For instance, women consuming the most yellow-orange vegetables were 52% less likely to have bladder cancer than women consuming the least yellow-orange vegetables. The data also suggested that women with the highest intake of vitamins A, C, and E had the lowest risk of bladder cancer. Source
Researchers from the University of Hawaii "recently discovered that a greater consumption of fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of invasive bladder cancer in women."
In order to easily accommodate vegan diners as well as vegetarians, Subway restaurants in India bake their bread without dairy products, and use an egg-free mayonnaise. Subway India has gone even further to accommodate the varied types of diets in the country, unveiling sandwiches earlier this year that cater to the Jain population.
According to research by Mintel, more than one third of Americans use meat alternatives such as tofu, tempeh, and faux meat products. Respondents indicated that the main reason is for the health benefits along with the taste of the products. Since only 7% of those in the market study identified themselves as vegetarian, it shows that meat alternatives are gaining popularity beyond just the meat-free consumer market.
Health perception plays a large role in use of meat alternatives. One-third of consumers indicate using alternative meat products because they are healthy, higher than any other reason measured in the report. What's more, more than half (51%) of users believe they are healthier than real meat. In addition, some 31% are trying to reduce their meat consumption and another 31% say they enjoy the taste of meat alternatives.
Another interesting find was the increase in product labeling as 'vegan', surpassing 'vegetarian' labeling since 2011, which means the market demand for vegan products is gaining traction!
By substituting healthy vegetable fats – such as olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds and avocados – for animal fats and carbohydrates, men with the disease had a markedly lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer and dying from other causes, according to the study. Source
According to the study of 4,600 men by researchers at the UC San Francisco, healthy vegetable fat "increases plasma antioxidants and reduces insulin and inflammation" which may slow the growth of cancer in the prostate. Prostate cancer afflicts one in six men during their lifetime.
An interesting observation from the study was that among the participants with prostate illness, more men actually died of cardiovascular disease instead of complications from prostate cancer during the period of the research. This finding suggests that a healthy diet is important for all health issues, and not just a specific illness.
Unsaturated vegetable fats can come from a variety of ingredients including avocados, nuts and groundnuts, olives, and seeds among others. The study indicated that by replacing a portion of carbohydrates with vegetable fat was key to the health effect. Avocados in particular are easy to add to salads, spread onto sandwiches, and blend into smoothies. A great vegan ingredient, avocados are also filling and have a number of other health benefits.
This is good news for those at risk for or already fighting prostate cancer. Leading a healthy lifestyle enhanced by a plant-based diet is a good way to help the body defend itself against chronic illness and adding healthy vegetable fats to one's diet can be done quickly and easily with common vegan ingredients!
Listen to an informative interview with the lead researcher, Erin L. Richman, on JAMA's website.
According to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug. Antibiotics, anti-depressants, and pain-killers top the list with usage increasing with age. The industry is now a $250 billion business and it's been growing every year. Since anti-depressants are the second most prescribed, it suggests that poor mental health is prevalent.
"Often when people talk about health conditions they're talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes," Dr. St. Sauver says. "However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants — that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on."
Vegan diets have been proven to reduce and eliminate chronic illness along with various other health issues. Plant-based ingredients also improve mood and outlook on life. Twenty percent of the respondents in the study take 5 or more prescriptions daily. If more health care professionals can recommend plant-based diets as part of the solution to personal health problems, it could help some people reduce their dependence on medication and restore a much needed balance to their lives.
Learning to avoid meat took a long time for me to do. Giving up dairy products took even longer. Decreasing and removing most of the sugar from my diet took the longest of all! It is that addictive! I'm glad I did it, though. I should have started sooner. Excess sugar compromises health. It feeds the demons, such as:
According to Michael Moss in his book, Salt Sugar Fat, most food companies use sugar to engineer processed foods to achieve a 'bliss point' which appeals to consumers so greatly, they'll purchase the product repeatedly. In a can of soda, this may require as many as nine teaspoons of sugar, which suggests that the bliss point and health are inversely correlated...
