The United States is one of many developed countries in the world with a large aging population. With that, scientists, medical professionals and health experts are conducting clinical trials and long-term studies on how a plant-based diet can help our older family members live longer, healthier and happier lives. A plant-based diet, together with regular exercise and healthy lifestyle choices, can provide many health benefits to adults of all age groups.
Increase in Life Expectancy and Longevity
Although studies have been conducted all over the world to investigate the relationship between specific diets and aging, there has always been strong evidence that plant-based diets are a contributing factor to people’s life spans. There is a group of places in the world known as the “Blue Zones”. Areas in “Blue Zones” include Okinawa, Sardinia, Greece and Loma Linda in California. People in these “Blue Zone” regions have been recorded to live longer than the average human being. “Blue Zone” inhabitants have one thing in common: a plant-based diet.
Delay or Reverse the Aging Process
In addition to havaing longer lifespans, plant-based diets are also attributed to various theories that state that a diet rich in whole foods that are primarily made up of vegetables, fruits and grains are often rich in anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants help lengthen our telomeres. Telomeres are basicially markers that can be used to measure cellular aging. Aging shortens our telomeres but studies show that healthy, well-balanced diets made up of plants can maximize the body’s cellular abilities to rebuild our systems so we can lengthen telomeres as we age.
Lowers Chances of Contracting Age-Related Illnesses and Co-Morbidities
A team of doctors and scientists in the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine or PCRM in Washington, DC, has reviewed clinical trials and research which provided them concrete evidence that diets rich in plant-based foods can reduce type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and lower the risk of obesity. The team in PCRM has found out that the risk of contracting coronary heart diseases goes down to forty percent with plant-based meal plans. Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the United States.
A diet that does not include animal products like cheese and meat is actually being recommended by health experts for aging adults. Food items that are made from meat and animal by-products are usually high in saturated fats that raise cholesterol levels in the body. The risk of suffering from health diseases has a correlation to a person’s lifestyle and more importantly, his diet.
Another disease that often develops in one’s golden years is cancer. The long-term intake of red meat and highly-processed foods have been linked to contracting cancer. Plant foods, on the other hand, are rich in vitamins, fiber and phytochemicals which can help us keep cancer at bay.
There are several ways you can jumpstart and actually enjoy a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, it is always best to seek the advice of trained and licensed professionals when it comes to choosing which plant-based recipes to follow, and what food items are beneficial to our family members.