Physicians should be aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet for six health conditions: weight loss and maintenance, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and COVID-19, according to a new commentary in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

Source: TEDx Talks/Youtube

The authors of the commentary say that medical schools only offer a small number of hours of nutrition education over four years. The number of hours doesn’t improve in postgraduate training either. They noted a recent survey of more than 600 cardiologists that found that 90 percent reported not receiving needed nutrition education during their professional training.

“Medical schools, entrusted with the responsibility of educating our future healthcare leaders, have managed to largely bypass the topic of nutrition, arguably the most powerful healthcare intervention known to mankind.”

“This is especially regrettable considering overwhelming evidence confirms most non-communicable disease is preventable by modifying our diets.”

Source: TEDx Talks/Youtube

The commentary notes that not all physicians need to be nutrition experts, however, they should have at least rudimentary knowledge and essential facts. They believe that physicians should know about the benefits of a plant-based diet for these six conditions, for which they give detailed evidence:

1. Weight loss and maintenance. A study of 70,000 people found that those who consumed a vegan diet weighed around nine pounds less than those who did not, in addition to a reduced risk of death.

2. Cardiovascular disease. Animal products are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which both are drivers of cardiovascular disease. A study found that those consuming a vegetarian diet decreased their LDL cholesterol by 13 mg/dl. Another analysis found a 24 percent lower rate of heart disease death among vegetarians.

3. Cancer. Choosing healthy behaviors, like staying physically active and consuming a plant-rich diet, has the potential to reduce breast cancer by as much as 50-70 percent. Research has also found that diets that include soy and are high in fiber can reduce breast cancer risk. On the other hand, diets that are high in dairy products lead to an increased prostate cancer risk. High fiber diets reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, but daily consumption of red and processed meats increases this risk.

4. Diabetes. A Harvard study found that those who eat a plant-based diet could expect a 34 percent reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes.

5. Alzheimer’s disease. A study found that those who adhered to the primarily plant-based Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet, which focuses on brain-healthy foods like green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, beans, berries, nuts, and whole grains had a 60 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

6. COVID-19. Harvard’s smartphone-based COVID-19 study found that people eating a primarily plant-based diet had a 41 percent reduction in the risk of severe COVID-19 and a 9 percent reduction in infection of any severity.

“The field of medicine, despite its prominent influence in society, has invested little to promote healthy lifestyle choices,” said the authors. “The consequence of this is reflected in our ever-rising chronic disease statistics, most notably obesity and diabetes rates.”

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancer, and prostate cancer, and has many side effects. Learn about some Common Health Concerns That May Disappear Once You Ditch Dairy and 10 Calcium Supplements For Healthy Living on a Dairy-Free and 10 Carrageenan-Free Non-Dairy Products!

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