Eat Healthful Plant-Based Foods
A nutritious diet is key to creating long-term health. Poor nutrition is one of the leading causes of heart disease. The old adage “You are what you eat” is actually quite truthful. Your body derives its nutrients, its building blocks for cellular repair and growth, and its fuel for all activities directly from the food you consume.
The connection between food and your blood-cholesterol levels is direct and powerful. Overconsumption of saturated fats, trans fats, simple sugars, and cholesterol-rich foods leads to overproduction of LDL cholesterol in the liver and to the release of excess amounts of triglycerides into the bloodstream. Saturated fats and cholesterol are present only in animal foods. Trans fats are present only in processed, commercial foods (as described in Chapter 7).
When you alter your eating habits to include more plant-based foods and fewer animal-based and processed foods, you take a powerful step toward improving the health of your bloodstream. Studies have shown that nutritional factors alone can reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 60 percent in individuals with high levels of cholesterol. This change is far more powerful than the best prescription medications. Another significant difference is that improvements in nutrition do not have the same risk of adverse side effects as taking a long-term prescription drug. In fact, the main side effects of eating healthier are more energy, weight loss, a clearer mind, and more radiant skin. Lastly, eating healthier is much more affordable than medications or other more invasive treatments for heart attack and strokes.
Based on the amount of efficacy a drug needs to have to be prescribed, if lifestyle changes were a drug, everyone would receive a prescription. In fact, even factoring in the price of whole foods and gym membership, it would be by far the most cost-effective medication ever created.
Numerous nutritional studies demonstrate that plant-based foods enhance your health, particularly cardiovascular health. Humans cannot exist without plant foods. While it is possible to live healthfully over a lifetime without any consumption of meat, it is not possible to survive without eating plant-based foods.