Cardiovascular disease and cancer are now, and increasingly, the biggest killers in the Western world. With heart disease contributing to 25 percent of all deaths in America, making it the number one cause of death, and cancer following at a very close second, it begs the question: Is there anything we can do to prevent them?
Despite advances in medicine and early detection, the incidence and mortality rate is still high, so scientists are now putting more resources into researching the efficacy of preventative measures such as diet and lifestyle.
The good news is that studies are revealing that changes in your diet really can decrease your risk of developing these chronic and too often fatal diseases.
A recent review and meta-analysis of 96 studies concluded that consuming a plant based diet significantly reduces your risk of both cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Incidence of cardiovascular disease was shown to be decreased in those who followed a vegetarian diet, as well as the mortality rate of those who had been diagnosed.
Incidence of cancer for those following a plant based diet was lower than an omnivorous diet, and was even lower still in those who followed a vegan diet -- which eliminates not only meat, but all animal products such as dairy and eggs.
In addition, people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet had lower body mass, lower total and LDL cholesterol and lower glucose levels, all of which are risk factors for chronic disease.
These statistics quite clearly link a plant based diet with improved health outcomes and suggest this style of eating provides protective benefits against cancer, heart disease and improve other key indicators of good health.
A raw food diet is a popular style of plant based eating that not only incorporates a vegan lifestyle, but also eliminates all processed foods, focussing on fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, gluten free grains, good nutritional fats, fermented and sprouted foods.
Raw food advocates such as myself believe that eating food at its most natural, raw state, increases the nutritional benefit, providing abundant vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytochemicals.