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Contrary to myth, plant-based diet won’t weaken you

/ 09:27 PM January 27, 2012

The scientific and medical communities have long acknowledged that smoking, lack of exercise and emotional stress adversely affects cardiovascular health and physical strength. Diet has also been directly linked to heart health.

New studies seem to point out that a plant-based diet is needed for optimal cardiovascular and physical health. Dr. Dean Ornish, MD, in his program called Reversing Heart Disease, cited Olympic-class athletes such as champions Edwin Moses (undefeated in eight years of running the 400-meter hurdles), Dave Scott (American triathlete and six-time winner of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship) who was on a plant-based diet,  maintained superior physical conditioning, strength and skills.

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If these Olympic medalists could achieve such feats without animal food, then the average person would surely benefit from such a diet. “Even a single meal high in fat and cholesterol may cause the body to release a hormone, thromboxane, which causes the arteries to constrict and the blood to clot faster—one reason heart patients often get chest pains after eating a fatty meal and why so many of them end up in the emergency room after a rich thanksgiving or other holiday feast,” Ornish said.

Ideal four-diet plan

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The ideal and basic four-diet plan, preferably using indigenous sources, includes seeds and nuts (in moderation), fruits, vegetables and whole grains (unrefined). Dr. Neil Nedley, MD, author of “Proof Positive (How to Reliably Combat Disease and Achieve Optimal Health through Nutrition and Lifestyle),” said that if we were to subsist wholly on these four good groups, we could prevent a whole host of diseases, and improve both our quality and quantity of life.

“It is high time we set aside the great meat and protein myth. Preoccupation with meat and its protein, rather than improving health, has contributed to many degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis (high protein diet robs body of calcium), kidney failure and kidney stones, Nedley said.

Nedley added that plant sources of nutrition are generally modest in protein and reasonable in fat content; furthermore, they never contain any cholesterol. With our growing understanding of protein physiology, a plant-based diet has emerged as the optimal way to eat for those interested in maximizing longevity and the quality of living.

Nedley also cited various studies linking animal protein consumption with increased risk of cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, kidney and womb (endometrium).

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TAGS: Diet, food, Health, plant-based diet, Research, Tessa R. Salazar
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