Mayo Clinic

- Diet

Plant Based Diet

Get Health with a Plant Based Diet

What if one simple change could put you on a path to better health? And what if that change could even save you from obesity, heart disease and cancer? You have the power to transform your life by maintaining a plant based diet no ifs about it.

While many omnivores feel that a meal without meat just doesnt feel like a meal, the vegan and vegetarian plant based lifestyle is growing in popularity just the same and with good reason. A plant based diet moves away from animal-based foods like meat, eggs and milk, and incorporates more fruit, vegetables, legumes and grains. The less meat and dairy you eat the less fat you take in. This goes a long way when it comes to maintaining healthy weight and cholesterol levels.

If youre wondering whether you should try out a plant based diet, consider the top five benefits listed below. Keep in mind that you dont have to jump into a full-on vegan diet or vegetarian diet. Just limiting your intake of meat, poultry and dairy, and increasing vegetables, fruit and grains can do wonders for your health.

Top Five Benefits of a Plant Based Diet

1.) Lower Cholesterol
Going green can dramatically lower the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood the bad kind that can lead to heart disease and stroke. Avoid butter, cut out fatty meats and opt for plant-based foods. Dairy and animal products are loaded with fat and have no fiber. Plant based foods contain no cholesterol whatsoever. That means vegan nutrition is much better for your heart and your health. Its even been proven by a recent study out of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, which found that a low-fat plant based diet can lower LDL cholesterol by 28 percent.
2.) Lower Blood Pressure
When you eat fatty meats and dairy products, the viscosity of your blood increases, placing more pressure on the blood vessels. A plant based diet fills you up with veggies and fruit, which are high in potassium. Higher intake of potassium modulates blood viscosity. This is why vegetarians and vegans tend to have lower rates of hypertension, “the silent killer,” according to observational studies published in the Nutrition Review.
3.) Prevent Cancer
High-fat diets have been linked to higher rates of cancer. In fact the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicines Cancer Project showed vegetarians to be 40 percent less likely to develop cancer than meat-eaters. Meat tends to be high in saturated fat and low in fiber. Fiber plays a key role in keeping your digestive system clean and healthy, removing cancer-causing compounds before they can create harm. A vegetarian diet and vegan diet are high in fiber, low in saturated and trans-fats and typically include more fruit, vegetables and other cancer-preventing phytochemicals.
4.) Avoid Heart Disease
The American Heart Association says 83 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, and many of the risk factors, such as obesity, are at all-time highs. But you reduce your risk. Research has found that a balanced, low-fat, plant based diet can help reduce cholesterol, contribute to weight loss and lower blood pressure. All of which lead to heart problems.

5.) Maintain Healthy Weight & Fitness
Those who follow a plant based, vegan or vegetarian diet generally consume fewer calories and have lower body weights than those who don’t, according to the Mayo Clinic. Still, a plant based diet doesn’t guarantee weight loss. Youll want to keep your intake of sweets and fatty foods low, choose whole grains, eat a variety of fruit and vegetables, and choose fat-free and low-fat dairy products. Also remember that cooking method counts. Steam, boil, grill or roast instead of frying. Your new diet will even give you renewed energy for physical exercise.

How to Transition to a Plant Based Diet
Aside from simply avoiding meat, there are ways to ease the transition to a primarily plant based diet. Increase the amount of grains, fruits and vegetables on your plate gradually until the meat is the smallest portion of your meal. An online vegan delivery service can make the process simple.

- Yoga

Hot Yoga for Prevention of Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are more than just memory loss. They are conditions that can erode a person’s quality of life, independence, and interpersonal relationships. Some medications can slow the process of Alzheimer’s, but once it sets in, it is not reversible. Some forms of dementia can be temporary due to vitamin deficiency or vascular conditions, but most dementia is also irreversible.

Only 25% of these cases are genetic. The rest are preventable.

According to the Mayo Clinic and the International Journal of Clinical Practice, exercise has more impact on aging and Alzheimer’s disease than any other lifestyle factor. Exercising five days out of seven reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by 35%. If two of those workouts involve strength training, it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by half once you are over 65. Don’t wait, though. Obesity in midlife makes you 3 times more likely to have Alzheimer’s.

Hot yoga is ideal for Alzheimer’s prevention because it combines strength with flexibility and stress reduction. Limberness improves balance and reduces risk of head injuries. Flexibility makes your body more resilient as you age and reduces your risk for overall injury, thereby insuring that you can keep up healthy exercise habits later in life.

Chronic stress quadruples the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Dr. Vincent Fortanesce of USC points out that the stress hormone cortisol stunts nerve cell growth and connection, accelerating cognitive decline, premature aging, depression, and diabetes. (Diabetes, by the way, makes you twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s). Yoga reduces stress, thereby reducing your cortisol production. It also helps your sleep patterns. Sleep deprivation, according to memory experts Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Gary Small, can really hurt your brain and central nervous system.

Other tips for Alzheimer’s prevention: eat a brain-healthy diet minimizing processed foods and refined starches, focusing instead on fruits and vegetables, antioxidants, Omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamins. Keep your brain active by learning new things, playing with puzzles and riddles. Avoid toxins like cigarettes, because smoking increases your risk by 79%. For more information, visit Helpguide or The Alzheimer’s Association.

Nikki M. Deasy
TriBalance Yoga Center