Plant-based diets are gaining widespread popularity in the United States.
More and more people change to a vegan diet for many reasons. These include reducing the effects of intensive farming on the environments and avoiding animal slaughters.
There are also many health benefits of a plant-based diet. Most foods are low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber.
Published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, a recent study by scientists in Washington D.C has suggested some health benefits of a plant-based diet on healthy aging.
The population of adults in the world who are over 60 years old is estimated to double by 2015. This would lead to many challenges for the healthcare system.
The authors examined both epidemiological studies and clinical trials in the research.
They have found that a plant-based diet can help lower the risk of some diseases, such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or obesity.
More specifically, the results suggested that the diet would reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome up to two times. This subsequently has many positive effects on the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
People who follow plant-based diets might have a longer life expectancy as well. Examples include Loma Linda in California and Okinawa in Japan.
In addition to involving in moderate physical activities and not smoking, people in these regions mostly eat plants in their diet. For instance, people in Okinawa consume a large number of soy products, green leafy veggies, and sweet potatoes.
They also have better cognitive performance in later stages of life.
Aging is obviously inevitable. The authors of the study suggest that having a plant-based and healthful diet would be effective in slowing down this process and lowering the risk of age-related conditions. In addition, it might increase overall life expectancy.
The results are in line with those from other studies, which indicated that high consumption of processed and red meats and a low intake of whole grains, veggies, and fruits would increase the risk of many conditions.
In addition to providing many significant health benefits, a plant-based diet would save a lot of money by reducing healthcare expenses in the United States, which are approximately up to $3.5 trillion per year. This means that a balanced diet can be a cost-effective way of preventing diseases and having a long life.