Actively avoiding sugar is a good pursuit. Cook fresh meals at home, make your own desserts and restrict the sugar content, and skip sweetened beverages or dilute them with water if they are a big part of your life. Sugar causes inflammation which is the breeding ground for many illnesses, but it can be controlled with a bit of discipline and effort!
Psychology Today - Dietary Sugar and Mental Illness
NY Times - Is Sugar Toxic?
Natural News - The Harmful Effects of Sugar and Choosing Healthy Alternatives
The link between diet and cognitive ability and mood is my favorite nutrition topic. New research suggests that this link is stronger than previously thought. Interestingly, it doesn't focus on the mind, but on the gut! The revelation is that a healthy gut, enhanced by the consumption of natural probiotic foods, boosts mental health, strengthens the mind, and prevents depression.
Per this article from Food Consumer written by Dr. Mercola, several studies have shown that eating probiotic foods increased brain activity. In addition, certain good bacteria reduced anxiety and stressed induced hormones. The best way to activate the good bacteria is to avoid processed foods and excess sugars, while eating plant-based foods with a specific focus on fermented vegetables. Tempeh is an example of a fermented tofu product. Further research also indicates that the micro-flora in the gut may also affect brain development over time.
Eating plant-based foods has so many benefits and impacts all of the systems within the body, chief among them is the health of the gut which can lead to a positive state of mind!
After studying 1,859 patients, researchers from Cancer Causes & Control concluded that a diet rich in dark leafy greens, like kale and chard, my reduce the risk of Barrett's Esophagus, a condition linked to cancer. In fact, people with the highest intake of greens were "54% less likely" to have this condition.
The study also found that those with the highest intake of vegan ingredients such as legumes, fruit, all vegetables, and grains delivering large amounts of antioxidants, had the lowest risk of BE. These risks were adjusted to take into account GERD which is a common cause of BE. Plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the risk of almost all diet related cancers, and this is another example of this healthy effect!
Low potassium intake has been associated with a number of NCDs (non-communicable diseases), including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney stone formation and low bone-mineral density. An increased potassium intake may reduce blood pressure, decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, have beneficial effects on bone-mineral density, and mitigate the negative consequences of high sodium consumption. Source: World Health Organization
Potassium is an essential nutrient for the body, but it is often overlooked or forgotten when nutrition is discussed as more commercialized food components attract attention such as sodium, fiber, sugars, protein, calories, carbs, and fatty acids. Yet, potassium plays a major role in the regulation of the body. Reduced potassium consumption may exacerbate hypertension and heart disease among other ailments.
The NIH states that potassium has these additional functions for the body:
Potassium can also help balance the negative impact of too much sodium, since sodium may increase blood pressure while potassium counteracts this bio-effect. Paying attention to potassium-to-sodium ratios in one's food is useful for this purpose. While it's not clear what the optimum potassium to sodium ratio is, we can take an example from nature. Fresh coconut water, considered a very healthy beverage, has a ratio of about 4 to 1, so trying to aim for that mix is a good place to start.
Vegan ingredients help meet daily requirements for potassium and cooking fresh food at home makes it easier to control the sodium side of the equation. Dates and dried apricots have more potassium than bananas while excellent vegetable sources of potassium include chard, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, spinach, and the ubiquitous kale!
According to the Associated Press and NY Daily News, two hospitals in NYC are offering prescriptions for fruits and vegetables instead of pills and medications. Termed "Health Bucks", the prescription is actually a voucher to be exchanged at local farmers markets for plant-based ingredients. Patients also get nutrition counseling.
This strategy is a very good way to encourage better eating habits leading to long term health and fewer hospital visits for its patients! So many chronic illnesses are related to diet that a prescription for more vegetables and fruit in one's diet makes sense and gives patients the opportunity to overcome illnesses naturally and for good while boosting sales for local farmers. Some day, it would be nice if all prescriptions were plant-based or vegan, but this is a fantastic start!
Make Simple Vegan Meals