As well as harming animals and the planet, our reliance on cheap, factory farmed animal products can have a really serious impact on our personal and public health.
Here are some of the top health reasons for saying YES to LESS and why it’s so important we all start shifting towards a more plant-based diet.
1. Improves your immune system
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts contain essential nutrients that you cannot get from other foods. The vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants in plant-based foods help keep your cells healthy and your body in balance so that your immune system can function at its best.
2. Reduces risk of cancer
Numerous studies have found a correlation between high meat consumption and an increased risk of cancer. In 2015, the World Health Organization placed processed meats like hot dogs and bacon in the same category of cancer risk as asbestos and smoking cigarettes. One study, in particular, concluded that compared to women who ate one serving of red meat a week, women who ate 1.5 servings of red meat a day had a 22 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer.
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3. Reduces risk of heart disease
Countless studies have shown that people who eat a plant-based diet have a lower risk of dying from heart disease, when compared to those who consume high amounts of animal-based foods. The high fiber and nutrients in plant-based foods have been proven to prevent and reverse heart disease, improve cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
4. Reduces inflammation
The essential nutrients in plant-based foods work to resolve inflammation in your body. The same tiny phytochemicals and antioxidants that boost your immune system also neutralize toxins from pollution, processed food, bacteria, viruses and more. Long term, this can help protect your cells and tissue from damage that can lead to cancer and & other inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
5. Lowers risk of diabetes
According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, people who eat as little as one serving of red meat a day, whether it is processed or unprocessed, have an increased chance of getting type 2 diabetes. In fact, they concluded that meat is “one of the most well-established dietary risk factors” for diabetes. That means even just modest consumption of red or processed meat significantly increases one's risk of type 2 diabetes.
6. Lowers cholesterol
Since harmful cholesterol that can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease is only found in animal-based foods, plant-based foods contain zero cholesterol. Want to lower your cholesterol and safeguard your health? Eat more plants.
7. Reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease
According to a 2016 report, British scientists found that a Western diet heavy in animal-based proteins increases one’s odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, Dr. Simon Ridley, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that studies have linked plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and nuts to better cognitive health.
8. Helps you to live longer
Researchers at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic reviewed multiple studies and found that those who ate plant-based for more than 17 years enjoyed an increase in life expectancy of 3.6 years. They concluded that “physicians should advise patients to limit animal products when possible and consume more plants than meat.”
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9. Reduces antibiotic resistance
Antibiotics are routinely given to healthy animals in poor factory farm conditions to stop them getting sick. This overuse leads to the development of superbugs (bacteria resistant to antibiotics) which poses a serious threat to public health. Research carried out by World Animal Protection found superbugs on meat samples and in the environment around factory farms in countries across the world. Reducing the amount of animal products we eat and increasing the welfare of animals on farms will reduce the risk of superbugs and keep antibiotics working for us for longer.
10. Helps prevent against future pandemics
COVID-19 is believed to have originated at horrific wildlife and live animal markets, but it’s not the first virus capable of causing a pandemic and it won’t be the last. Prior to COVID-19, there was swine flu, bird flu, Nipah virus, amongst others coming from farm animals. Squashing together large numbers of stressed animals in dismal conditions on factory farms is a proven recipe for new viruses to emerge, jump to humans and spread. By eating fewer animal products we can reduce the risk of future viruses developing and spreading to humans from factory farms.