A meat-free diet sounds restrictive to someone brought up on – and loving – meat. In fact, the discouraging health conditions in the United States and in other parts of the world are direct results of our diet choices. We’ve done a lot of damage to ourselves. I know, as I’ve experienced some of the damage myself before going completely plant-based. Studies suggest we can reverse much of this damage simply by making our food choices meat-free. The findings in recent studies show true benefits from a meat-free diet.
The following article speaks to those who are still considering plant-based choices, and for our vegan fans who may be looking for more health reasons to stay on track.
In the States and globally, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women [Covid data not considered here]. Preventable heart attacks account for most of these deaths. Over 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Around one-third of American children are overweight or obese, and obesity is being diagnosed more often at younger ages.
How many of us stuff ourselves and snack often? Then we pay the price – not just individually but as a society – as health care costs skyrocket into the billions, and all this is due to preventable issues.
A meat-free diet offers plant-based options
About 16 million Americans currently follow a vegetarian diet, and many of these are vegans. Vegans follow a strictly meat-free diet, consuming no animal products or byproducts, including dairy or eggs. Many do not eat honey, either.
Celebrities, world leaders, nutritionists, doctors, and people of all ages live healthy and energetic lives, thanks to a plant-based diet. Many have recovered heart health, lowered body weight, and lowered insulin resistance through meat-free choices.
Former President of the United States Bill Clinton is a good example. Clinton had been suffering from heart disease. In 2011 he announced that he had miraculously reversed his heart disease with a strict meat-free diet. Recent research supports Clinton’s claim.
The University of Oxford conducted a large study and the results of the study revealed that following a strict vegetarian diet does, indeed, reduce the risk of hospitalization due to complications from heart disease, and the risk of death from heart disease, both by nearly one third.
Meat-free study shows promising results
Roughly 45,000 participants took part in a study that was conducted by the health and diet experts at the University of Oxford. About 34 percent of the study participants followed strict vegetarian diets. (In this particular study, a vegetarian was defined as an individual who refrained from consuming both meat and fish, but still may eat dairy and eggs).
Those who participated in the study were tracked for more than 10 years. Researchers conducting the meat-free study gathered information about their dietary choices, exercise habits, alcohol consumption, and other variables that could potentially have an impact on heart disease risk.
The researchers who conducted the study discovered that even after controlling for other factors, study participants who followed strict vegetarian diets were considerably less likely to suffer from heart disease.
Francesca Crowe, Ph.D., of the University of Oxford, lead author of the study, said, “Most of the difference in risk is most likely caused by effects on both cholesterol as well as blood pressure.” In her statement, she went on to add, “This shows the important role of diet in preventing heart disease.”
The Oxford research study also revealed that the study participants who followed a strict vegetarian diet tended to have a lower body mass index than those who were not vegetarians, and they were less likely to suffer from diabetes as well.
This most recent study was one of the largest studies ever conducted to examine the cardiovascular benefits of following a vegetarian diet. It follows a growing revelation that a meat-free diet is associated with a multitude of health benefits. Read more at Oxford Research.
More benefits of following a meat-free plan
A number of studies over recent years show that, compared to meat-eaters, individuals who follow a vegetarian diet have:
- reduced risk of food-borne illness
- less severe symptoms of menopause
- longer overall life spans
- better insulin sensitivity
- fewer weight issues
Even if you are not yet quite ready to give up your favorite burger, you can still receive health benefits if you incorporate a bit more heart-healthy, meat-free meals into your general diet. Choose plant foods more often. Fill your plate with healthy vegetables and whole grains. Eat raw whole food.
Some high nutrition, tasty foods to consider are:
- Leafy greens
- Red, yellow, purple and green vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
- Steel-cut oats
- Soymilk and soybeans
- Choose your favorites
Special notes if you are beginning to try meat-free meal options, or trying to transition to a vegan diet:
- Consider making one or two meals a week meat-free and remove meat from your plate whenever you can.
- Substitute the meat you have removed with black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, soy products and other beans.
- Choose fruit for dessert instead of baked goods, and raw vegetables for snacks.
- Choose a fruit and protein smoothie for three lunches a week instead of a burger or chicken lunch. Plan and make ahead meat-free lunches ready to eat when you are.
- Celebrate small wins. Incremental changes can go a long way, and at some point, you may find yourself completely meat-free and vegan one of these days.