Many people have at least one superstition that influences their behavior or well-being. But finding a heads-up penny from the year you were born won’t increase your longevity or reduce the risk of disease if you’re not eating a healthful diet.
A low-fat, plant-based diet is associated with lower risks of heart disease and diabetes. However, a recent study from the American Institute for Cancer Research shows that fewer than half of Americans know that a diet high in plant-based foods can reduce cancer risk. And despite the mountain of evidence showing a link between red and processed meat and colorectal cancer, only 35 percent of Americans are aware of the risks that come with eating hot dogs and bacon.
Superstitions can be murky, but the science is clear. Here are some studies published within the past three months that link plant-based diets to disease prevention:
Vegetarian Diet Protects Against Colorectal Cancer
Vegetarian Diet Leads to Weight Loss
Whole Grains Protect Against Heart Disease
Vegetarian Diet Reduces the Risk of Heart Attack
Plant-Based Diet Reverses Angina
Plant-Based Diets Lower Risk of Heart Disease in Obese Children
High-Fiber Diets Increase Lifespan
Good health isn’t just dumb luck. Fortunately, we can empower ourselves with the knowledge that we can influence our risk of disease. Just fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Turns out that all those years of milk and cookies haven’t been doing Santa any favors. This year, he’s finally breaking his silence and letting the world know that he is lactose intolerant.
Up to 65 percent of people in the world are unable to digest lactose, with that number rising to 90 percent within certain ethnic groups. Data show that approximately 79 percent of Native Americans are lactose intolerant. So are 75 percent of African Americans and more than 50 percent of Hispanics. Asians have a 90 percent statistic of lactose intolerance. Some say that, prior to moving to the North Pole, Santa Claus used to be Saint Nicholas, a Greek bishop. Since there is a lactose intolerance rate of 75 percent among people of Greek descent, it’s no surprise that Santa wants to ditch the dairy.
Consuming dairy products can actually have worse consequences than ending up on Santa’s naughty list. Just two and a half servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese per day can increase the risk of prostate cancer by 34 percent. Mrs. Claus would also benefit from switching to plant milk, since dairy milk consumption has been linked to breast and ovarian cancer, with dairy products contributing up to 70 percent of the estrogen intake in the Western diet. A 2012 study debunked the idea of milk building strong bones. Researchers found that active girls who consumed the most dairy double their risk of bone fracture than girls who consumed less dairy. The study linked good bone health with vitamin D consumption—a nutrient not naturally found in dairy products.
The saturated fat and cholesterol in dairy also contribute to heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. Trying to lower fat intake by switching to skim adds a new complication—sugar. One cup of skim milk has just about as much sugar as five Hershey’s Kisses.
Instead of leaving Santa a glass of dairy milk, why not try an energizing green smoothie? Not only is the color more seasonally appropriate, a green smoothie is packed with fiber and antioxidants to keep Santa feeling full between rooftops.
One of these a day can keep the doctor away!
Planning your Halloween menu? Here are some facts you might share with your friends:
Rigor mortis, the stiffening of a corpse shortly after death, is a key aspect of the meat industry. Yes, meat comes from a corpse, and dead cows, chickens, pigs, and other animals develop rigor mortis, just as dead humans do. Meat scientists actually measure rigor mortis with a device aptly named a rigorometer, which quantifies the stiffness of muscle tissues in the hours after death.
Rigor mortis makes meat tough. So, to soften stiffening corpses, many slaughterhouses, especially those slaughtering cows and lambs, apply electrical current, causing the muscles to repeatedly contract and relax, which prevents the shortening of the muscle fibers. That way, corpses are easier to eat.
If that image is off-putting, the good news is that certain foods never get rigor mortis. Instead of chicken fingers, leg of lamb, and baby back ribs for your Halloween buffet, how about serving butternut soup, chunky vegetable chili, and rigatoni with vegetables. These are treats without the tricks!