Tag Archives: Celebrities

Taking the “Angelina Jolie Effect” a Step Further to Prevent Cancer

Last week, Angelina Jolie wrote movingly of her decision to reduce her risk of cancer by opting for preventive surgery. While few of us will ever have to stare an 87 percent risk of cancer in the face, as Jolie did, the unfortunate truth is that at some point in our lives, many of us—nearly one in two men and one in three women—will develop cancer. Whether we carry the BRCA1 gene mutation or not, we can all learn from Jolie’s thoughtful, proactive approach.

As a doctor, I want people to know that they already wield some of the most powerful tools to help take control over the risk of cancer:  the fork and knife. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, diet and lifestyle changes could prevent up to one-third of U.S. cancer cases.

In 2014, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition published research my colleagues and I conducted showing that with so much evidence pointing toward a link between dietary choices and certain types of cancer, we ought to apply the precautionary principle to the foods we eat and avoid the products likely to cause the most harm.

precautionary principle

For the most part, that means animal products. Consuming just one serving of processed meat per day can up the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent, while drinking two glasses of milk per day can increase the risk of prostate cancer by a staggering 60 percent.

In fact, regularly consuming animal protein can quadruple the risk of dying from cancer – making dietary choices just as deadly as smoking.

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. By favoring plant-based foods—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes—we can dramatically minimize the risk for various types of cancer. For example, one recent study found that vegetarians can reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer by 22 percent. Another study shows that women who consume the most carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables—including carrots and sweet potatoes—reduce the risk for breast cancer by about 19 percent. And compared with those who consume meat and dairy products, women who follow plant-based diets have a 34 percent decreased risk for specific cancers including breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers.                                                                                  

Like Jolie said, we can never fully eradicate the risk of developing cancer. But that doesn’t mean we should sit around and wait. Learning about our risk factors and options is a good place to start in taking a proactive, precautionary step forward.

Kale by the Pound: Beyoncé Promotes Plant-Based Foods

kale-beyonce2

How does Beyoncé wake up like that? She loves vegan food! Earlier today, the singer announced her partnership with 22 Days Nutrition’s plant-based home delivery meal service. And it’s not the first time she’s raved about the power of plants. Over the past year, Beyoncé has thrived on multiple vegan challenges and has helped push plant-based diets into the spotlight. On Instagram alone, she’s inspired more than 24 million fans with photos of colorful vegetable stir fries, nutrient-packed leafy green salads, and creative breakfast berry tortillas.

Research shows that when celebrities talk, people listen. By using her platform to show others how easy and appealing it can be to follow a plant-based diet, Beyoncé is helping to spread a message that will save lives.

Around the world, more than 1.4 billion adults are now overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other lifestyle-related diseases are ravaging our health care system.

Fortunately, plant-based diets can help. Research shows that diets centered on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes have the power to prevent, and sometimes even reverse, serious chronic diseases.  In recent studies, plant-based diets have proven effective at reversing heart disease, boosting brain health, treating type 2 diabetes, reducing migraine pain, and leading to the most weight loss when compared to other diets. Plant-based diets can even help keep energy levels up and stress levels down.

And even if you thought you’d be weak without meat, you’ll be stronger: Studies show that plant-based diets can strengthen your bones and reduce the risk for hip fractures.

Eating a vegan diet rich in vegetables can also keep you looking flawless by making your skin glow and keeping acne at bay.

beyonce-vegan2

With such all-encompassing benefits, it’s no wonder that plant-based diets are taking center stage in 2015. Like Beyoncé, celebrities including Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande are raving about the power of plants. Public figures like Sen. Cory Booker are touting the many benefits of vegan diets, while entire cities are challenging themselves to eat plants to get healthier. More and more schools are taking meat off the menu by adopting Meatless Mondays, while MUSE School CA in Calabasas, Calif., is set to become the nation’s first vegan school later this year. Prominent doctors, like Kim Williams, M.D., president-elect of the American College of Cardiology, are now prescribing plants to their patients, while famed chefs are revamping their menus to move vegetables to the center of the plate.

Who runs the world? In 2015, the answer may very well be vegans!

 

Do a World of Good by Quitting Meat

cowspiracy

As a doctor, I focus on removing meat and dairy products from the diet for disease prevention, but many folks choose to eschew meat to reduce their carbon footprint. Just as we can no longer ignore food’s impact on our own health, we can’t ignore food’s role in climate change either.

For your eco-conscious friends who still chow down on cheeseburgers, there’s a new documentary emphasizing the meat industry’s global environmental impact. Cowspiracy slams home the fact that meat production is the number-one source of greenhouse gases and deforestation. And while parts of the United States are facing a drought, it takes 660 gallons of water to produce a single hamburger.

Al Gore, Bill Gates, and James Cameron have all been decidedly outspoken about how meat production and consumption affect both health and the environment. Research shows that animal products are bad for humans—leading to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Moving meat products off your plate—for whatever reason— will have a lasting impact on your own health and the environment.

Last updated by at .