It certainly goes without saying that the typical Western diet could use an upgrade. A diet heavy in meat, dairy products, eggs, and various highly fatty, preserved and processed foods can be linked to high cholesterol and a host of health problems and concerns. But what are the alternatives?
The famous author and activist Michael Pollan put it simply:
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
That’s good, sound advice, but what do plant-based diets offer in terms of health and wellness? As it turns out, a lot! Let’s take a look at two popular plant-based diets you may be interested in trying, or exploring further, with a roundup of some of the amazing health benefits for each.
Maximizing Your Health with Macrobiotics
The word “macrobiotic” is derived from the Greek “macro” meaning “long,” and “bio” meaning life. The macrobiotic diet has shown itself to be a possible treatment, and even a cure, for a host of medical illnesses, possibly even cancer. It’s worth noting that this dietary lifestyle, which is by and large high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, and low in fat, is similar to the diet recommended by the American Cancer Society. The macrobiotic approach and philosophy seeks to balance your perspective on food, nutrition and healing.
• Organic food is vital in macrobiotics, and organically grown food decreases pesticide exposure, which is associated with cancer and infertility. Also, low fat, high fiber food helps lower the risk diabetes, as well as colorectal, ovarian, and prostate cancer.
• Wholegrain cereals and flour are rich with vitamin B. A diet rich in whole grains decreases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. A wholegrain diet also helps maintain healthy bowel functions and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria.
• Consuming algae regularly improves overall health. Algae is nutrient-rich and dense in minerals, vitamins, proteins, amino acids, chlorophyll, and fiber. The iron, calcium, and magnesium in algae helps maintain strong bones and a healthy blood system. It also helps reduce anxiety and sleep disorders.
• Nuts help lower the risk of heart disease. Nuts are rich with fiber, omega 3, vitamin E, and selenium, and also contain many antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help boost the immune system. Omega 3 essential fatty acids,also known as “good fats,” helps lower LDL—low density lipoproteins—or “bad” cholesterol.
Vegging-Out with Veganism
Partaking in a vegan diet lowers the risks of high cholesterol and blood pressure and has been shown to prevent a variety of diseases, some of which include colon, breast and prostate cancer, macular degeneration, cataracts, arthritis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. It’s also been noted that a vegan diet can assist in weight loss, heighten energy levels, promote healthier skin, hair and nails, and offer relief from migraines and allergies— even reduce body odor and bad breath!
Take a peek at just a few of the benefits from an all-vegan diet:
• Potassium balances water and acidity in your body and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins. Diets high in potassium have shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. There are a lots of yummy fruits and vegetables high in potassium such as dried apricots, figs and coconut, avocados, spinach, mushrooms and sweet potatoes.
• Many researchers believe that antioxidants help protect your body against forming some types of cancer. When we are eating kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts and onions we are increasing the anti- oxidants in our bloodstream.
• A diet high in grains, nuts, and dark leafy greens is full of Vitamin E. New research shows Vitamin E can fight Alzheimer’s disease, and that Vitamin E levels can diagnose Alzheimer’s. You must get enough of this important vitamin to prevent the illness. New exciting research shows that it’s possible to prevent Alzheimer’s with Vitamin E. The more Vitamin E you have in your blood, the better. Your Vitamin E levels will predict if you will get Alzheimer’s.
• Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.
Choices, Choices, Choices…
Both of these dietary lifestyles offer their own intrinsically unique advantages and guidelines. Identifying your body’s specific needs first should act as a compass in guiding your dietary decisions. As always, it’s best to gather the opinions of trusted health professionals before embarking on your veggie voyage to improved health.
Holistic Holiday at Sea is more than a great vegan travel experience, it’s an opportunity to stay healthy while enjoying an incredible vacation! Join us in 2014 for our 11th tasty voyage!