Leading health experts agree that going vegetarian is the single best that thing we can do for ourselves and our families. A meat-free diet rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals provides optimal nutrition for both children and adults, forming the foundation for dietary habits that support a lifetime of good health. Leading medical organizations agree that balanced plant-based diets are healthy and provide protection against numerous diseases, including our country’s three biggest killers: heart disease, cancer and strokes. The American Dietetic Association states that vegetarians have “lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; … lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer” and that vegetarians also tend to be slimmer than meat-eaters. (1) Vegetarian foods provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in meat and dairy products.
A plant-based diet has long-term benefits, too. It protects us against some of the leading killers in America today. Research has shown that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters. (2,3) Plus, meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans are. (4)
The consumption of meat and dairy products has been conclusively linked with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, asthma, and impotence. Scientists have also found that vegetarians have stronger immune systems than their meat-eating friends; this means that they are less susceptible to everyday illnesses like the flu. (6) Vegetarians and vegans live, on average, six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters. (7)
A plant-based diet is the best diet for kids, too: Studies have shown that vegetarian kids grow taller and have higher IQs than their classmates, and they are at a reduced risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases in the long run. (8,9) Studies have shown that even older people who switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet can prevent and even reverse many chronic ailments.
It's never too late to turn over a new leaf - you can take control of your health today by going vegan.
__________________________________________________1. Ann Mangels, Virginia Messina, and Vesanto Melina, "Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets," Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Jun. 2003, pp. 748-65.
2. Elizabeth Somer, "Eating Meat: A Little Doesn't Hurt," WebMD, 1999.
3. Neal Barnard, M.D., The Power of Your Plate, Book Publishing Co.: Summertown, Tenn., 1990, p. 26.
4. John Robbins, M.D., The Food Revolution, Conari Press: Boston, 2001, p. 58.
6. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine with Amy Lanou, Healthy Eating for Life for Children, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2002, p. 49.
7. Robbins, p. 14.
8. Charles Attwood, M.D., Dr. Attwood's Low-Fat Prescription for Kids, New York: Penguin Books, 1995, p. 84.
9. Robbins, p. 85.