, healthy lifestyle change can be challenging. I’m here to help you succeed in your health goals and coach you on how to make your success sustainable. I’d love to meet with you and learn more about your health challenges and goals.

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