Those of us with kids want to ensure that they grow up to be healthy and happy adults long after we’re gone. That said, we also want to ensure that we live to share as much of their journey with them as possible. Of course, a long and healthy life cannot be achieved by positive thought and willpower alone. While we’ve known for some time that an over reliance on alcohol, cigarettes and processed foods that are high in sodium, sugar and saturated fats can shorten our lifespans it’s only fairly recently that studies have shown that an entirely plant based diet can help you to live longer.
Of course, a vegan diet won’t insulate you from the risks of heavy drinking and smoking. Substituting your cigarettes for nicotine patches and gum may make the transition to non-smoking easier. Cutting down on alcohol is also important. There are many ways in which those who are worried about their alcohol intake can get help cutting down or even kicking the booze altogether. Once these addictive obstacles have been overcome, switching to a plant based diet can work wonders when it comes to living a long healthy life (and keeping you looking and feeling young). Here’s why…
Meats are carcinogenic
If you eat a lot of processed red meats such as sausages, bacon, salami and pastrami, you may as well be sucking on a cigar. These kinds of processed meats are characterized by the World Health Organization as class 1 carcinogens alongside cigarettes and asbestos. Even if you can’t entertain the prospect of giving up meat altogether, you owe it to yourself and your family to cut these cancer inducing foods out of your family meal planning.
Meat eggs and dairy are high in cholesterol
Despite protestations from paleo enthusiasts, animal fats are instrumental in raising blood cholesterol leading to greater risk of heart disease. Even meats widely believed to be healthy like chicken fillets and turkey steaks are high in saturated fats and cholesterol. “But what about protein?” the meat loving masses cry. The simple fact is that all protein comes from plants. Only plants have the ability to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it into amino acids. When we eat meat, we’re eating the second hand protein they’ve absorbed from the plants in their diet. Every 3% increase of plant based protein has been found to reduce risk of death by 10%.
Plants reduce cancer risk
While it’s a scientific fact that processed red meats are directly linked to cancer, many plants are proven in their ability to combat it. Many plants contain high concentrations of phytochemicals that are proven to reduce cancer risk. Examples of these include the Carotenes found in maize, dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, bell peppers and (of course) carrots. They also include Lycopene which is found in tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon, guava and olives.
If you want to lead a long and healthy life that’s active and rich in happy memories, the evidence is increasingly showing that a vegan diet is the way to go.