(it’s more common than you think)
I recently published a very in-depth, scientific article about how adopting a vegan diet can be the most effective way of preventing and treating Chronic Inflammation. You can check out what the research says here, and see what a vegan diet has, and can do, for conditions such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Autoimmune Disease, Arthritis, and even genetic conditions resulting in inflammation, like Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. This post is the Cliff Notes to that article but with the added bonus of a round-up of several delicious and effective Vegan Anti-Inflammatory recipes.
Virtually all of us know at least one person with one of those conditions (or more), right? Imagine if we all practiced the following interventions, and implemented a plant-based lifestyle! We might put a health insurance company or two out of business.
In that article, I highlighted key points the research promotes as effective activities that people can do to treat and prevent inflammation, be it acute or chronic. Here are some of those simple interventions, and why a vegan diet can help to achieve them:
–Losing weight– Several randomized controlled studies — the gold standard in scientific research — report that vegan diets are more effective for weight loss than the diets they are compared to (this includes that keto fad) (1, 2, 3, 4).
–Eliminate excess and artificial sugars– I don’t even need a citation here. Unless you’re a ‘junk food vegan’, it is indisputable that a whole food vegan diet is 100% free of artificial and excess sugars.
–Exercise– Health-related effects in athletes who consume diets without meat have been found to positively impact exercise performance, such as physical fitness, resilience to chronic diseases, and weight control (5, 6, 7).
–Anti-inflammatory agents– All of the well-known and most effective anti-inflammatory agents are plants (Curcumin, Mung Beans, Ginger, Garlic, Cayenne, Flax Oil, and many, many more). Consuming meat and animal products (milk, cheese, etc.) actually produces inflammation (8, 9). Try out some of these vegan anti-inflammatory recipes here, and in this post too! They all have these wonderful inflammation-fighting plants in them.
–Dental health– studies demonstrate that those who consume more meat experience greater frequency and severity of periodontitis (inflammatory gum disease). Those who consume more fruits and vegetables- much less (10). Vegan diets result in improved and optimal oral health in several regards (11).
–Treat underlying inflammatory mental conditions– see the following heading “Stress” for the effects of a vegan diet on stress and anxiety. Study after study have shown marked improvement in symptoms of depression using a vegan diet as an intervention (13, 16) and that vegans are much less likely to be afflicted with eating disorders, a mental illness that seems to be trying to become an epidemic (14). In fact, ‘semi-vegetarians’ (those not wholly committed to a vegan diet) have been found to have the highest rates of eating disorders (15). A vegan diet has even been demonstrated to successfully treat schizophrenia by decreasing the length and severity of, and/or eliminating the episodes altogether, of symptomatic relapses in this self report from the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (12).
–Stress– Studies show that vegans experience significantly lower levels of stress and anxiety, and better moods than omnivores (17, 18, 19). Several factors could play into this, for example corrected hormone imbalances by not ingesting another living being’s hormones, or just the overall perceived sense of well-being and ‘doing right’ that many vegans experience.
–Sleep– people who follow a vegan diet get much better sleep, even those of whom have existing disadvantages to optimal sleep, such as Fibromyalgia patients (20, 21).
–Underlying inflammatory conditions such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Arthritis, and Autoimmune conditions respond best to vegan diets than other diets (22, 23, 24, 25). A vegan diet regulates blood sugar levels better than the diet prescribed and endorsed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Heart Association (AHA) and National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) (3, 26, 27, 28).
With a complete lack of pharmaceutical treatment for Chronic Inflammation, the research demonstrates the gold standard and most effective measures to be lifestyle modifications and health-promoting behaviors as detailed above. Interestingly, a vegan diet naturally promotes and achieves virtually all of them. Science has established that by just eliminating animals and their byproducts from your diet, you will get better sleep, have better mental health, manage and prevent additional inflammatory conditions, achieve a more optimal weight, enjoy better dental health, have much more energy for physical performance, and so many more things that effectively eliminate and prevent Chronic Inflammation.
So, if you could achieve all of these things just by making a few very simple swaps in the kitchen, why wouldn’t you? It’s cheaper, healthier, and very easy to do. The most difficult part of going vegan truly is breaking up with the notion we were duped into believing, that animal products are necessary for survival. Millions of healthy, happy, thriving vegans are proof of that. Millions of people who have prevented, managed, and cured insane amounts of health conditions are just icing on the cake.
But wait!! There’s MORE! Give inflammation a swift kick in the arse and head over HERE to see the rest of those 30 delicious and effective Vegan Anti-Inflammatory recipes!
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16. Gary Null, Luanne Pennesi,Diet and lifestyle intervention on chronic moderate to severe depression and anxiety and other chronic conditions,Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice,Volume 29,2017,Pages 189-193, ISSN 1744-3881.
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19. B.L. Beezhold, C.S. JohnstonRestriction of meat, fish, and poultry in omnivores improves mood: a pilot randomized controlled trial Nutr. J., 11 (1) (2012), p. 9.
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24. R Peltonen M Nenonen T Helve O Hänninen P Toivanen E Eerola. Faecal microbial flora and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis during a vegan diet. Rheumatology, Volume 36, Issue 1, 1 January 1997, Pages 64–68,
25. Gluten-free vegan diet induces decreased LDL and oxidized LDL levels and raised atheroprotective natural antibodies against phosphorylcholine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized study
26. Macknin, Michael et al. “Plant-based, no-added-fat or American Heart Association diets: impact on cardiovascular risk in obese children with hypercholesterolemia and their parents” Journal of pediatrics vol. 166,4 (2015): 953-9.e1-3.
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28. Barnard, Neal D et al. “A low-fat vegan diet and a conventional diabetes diet in the treatment of type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled, 74-wk clinical trial” American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 89,5 (2009): 1588S-1596S.
***I am not a physician, nor am I prescribing a diet to follow for any condition you may/may not have. This article is simply to highlight the benefits a vegan diet has been shown capable of delivering. If you have any questions about what diet is right for you, seek the advice of your physician or a licensed dietician. Please see the policies and disclaimers for any additional information you seek regarding this disclaimer.***