Although the United States may be a prosperous nation, its health is not. Statistically, Americans have shorter lives and are more likely to be injured or sick than citizens of other high-income countries. A lot of this blame can be laid on Americans' daily food intake.
SAD is more than one thing about the Standard American Diet: Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are just some of the possible outcomes of this highly inflammatory way of eating. What happens when you swap burgers and fries for fruits and vegetables.? There are many possibilities that can help you live longer and get more out of your years.
The dangers of a SAD Diet (Standard American Diet)
An average American's dietary day might look something like the following:
- Breakfast at work can be coffee and donuts, or a packet of instant oatmeal. This contains 12 grams of sugar, which is about half of the daily recommended limit.
- Lunch in a bag, usually high-processed meats, served with GMO potatoes and deep-fried using oxidized vegetable oil.
- Take-out is available or you can order from a box. You can also get half-pints of ice cream to "Netflix and chill" after long days sitting at the desk,
Health outcomes in the West are worse than those of other wealthy countries. The U.S. has maintained the highest obesity rate for decades. Also, the U.S. is second in terms of death rates from ischemic heart diseases among its 17 peer countries.
The Benefits of Eating More Plant-Foods
It is clear that replacing fast food and processed foods with whole foods will often lead to significant health improvements. There is much debate about which diet is better, but a lifestyle of eating fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and grains, have consistently shown amazing health benefits.
Many have found that eating a vegan or plant-based diet, and even eating a vegetarian "diet" (which typically includes dairy) may give you an energy boost. Eating a fruit-and-vegetable-rich diet floods your body with nutrients that are readily available in the form of increased energy. You might notice a shine to your hair, and your nails may grow faster. What does science have to say about the health benefits of eating whole-plant foods?
Vegetarian diets have many components that can help to reduce inflammation in your body. Public Health Nutrition published a 2017 meta-analysis that compared the results of vegetarianism to those of omnivores. This particular study included 18 articles.
Researchers concluded that vegetarianism was associated with lower serum levels of C-reactive protein when people eat a vegetarian diet for a minimum of 2 years. C-reactive protein is a product of the liver that is released into the bloodstream when there is inflammation. Research suggests that a vegetarian diet may be an effective way to manage inflammation long-term.
Protect Your Heart
A vegetarian who eats four to five cups of fresh fruit and vegetables per day will do their heart a favor.
A 2016 study looked at the cardiovascular biomarkers in vegetarians' bloodstreams. This analysis looked at the plasma levels of enzymes in healthy male vegetarians. It was compared with the same enzyme levels in male omnivores. The results showed that vegetarians have a better profile of cardiovascular biomarkers to heart disease than omnivores.
Similar results were found in India when a study was done to determine the root cause of the lower CVD rates among vegetarians. The Indian Migration Study looked at urban migrants and their rural siblings, as well as urban residents in certain urban areas of India. Data was collected about diet, alcohol, smoking, medical history, as well as anthropometric data like blood pressure and fasting glucose levels.
The results showed that 32.8% of vegetarians in the study group were comparable to non-vegetarians in terms of age, body mass (BMI), and rates of diabetes/high blood pressure. Vegetarians lived a better standard of life and were less likely than non-vegetarians to smoke or consume alcohol. They had also lower blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting glucose than non-vegetarians.[ix]
Reduce Your Cancer Risk
A meta-analysis was performed on 96 studies found through a comprehensive search of five medical databases, examining the association between vegetarian and vegan diets and risk factors for chronic illnesses like cancer and cardio-cerebrovascular diseases. Analyses also looked at the effects of plant-based diets on anthropometric measurements, as well as those of omnivores.
The results showed a significantly lower BMI, and significantly lower levels of total cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and glucose for vegetarians and vegans than for omnivores. A comprehensive meta-analysis revealed a significant protective impact of a vegetarian diet. This included a 25% lower risk of developing and/or dying from ischemic heart disease, and a 8% decrease in the incidence of total cancer. A significant 15% decrease in cancer risk was found when a vegan diet is followed.
As a way to reverse the progression to Type 2 diabetes, vegetarian diets are often recommended. To reap the benefits of a plant-based diet, how strict should one be? This question was explored in a 2018 study that analyzed 6,798 participants from the Rotterdam Study (RS), a Dutch population-based cohort study. Correlations between diet and health outcomes were found by assigning food scores based on participants' health indexes and assessing their dietary habits over time.
These long-term results showed that diets that are more plant-based than those that are more animal-based, particularly when they are high in high-quality plants, have a significantly lower chance of leading to Type 2 Diabetes. Research supports changing the current diet recommendations to encourage a shift towards healthy plant foods and a lower intake of animal products.
Avoid Nutrient Deficiencies
Vitamin B12, a vital nutrient, can be deficient in vegan and plant-based diets. If you are a vegan, it may be important to include a high-quality vitamin B12 supplement. Bluegreen algae is highly recommended called, "a miracle of the sea" that can literally save your life. B12 is essential for optimal health, and many forms of B12 do not meet the requirements for human supplementation.
A 2005 research team conducted a study on 15 vegans who had blue-green algae harvested from Klamath Lake, Oregon. The research team used 15 vegan subjects to study the blue-green algae wild-harvested from the Klamath Lake in Oregon. They assessed their blood levels of vitamin B12 and folate after three months of no supplementation.They found that the study participants increased their B-12 levels markedly by taking the blue-green algae.