Go on a plant-based diet.
Of course, genetics greatly influences how long you live. However, lifestyle is a much more important factor, and nutrition is a big part of it. We will tell you how avoiding meat can increase your life expectancy.
You know that eating lots of vegetables is good for you – but did you know that avoiding meat can also drastically increase your lifespan? Years of research have shown that centenarians eat less meat – and according to some studies, a vegetarian diet can provide you with more years of life on the planet – and a better quality of life.
In general, according to research, people who consume the most meat have an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, and other diseases. In contrast, a balanced vegan or vegetarian diet – high in antioxidants, low in saturated fat, ample protein and essential nutrients – can reduce the risk of disease and increase life expectancy.
Here’s how avoiding meat can protect you from leading killers:
Cardiovascular disease and stroke
Vegetable diets are lower in saturated fat – which often increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Vegan and vegetarian diets also have high levels of fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. One study found that a vegetable diet significantly reduced the risk of heart disease (by a maximum of 25 percent). And earlier research also shows that a meat-free diet may even help reverse existing heart disease.
A vegetable diet high in fiber and antioxidants protects against cancer – and studies have shown that vegan and vegetarian diets can reduce cancer risk by 8-15 percent. Animal foods contain more saturated fat, which has been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers. And red meat in particular significantly increases the risk of lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. According to one report, every 85-gram serving of red meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancers by up to 17 percent.
Fruits and vegetables protect against cognitive impairment and dementia, and eating a lot of meat – especially red and processed meats – is associated with a high risk of dementia.
According to one study, a high intake of saturated fat doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s, and unsaturated fats – like those found in avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds – were associated with a lower risk. Vegetarian diets high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes improve concentration and protect against cognitive decline. According to some studies, a vegetable diet can slow or even reverse memory loss.
A vegetable diet is associated with a significantly reduced risk of diabetes. One reason is that people who follow such a diet are less likely to suffer from obesity, a leading risk factor for diabetes. According to research, vegans and vegetarians have the lowest body mass index. It increases with the increase in the diet of animal products, and people who eat everything have the highest percentage of overweight and obesity.
Lisa Turner is a chef, nutritionist. She has over 20 years of experience in the healthy nutrition industry. It can be found at inspiredeating.com.