Top 5 Health Reasons To Go Veggie

Reduce risk of the No. 1 killer – Heart Disease

Vegetarian diets are naturally lower in saturated fat, and cholesterol, and higher in plant nutrients than most meat-based diets. Vegetarians have been shown to have a 24% lower risk of dying of heart disease than non-vegetarians.1 New Harvard research has shown high consumption of red meat and heme iron may increase the risk of heart disease by 50% amongst diabetics.2 World-renowned physician Dr. Dean Ornish found that patients on a low-fat vegetarian diet actually reversed coronary heart disease.3

Cancer prevention

“Studies have shown that significant reduction in cancer risk among those who avoided meat…Meat is devoid of fiber and other nutrients that have a protective effect. Meat also contains animal protein, saturated fat, and, in some cases, carcinogenic compounds such as heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) formed during the processing or cooking of meat. HCAs, formed as meat is cooked at high temperatures, and PAHs, formed during the burning of organic substances, are believed to increase cancer risk.

In addition, the high fat content of meat and other animal products increases hormone production, thus increasing the risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer….Vegetarian diets and diets rich in high-fiber plant foods such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits offer a measure of protection.”4

Local Hawaii legend Ruth Heidrich is another great example of the power of a vegetarian diet. Following the advice of Dr. John McDougall, Ruth switched to a vegetarian diet after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ruth not only overcame the cancer, she went on to become an award-winning, record-breaking triathlete. She tells her incredible story in the best-selling book, "A Race for Life." 5

Lose excess weight and keep it off

On average, vegetarians tend to be slimmer than meat eaters. Obesity rate in the general public is extremely high, while in vegetarians, obesity rate only ranges from zero to six percent.6

A vegetarian diet low in fat and rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes accompanied with daily exercise is the perfect formula for healthy weight loss.

Live longer, slow the aging process

A 12-year Oxford study published in the British Medical Journal found that vegetarians outlive meat eaters by six years.7 Plant-based diets are generally rich in fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which in turn strengthens the immune system and slows down the aging process.

Avoid toxic food contaminants

Flesh foods are loaded with dangerous poisons and contaminants such as hormones, herbicides and pesticides, and antibiotics. As these toxins are all fat-soluble, they concentrate in the fatty flesh of the animals. Not to mention the viruses, bacteria and parasites such as salmonella, trichinella and other worms, and toxoplasmosis parasites.

Footnotes: 
  1. Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, Appleby PN, Beral V, Reeves G, Burr ML, Chang-Claude J, Frentzel-Beyme R, Kuzma JW, Mann J, McPherson K (1998). "Mortality in vegetarians and non-vegetarians: a collaborative analysis of 8300 deaths among 76,000 men and women in five prospective studies.". Public Health Nutr 1 (1): 33-41. PMID 10555529.
  2. Lu Qi, MD, PHD, Rob M. van Dam, PHD1, Kathryn Rexrode, MD, MPH and Frank B. Hu, MD, PHD (2007) “Heme Iron From Diet as a Risk Factor for Coronary Heart Disease in Women With Type 2 Diabetes,” American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Care: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/30/1/101
  3. Ornish D, et. al. Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease. JAMA 1998; 280(23): 2001-2007. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/280/23/2001
  4. The Cancer Project, Cancer Prevention and Survival, “Cancer Facts - Meat Consumption and Cancer Risk”: http://www.cancerproject.org/survival/cancer_facts/meat.php
  5. Saltzberg, Rebecca. 10 Reasons to Go Veggie. From PlanetVeggie.
  6. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Newsrelease, “New scientific review shows vegetarian diets cause major weight loss,” : http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-04/pcfr-nsr033106.php
  7. Key, Timothy J, et al., "Mortality in British vegetarians: review and preliminary results from EPIC-Oxford" American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 78, No. 3, 533S-538S, September 2003 http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/78/3/533S

© 2014 Down to Earth Organic & Natural

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