The scientific research behind wholegrain plant-based diets
The Science behind Wholegrain Plant-Based Diets
It's universally acknowledged and agreed upon, that a diet rich in wholegrain, plant-based foods in vital for overall health, wellbeing, disease prevention and recovery. In fact, it's the one key thing that all dieticians, nutritionists, medical professionals and scientists agree on, when it comes to healthy diets. What many don't realise is the true extent of the power of food.
It extends far beyond simply losing weight, feeling good and sleeping well. Our food choices are one of the most powerful and influential ways for us to successfully manage our health, fight off, recover from and prevent disease.
Only in the last 30 years or so, has science based research really begun on the relationship between wholegrain plant-based foods and their influence on the body's disease fighting potential.
Here are some of the most notable studies and findings:
The China Study in the 1980s was the first, largest and to this day, the only, known epidemical study done on humans linking disease to diet and lifestyle. This epic study involving T Colin Campbell, a Biochemist, comprehensively linked plant-based diets to a dramatically lowered incidence of many different forms of cancer, as well as the observation of lower levels of estrogen in females.
William Li, MD shows that the Angiogenesis system (producing new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels) if not working at its optimal level, can cause cancer. He noted that adopting a diet to include a broad and varied range of wholegrains, fruit and vegetables would keep the complex Angiogenesis system functioning at its optimum level. He showed that microscopic cancer cells can be starved through eating a rich and varied plant based diet containing natural angiogenesis inhibitors. This was huge news and resulted in many questioning the medical and pharmaceutical industry's standing, with more holistic and nutrition based focus coming to the forefront.
Dean Ornish, MD noted through a randomised trial of prostate cancer and heart disease that diets comprised of plant based foods inhibited and indeed also reduced tumour growth by up to 70%.
In a separate study, Dr Rui Hai shows the scientific evidence that the humble apple has to both inhibit and slow tumours in animals. He states that there are 8000 bio active compounds found in an apple, that work together to help with cancer prevention. This study brought the focus back to the power of plant based nutrition, something that a supplement or vitamin would never be able to emulate.
When Neal D. Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C did numerous studies to measure weight loss and insulin sensitivity involving people with Diabetes, the subjects' diet was adjusted to include wholegrain plant based food, low glycaemic index food, reduced oil and no animal products.
The findings were truly ground breaking. It was found that positive healthful changes around insulin sensitivity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and desired weight loss were all observed when participants adopted this plant based diet. Blood sugar reduced rapidly and it was even stated that the plant based diets could be more effective overall than the medication. This is also in part due to the fact that the plant based diet resolved many of the other contributing factors to Diabetes, whereas the medication served to maintain levels in check and treat symptoms.
In a separate study, Dr David Jenkins developed the Glycaemic Index, which is a way of looking at the quality of the carbohydrate content of a particular food source. "High glycaemic" foods cause a high and rapid rise of blood glucose levels, which can also be an indication of impaired insulin sensitivity.
All of the above science based research findings serve to confirm, bolster and support the wholegrain plant-based movement.
Campbell TC, Campbell TM. The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health. Dallas, TX, BenBella Books. 2006
Li WW, Li VW, Hutnik M, Chiou AS. Tumor angiogenesis as a target for dietary cancer prevention. J Oncol. 2012; 2012: 1-23.
Ornish D, Lin J, Chan JM, Epel E, et al. Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow up of a descriptive pilot study. The Lancet Oncology. 2013; 14(11): 1112-1120.
Ornish D, Magbanua MJM, Weidner G, Weinberg V, et al. Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2008 Jun 17; 105(24): 8369-8374.
Ornish D, Weidner G, Fair WR, Marlin R, et al. Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer. J Urol. 2005; 174: 1065-1070.
Boyer J, Liu RH. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr J. 2004; 3(5).
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