Sunday, November 3, 2013

Are You Over-Thinking Your Diet?

If you stop anyone on the street in this country today, there is a great chance that they will be on a diet. Low-fat, low-carb, no meat, no dairy, sugar free, gluten free: these types of diets are wide and varied. When looking at the world's population, the communities that have the highest rates of longevity show a large array in the types of foods they consume, but one commonality is seen across all of the world's oldest communities--they eat a high percentage of plant based foods, which are relatively low fat.

Many health experts are coming into the agreement that there is no one "cure all" diet for every person, but the more plants you eat, the better it is for your health. Aim to get more of your calories from plants per day than from animal sources. It is really that simple.

Okinawa, Japan, continues to be among one of the oldest living and healthiest populations on Earth. The people in Okinawa show an 80 percent lower instance of heart disease, 75 percent lower cases of prostate and breast cancer, and 67 percent lower risk of dementia than the population of the U.S. These people regularly consume a high amount of carbohydrates, including grains and legumes. They eat about 6 percent of their diet from fat, low animal products, and high amounts of sea vegetables.

Of course, you do not have to adopt a Japanese diet to increase your longevity. Simply focusing on increasing vegetable intake can drastically lower your risk of heart disease, and increasing consumption of raw vegetables may help you to get to 100. One study found that people who ate five servings of vegetables and fruits daily, lived about 3 years longer than those who did not, even eating just one fruit can extend your life by 1.5 years.

The answer to a healthier life really is that simple. Increase plant consumption, make sure that more of your daily calories are from plant sources. When preparing your dinner plate make sure that the majority is plant based. Try lowering meat consumption to once daily to decrease risk of heart disease. Doctors and cardiologists who emphasize an interest in healing and reversing chronic diseases with plant based diets, suggest that the first word of health advice should be simply, "eat more fruits and vegetables, raw when you can."

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