As part of this year’s Men’s Health Week, we’d like to focus on how a plant-based lifestyle can really make a difference when it comes to chronic diseases and ailments.
Breaking Down the Basics
At first glance, one might wonder just why a plant-based diet is healthier when it comes to chronic disease. But when you consider the components of meat versus fruits, grains, and vegetables you can see a pattern:
- Meat and Animal Products: High fat, high sodium, high cholesterol, high calorie
- Fruits and Vegetables: Lower calorie, low/no cholesterol, low/no sodium, low/no fat, high fiber, vitamin and mineral dense
- Grains, seeds, and pulses: Healthy fats, high fiber, low sodium
As you can see above, meat and animal products contain a lot of components that contribute to chronic conditions like heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc. In the meantime, the non-animal food groups contain components that helps to prevent or reduce the risk of chronic diseases. But how, specifically, does a plant-based lifestyle help with certain chronic diseases?
Heart disease is considered the #1 enemy when it comes to men’s health – claiming over a half million lives each year in the United States alone. A vegan diet could be the solution to so many unnecessary deaths. Not only does a plant-based lifestyle eliminate most unhealthy fats, it also reduces cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which are two major factors contributing to heart disease.
Right behind heart disease when it comes to causing death is cancer. Lung, colon/rectum, and prostate cancer are the top killers. Once again, plant-based diets can make a difference. One study indicated that overall cancer risk can be reduced by as much as 50% with a vegan diet, while other studies have indicated higher reductions when it comes to certain forms of cancer. For example, plant-based diets are higher in fiber, which help to reduce the risk of colon/rectal cancers. Meanwhile, increased consumption of cruciferous veggies (like broccoli) have been linked to a reduction in bladder cancer.
Deal with Diabetes
Besides causing the death of more than 75,000 Americans per year, diabetes also leads to a host of side effects – such as kidney disease, blindness, and heart disease. A plant-based diet can help with the management of symptoms and side effects, as well as keeping blood sugar levels more manageable.
Time to Take Action
Whether you or the men in your life suffer from a chronic disease or are at risk of one, converting to a plant-based lifestyle now could make all the difference. Learn about the lifesaving health benefits of a vegan diet and then read about getting started with a 22-Day Vegan Challenge.