A plant-based diet is highly recommended by many medical professionals today and even celebrities like Kathy Freston, Alicia Silverstone, and more. And while you can go plant-based to follow your favorite celebrity if you want, you’ll benefit much more by learning about what the power of a plant-based diet can do for your health. Plant-based eating doesn’t just have the power to keep you energized, enhance your athletic performance, and boost your focus – it’s also a well-known possible, preventative treatment for diabetes and cancer.

A Plant-Based Diet and Cancer

The word no one wants to hear: cancer. Yet, most of us know someone who’s been affected by cancer or perhaps been affected directly. What is cancer, exactly? Cancer is a term that refers to the multiplication of abnormal cells that promotes unhealthy cell growth, thus promoting tumors, masses, etc. Normally, our cells die off and reproduce cells, but sometimes the process doesn’t go as it should. As the National Institute of Cancer explains, when a cell isn’t replaced as it normally should be, the genetic makeup of that cell changes and an unhealthy mutation of cells occur. These cells then spread to other tissues of the body and attack the immune system as a result.

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Though there isn’t a 100 percent proven cure for cancer, a plant-based diet has been well-studied on its preventative benefits for fighting cancer. The American Cancer Society also states that a plant-based diet can be used as a powerful potential treatment for colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity (though they do not advice relying on it solely.) Medical professionals such a Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physician’s Committe for Responsible Medicine and Dr. Joel Fuhrman have also explained the benefits of eating a plant-based diet for cancer prevention.

Because a plant-based diet is packed with antioxidants that support the immune system, the body has a stronger ability to fight off unhealthy cancer cells as a result. The Cancer Support Community also advises a plant-based diet for managing a healthy weight, which can may help prevent cancer even further and prevent other types of disease such as type 2 diabetes.

A Plant-Based Diet and Diabetes

Since a whole foods, plant-based diet can positively affect blood sugar levels, it is a natural supportive treatment for diabetes. Animal-based proteins actually stimulate a rapid release of insulin into the bloodstream, due to their high fat content that prevents insulin from reaching the cells effectively. This creates what is known as insulin resistance that is associated with diabetes. Animal proteins also trigger the release of IGF-1, (insulin growth factor) which is a hormonal response that’s been linked to cancer.

The American Diabetes Association also says that a plant-based diet is helpful for fighting diabetes due to the high amounts of fiber, antioxidants,complex carbohydrates, plant-based proteins, and little to no amounts of cholesterol found in plant-based foods. These food support insulin by allowing insulin to enter the bloodstream more slowly, yet still perform the needed work in the cells to manage glucose (blood sugar) efficiently. For more information, learn about reducing your risk of diabetes with a plant-based diet, and discover why plant-based eating is the way to go.

The Conclusion

While no cure has been set in stone for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, or even obesity, you can see that the benefits of a plant-based diet are far and many. Because whole food sources of plants contain no cholesterol, no processed ingredients, and no detrimental animal protein, they support the body on every single level. However, this is only true for a plant-based diet made of whole, clean and unprocessed foods. Vegan donuts, ice cream, and cookies  (all high in sugar and processed ingredients) certainly aren’t the answer to fighting disease, even though they’re animal-free.

A clean, whole foods plant-based diet includes: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and minimal amounts of processed foods. Get the Ultimate Guide to a Plant-Based Diet to learn just how to keep things simple and easy and even how to learn How to Clean with a Plant-Based Diet if you need some extra tips. Plant-based, whole foods nourish our bodies in a dramatic way that can be a small as helping you have more energy, or as large as conquering your risk at disease.

Image Source: White Bean and Kale Soup

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