“Japanese people are in better health than residents of other countries, according to recent research cited by the National Institutes of Health. In 2013, Japan had the highest healthy life expectancy — about 73 years. Andorra, Canada, Cyprus, France, and Iceland were among the other countries with high healthy life expectancies. Globally, healthy life expectancy at birth averages 62 years, according to the World Health Organization (everydayhealth).”
Life expectancy has increased primarily due to attention paid to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States (everydayhealth). Education, income, race, ethnicity and family health history all are factors in longevity.
People who eat meat are more likely to have higher cholesterol levels because cholesterol is only present in animal-based foods, i.e., meat, eggs, and dairy products. High cholesterol can increase your chances of developing heart disease and eating meat can also increase the risk of developing certain cancers, e.g., colon cancer, as well as kidney stones and gallstones. Reducing meat consumption can increase your life span by 3.6 years, however, some experts believe the difference between the life span of meat-eaters and vegetarians is not actually based on food choice, but because many vegetarians maintain a healthier lifestyle than meat-eaters, e.g. many vegetarians also avoid smoking and alcohol. They’re also likely to be physically active and maintain a healthy weight. All of these factors can contribute to a longer life span (livestrong).
Not all vegetarians eat healthy diets either. A healthy diet contains fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. The most nutritious foods are eaten raw and uncooked. “A huge study of Seventh Day Adventists who ate little or no meat showed longevity increases of 7.28 years in men and 4.42 years in women. These data are confounded by the fact that Seventh Day Adventists follow healthy lifestyles free of tobacco and alcohol” (lifeextension).
“Plant-based diets are naturally lower in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol than carnivorous diets but are higher in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting antioxidants. Plant-based nutrients include potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins C and E. This difference in nutritional value is likely responsible for the health benefits experienced by vegetarians, but this is true only when the diet emphasizes plants, avoids processed foods, is balanced and includes a variety” (livestrong).
Vegetarians have lower cholesterol, blood pressure levels and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancers, type-2 diabetes, and insulin resistance. Meat eaters frequently have a higher risk of cancer and overall disease. Semi-vegetarians, those who eat meat once a week, are found to have intermediate protection against lifestyle diseases.
Vegetarian men live an average of 9-1/2 years longer than meat-eaters and vegetarian women 6-1/10 years longer. In studies, meat-eaters had the highest body weight for their age and vegetarians the lowest (average of 30 pounds), with semi-vegetarians falling in between.
Contrary to popular belief, vegetarians consume about the same amount of most nutrients as meat-eaters. Plant protein can adequately meet or even exceed needed requirements when a variety of plant foods are consumed. Eating whole grains and legumes, e.g., rice and beans together, create complete proteins. Eating plants can be positive for your disposition and libido. A higher intake results in more
energy, calmness and happy feelings. Plant foods have libido-boosting effects, and a lower body weight helps with increasing sex hormones as well (Livestrong).
A UCLA study found Mormon men had a life expectancy of 9.8 years longer than that of U.S. white males and Mormon females had a life expectancy of 5.6 years longer than U.S. white females. Mormons are meat-eaters but abstain from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea. Other studies have found lower rates of cancer in Mormons (Deseret). Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists observe a sabbath, day of rest, which may contribute to their longer life spans. People that are devoted to their religious beliefs generally do not engage in risky behaviors, e.g., alcohol or drug addiction, sexual promiscuity or homosexuality, factors that reduce life expectancy.
Life expectancy for smokers is ten years less than non-smokers (CDC). The statistics for vaping are not yet available but are expected to be similar or greater than tobacco use. The CDC reports, “Overall mortality among both male and female smokers in the United States is about three times higher than that among similar people who never smoked. The major causes of excess mortality among smokers are diseases that are related to smoking, including cancer and respiratory and vascular disease. Smokeless tobacco is a known cause of cancer. In addition, the nicotine in smokeless tobacco may increase the risk for sudden death from a condition where the heart does not beat properly.” Life expectancy in the U.S. has declined over the past three years due to the large increase in suicides and drug overdoses (webmd). The American Society for Clinical Oncology has stated that even moderate amounts of alcohol consumption in women can increase the risk of breast cancer and heighten the chances of esophageal cancer. This group of the country’s top physicians warns that heavy alcohol consumption is linked to mouth and throat cancer, liver cancer, voice box cancer, and colorectal cancer (addicted). Excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases, e.g., high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems, cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon, also learning and memory problems, dementia, mental health problems, depression, anxiety and alcohol dependence (CDC).
Many people rely on quick, processed foods for meals and snacks. Since these products often contain added sugar, it makes up a large proportion of their daily calorie intake. In the US, added sugars account for up to 17% of the total calorie intake of adults and up to 14% for children. Dietary guidelines suggest limiting calories from added sugar to less than 10% per day. Experts believe that sugar consumption is a major cause of obesity and many chronic diseases, such as diabetes. High sugar diets may also increase your risk of cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, obesity, inflammation and high triglyceride, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels (Healthline). Consumption of the sweetener, high fructose corn syrup, may lead to fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetes, inflammation, heart disease, and cancer. Consuming high fructose corn syrup also increases your hunger and desire for food (Heathline).
Perhaps this information may help you to live a better and longer life. Not intended as medical advice. For informational purposes only. by Larry Kuka (12/19/19)