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Plant Based Diet Can Cut Your Odds of Needing Medication in Half

By Michael Greger M.D.
March 1, 2012
File under: Health Concerns, Healthy Eating, Vegan

The Adventist Health Studies offer some of the best science on the impacts of the plant-based diet on health and longevity.

Based in California, they include both the longest running study of vegetarians in history as well as the largest contingent of vegans.

Most of the attention on the benefits of plant-based eating, thus far have focused on reduced rates of many of the top killers, such as heart disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.

The Adventist Health Study, which began back in 1974 offered insight into how broadly the potential health benefits of consuming a plant-based diet may extend.

My video, Preventing Allergies in Adulthood, a follow-up to Preventing Childhood Allergies presented findings from the Adventist Health Study.

The researchers found that women eating a plant-based diet had a 30 percent lower chance of reporting chemical allergies, 24 percent less asthma, 17 percent less drug and bee-sting allergies and 15 percent less hay fever.

Men eating plant-based however appeared to only have a lower risk of chemical and drug allergies.

This was cross-sectional data, meaning it was just a slice in time, so we don’t necessarily know which came first. Still, after adjusting for other factors such as smoking, the findings do suggest a favorable effect of a plant-based diet on the prevalence of allergies.

In Say No To Drugs By Saying Yes To More Plants, I presented more findings from the Adventist Health Study. The lower rates of disease found in those eating a plant-based diet appear to translate into fewer surgeries (from hysterectomies to varicose veins) and fewer medications.

Compared to meat-eating controls, those eating vegetarian had only about half the odds of being on aspirin, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, antacids, painkillers, blood pressure medications, laxatives and insulin.

So if you are like most people and don’t like being dependent on drugs, don’t like paying for drugs and don’t like all the side effects, you may be able to cut your odds of needing medications in half by choosing to eat a more plant-based diet.

Michael Greger, M.D., an author and internationally recognized speaker on healthy eating, has produced hundreds of nutrition videos available at Follow Dr. Greger on Twitter

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