‘Animal products, inactivity weaken immune system’–experts | Inquirer Business

‘Animal products, inactivity weaken immune system’–experts

/ 10:26 PM December 06, 2013

Animal food, unnecessary calories, saturated fats and sodium intake weaken the body’s immune system. The deficiency in the intake of whole grains, fruits, nuts, legumes, seeds and vegetables leads to degenerative diseases.

This was part of the message that Alberto C. Gulfan Jr., president of the Southern Asia Pacific division of the general conference of the Vegetarian Congress, gave to participants during the second annual gathering held Nov. 11 to 13 at the Crimson Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa.

The congress was attended by nutritional experts and scientists from the United States, Europe and Asia. The program included presentations on plant-based diet for the prevention and control of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. The gathering also tackled the topic of healthy aging, pregnancy and lactation, nutritional status, gout and the immune system. Guest chefs held cooking lessons, which also served as breaks during lectures.


Abraham Carpena, chair of the congress and director of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division-Department of Health Ministries, said: “Good nutrition plays a role in reducing the risk of almost all chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. It plays an important role in preventing many diseases and conditions that can impede your lifestyle.”


He added that good nutrition keeps bones strong, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. It also improves not only the immune system but also vigor and endurance.

Dr. Ivanhoe C. Escartin, officer in charge of the Department of Health’s National Center for Health Promotion, said in a statement that cases of noncommunicable diseases—mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes—are rising globally.

“Each year, 2.7 million people die as a result of low fruit and vegetable consumption, 7.1 million die as a result of raised blood sugar, and 4.4 million die as a result of raised total cholesterol levels,” Escartin said. He added that the DOH’s Go4Health Campaign “Go Sustansya” promotes healthy eating, especially increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables and the reducing the consumption of salt, sugar and fats.

Gulfan stressed: “Science proves that man’s activity and disconnect with nourishing plants lead to only one sure thing: a lifestyle that is clearly killing us. Most of the major leading killers of our present society are associated with our activity and diet. Cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cancer are most clearly associated with the food we eat and the degree of our physical activity.”

The congress was organized by the Vegetarian Nutrition Association of the Philippines and the Southern Asia Pacific Division’s health department, and supported by Crocodile International and Adventist Health Ministries.

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TAGS: animal products, calories, food, health and wellness

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