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The good health page - why you should get most of your energy from plant-based foods that have had little or no processing.

Diets recommended by various medical authorities and other expert groups are amazingly similar and have been relatively consistent over the past 25 years - eat more fruit, vegetables and unprocessed grains.

Diets that resemble the Mediterranean diet to a greater or lesser degree, with at least two thirds of their energy coming from plant based foods, are recommended by the vast majority of major health organizations in the world. Some groups even recommend vegetarian diets. The following is a list of such recommendations:

 
  • American Dietetic Association - vegetarian diet. (Am Dietetic Ass. 06)
  • American Heart Association - DASH (Sacks 01), Step I, Step II and TLC diets as part of ATPIII (Am Heart Ass. 06)
  • Australian Government Dept. of Health and the National Health and Medical Research Council - Dietary Guidelines for Australians. (Aust diet 06)
  • Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA) and Department of Health, UK (UK Health 03)
  • European Community - Eurodiet Project. (Lang 03)
  • WHO/FAO recommended diet (WHO report #916, 2003)
  • US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. - Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (Am. Diet 06)
     
 

Studies which have shown fruit and vegetable rich diets are good for your health: these are but a few examples.

 
  • Indo-Mediterranean Heart Study (Singh 02)
  • KIHD (Finland) Study (Rissanen 03)
  • Lyon Diet Study. (De Lorgeril 99)
  • Greek Mediterranean Diet Study (Trichopoulou 03)
  • Nurses Health Study: Prudent versus standard American diet in women. (Fung 01)
  • Prudent diet versus standard American diet in men. (Hu 00)

 

 

What is to be gained?

  • Around 3 years  or more longer life expectancy
  • At least a 25% reduction in coronary artery disease disease.
  • Better blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of obesity 
  • Reduced risk of type II diabetes.
  • Possible reduction in breast, colon and prostatic cancer

In other words a longer life with much less suffering from disease along the way.

There are number of factors which are important:

  • Eating more plant-based food to increase potassium and reduce sodium intake from processed foods and restaurant meals. Salt
     
  • Avoiding saturated fats of both plant and animal origin is a key to good health. Dietary fats
     
  • Dietary fibre is important. Fibre
     
  • Find out more in the "What to Eat section". What To Eat

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 References:

(Am. Diet 06) American Dietary Guidelines www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines

(Am Dietetics Ass. 06) Position statement on vegetarian diets  www.eatright.org. in Food and Nutrition Information. 2006.

(Am Heart Ass. 06) American Heart Association diets www.americanheart.org under Step I, Step II and TLC diets. 2006

(Aust Diet 06) Australian Government Dept of Health and the National Health and Medical Research Council. Food for Health: Dietary Guidelines for Australians. www.nhmrc.gov.au in publications section.

(De Lorgeril 99) Michel de Lorgeril, Patricia Salen, Jean-Louis Martin, Isabelle Monjaud, Jacques Delaye and Nicole Mamelle. Mediterranean Diet, Traditional Risk Factors, and the Rate of Cardiovascular Heart Complications After Myocardial Infarction : Final Report of the Lyon Diet Study. Circulation 1999;99:779-785

(Fung 01) Teresa Fung,  Walter C Willett, Meir J. Stampfer, JoAnn E. Manson, Frank B Hu. Dietary Patterns and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women. Arch Intern Med 2001;161: 1857-1862

(Hu 00) Frank B Hu, Eric B Rimm, Meir J Stampfer, Alberto Ascherio, Donna Spiegelman, Walter C Willett. Prospective study of major dietary patterns and risk of coronary heart disease in men. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72:91221.

(Lang 03) Tim Lang, Geof Rayner, Editors. Why Health is the Key to the Future of Food and Farming. A Report on the Future of Farming and Food. 2003. Downloadable from the internet.

(Rissanen 03) Tiina H. Rissanen, Sari Voutilainen, Jyrki K. Virtanen,  Birgitta Venho, Meri Vanharanta, Jaakko Mursu, Jukka T. Salonen. Low Intake of Fruits, Berries and Vegetables Is Associated with Excess Mortality in Men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study. J. Nutr. 133:199204, 2003.

(Sacks 01) Frank M Sacks et al. Effect on Blood Pressure of Reduced Dietary Sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet. N Engl J Med 2001;344:3-10

(Singh 02) Ram B Singh, Gal Dubnov, Mohammad Niaz, Sarawati Ghosh, Reema Singh, Shanti Rastogi, Orly Manor, Daniel Pella, Elliot Berry. Effect of an Indo-Mediterranean diet on progression of coronary artery disease in high risk patients (Indo-Mediterranean Diet Heart Study): a randomised single-blind trial. Lancet 2002; 360:1455-1461.

(Trichopoulou 03) Antonia Trichopoulou, Tina Costacou,  Christina Bamia, Dimitrios Trichopoulos. Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet and Survival in a Greek Population. NEJM 2003;348:2599-2608

(UK Health 03) Department of Health UK. Food and Health Action Plan 2003

(WHO Report 916, 2003) WHO Technical Report Series 916. Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Joint WHO/FAO Expert Committee. 2003)