Scientific findings now prove that a plant based diet no only prevent people from getting sick, but they also help heal people from their sickness and make them well again. Many people who switch to a whole food, plant-based diet are reporting that they are feeling well and alive again – something pharmaceutical drugs can’t do because those drugs only manage symptoms rather than treat the cause of sickness. Also, those drugs bring with them terrible side effects that make people feel worse, not better.
A plant based diet offers tremendous benefits to people, especially people with heart disease and type 2 diabetes. There are countless examples of individuals who, by changing their diet, have been able to reduce their dosage of pharmaceutical drugs under their doctor’s supervision. Increasingly more physicians now support plant-based diets as the foundation of medical treatment for a variety of chronic diseases.
Plant Based Diet for Weight Loss
Gaining weight has become an easy thing in today’s modern world. Animal foods like meat, cheese, eggs, and butter; processed foods like soda, cookies, chips, candy, white flour products; and sugary or oily snacks make it easier than ever to eat more calories than you need, usually without realizing it.
The foods that make up a plant-based diet (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes) are dense in vitamins and minerals but contain plenty of fiber. Because for the most part we don’t digest fiber, it doesn’t add any calories to the diet. This is why you can fill up eating whole plant foods and still consume fewer calories.
Fiber provides bulk as well as slows the emptying of your stomach. This helps you feel full longer, causing you to want to eat less. Fiber also makes it physically impossible to overeat, because the added bulk activates the receptors in the stomach that signal the brain that you’ve had enough.
On the other hand, animal foods (meat and dairy) contain no fiber. Processed foods have either had fiber removed (white flour) or had energy added in the form of fat and sugar (French fries). So a meal of a burger, white bun, and fries packs a lot of calories but it doesn’t fill you the way a meal of brown rice, vegetables, and beans does.
Most people starting to eat a whole food, plant-based diet for the first time find that excess weight just slides away, even without increasing their level of exercise. This is not only true for people who are already plant-based, and especially true for people who remove the fat as well.
Plant Based Diet for Heart Disease and Diabetes
Cardiovascular disease is a general term that covers a range of problems in different parts of the body relating to the heart and all the blood vessels. One problem from cardiovascular disease is a stroke, is brain cell damage from lack of oxygen due to reduced or blocked blood flow in the brain. Another problem, erectile dysfunction, or impotence as many people call it, is usually one of the first signs of heart disease.
Type 2 diabetes, a closely related problem, is a condition in which our ability to use glucose (sugar), the simplest form of carbohydrate, for fuel is disrupted. Normally, the beta cells of the pancreas produce insulin, which is often compared to the key that unlocks the door to our cells so energy can be brought inside. Insulin brings in the glucose into our cells from the bloodstream, making it possible for us to use the glucose in our blood.
In diabetics, the pancreas still makes insulin but either it’s not enough or the cells do not recognize it. This is a state called insulin resistance. If your cells are insulin resistant, at first the pancreas will try to produce extra insulin to catch up with your mounting blood sugar levels. This may work for a while, but if your cells aren’t allowing the insulin to work, the pancreas can wear out, start producing less insulin, and the sugar you eat will stay in the bloodstream at even higher levels. If your cells can’t access the fuel, you’ll have trouble producing the energy you need, which leads to fatigue and a variety of problems. Eventually, the complications that develop can range from depression to amputations to death.
Both conditions are caused by eating a diet high in animal foods, saturated fat, and refined carbohydrates. The saturated fat increases the body’s own production of cholesterol past the point at which the body can keep up and eliminate it. This can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Excess fat and sugar consumption both raise blood triglycerides (the fat present in our blood), which can clog the insulin receptor cells that are supposed to enable insulin to work, thus promoting insulin resistance. The body is then even less equipped to handle the sudden rush of blood sugar that takes place when you consume pastry, white flour, cookies, or sugary drinks. This leads to elevated blood sugar levels over time, and eventually to diabetes.
Whole food, plant-based diets are naturally low in all of the components known to promote plaque formation in the blood vessels or cause insulin receptor cell failure. These include trans fat, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, dairy products, and red meat.
At the same time, whole food, plant-based diets are naturally rich in all the nutrients and foods that have been associated with decreased risk — more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Not only can they help us avoid developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes, but they also make excellent health and wellness possible as we age.
When people with advanced stage heart disease start eating a low-fat, whole food, plant-based diet, the results are remarkable. Within weeks, most patients can notice an improvement of certain symptoms they had been experiencing—such as shortness of breath and angina (chest pain). Over time, they can also expect that the damage done to their arteries by their former diet will gradually be repaired.