Leading health experts agree that going vegan is the single best thing we can do for ourselves and our families. Not only do vegan foods taste great, they can also help prevent and sometimes even reverse heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other common chronic health conditions.
- Hands down, the easiest way to protect your heart without drugs is by eating plant-based foods instead of animal-based ones. A large-scale study at Oxford University found that not eating meat reduced participants’ chance of developing heart disease by a whopping 32 percent.
- According to a 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) report, bacon and other processed meats cause cancer, and red meat—including beef, pork, and lamb—is probably also carcinogenic. WHO estimates that 34,000 cancer deaths per year are associated with a diet high in processed meats, which puts these animal-derived foods in the same health-harming category as tobacco and asbestos.
- The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine helped conduct a study indicating that diabetics can significantly better control the disease just by going vegan. Volunteers with diabetes were divided into two groups: One was placed on the standard nonvegetarian diet prescribed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and the other was placed on a low-fat, low-sugar vegan diet. After 22 weeks, 43 percent of those on the vegan diet were able to reduce or eliminate some of their medications, compared with only 26 percent of those who followed the diet recommended by the ADA.
- A study published in the January 2016 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that men who eat a plant-based diet are a third less likely to develop prostate cancer.
- A long-term study conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that increasing consumption of red meat could raise one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 50 percent, while decreasing consumption could lower the risk by as much as 14 percent over a 10-year period.
- The Oxford component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition found that weight gain over a five-year period was lower among people who ate fewer animal-derived foods—meat-eaters had the highest body-mass index (BMI) and vegans had the lowest BMI.
- University of South Carolina researchers randomly placed overweight volunteer dieters into one of five groups—omnivores, semi-vegetarians, pesco-vegetarians, vegetarians, and vegans—and found that the participants who followed a vegan diet lost more weight than those in the other groups.
- A 2014 study found that higher milk consumption may actually be associated with higher rates of bone fracture in women and increased mortality in both men and women.
- Scientists with the University of Western Ontario’s medical school found that regular consumption of egg yolks is almost as bad for your heart as smoking, because eating egg yolks accelerates atherosclerosis almost as much as smoking cigarettes.
- A 12-year Harvard Nurses’ Health Study involving nearly 78,000 women ages 34 to 59 also indicates that women who drink three or more glasses of milk per day are more likely to sustain bone fractures than women who drink little or no milk.
If you’re concerned about your health—as well as animals and the environment—there’s no better time to go vegan. For more information, free vegan recipes, and helpful tips, order PETA’s free vegan starter kit.