Can disease be prevented and reversed
Some people “Live to Eat” and some “Eat to Live”. There is a difference. Eating good food is priority to many, whereas, there are people who just eat to survive and are not too much concerned about the taste. It is evident that the food we eat and the occurrence of diseases is directly proportional. So, if we want to control the disease, we need to focus on the source of nutrition of our body, which is our food. We all have our own personal favorites while choosing food, at the same time we want to prevent ourselves from many chronic diseases. We don’t really foresee the dangerous effects of food that our body goes through, unless it is presented as a disease symptom. If people could foresee the side effects caused in the body for the choice of our food, most of the world’s population would opt for a plant-based whole food diet.
A research study shows that the diseases have a direct link to the guts. The food that we eat may cause gut dysbiosis, resulting in reduced number of gut microbiome. Animal-based foods, processed foods, and low-fiber foods may be harmful for the gut microbiome. However, this effect can be reversed by adopting the plant-based diet. However the extent of the dietary responses may vary because of variation in genetics and wide variation of gut microbiome. The study suggested present era as a new start for food as a potential therapy.
Effects of plant-based whole food diet on coronary artery diseases:
Plant-based diet has a role in preventing and reversing coronary artery disease (CAD) as well. A study was conducted on 198 patients with cardiac problems. The patients who were interested were given counseling on switching to a plant-based diet. Only those who adhered to the clause (which means the participants should eliminate dairy, fish, meat and added oil) were further included in the study. Out of the 198 patients, 177 (89%) were adherent to the clause. Among these participants, the incidence of major cardiac events was found to be 1 incident of stroke whereas, the rest of the non participants experienced adverse effects of CVD (Cardio vascular diseases). This study suggests that if the patients with CVD follow lifestyle modification with plant-based whole food diet, the risk associated with CVD can be avoided. However, this dietary approach to treatment for CVD should be tested to confirm if the sustained adherence to plant-based diet can be achieved for a larger population, preventing the associated risk with CVD.
Benefits of plant-based diet in other chronic diseases
Diet is an essential factor and the major cause for metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease. The research suggests the ability of certain food to reverse and prevent the pathogenic progression of the diseases. Red raspberries (Rubus idaeus L.) are rich in nutrient and have bioactive composition. They are rich in polyphenolic components, especially ellagitannins and anthocyanins, essential micronutrients and dietary fibers. Studies suggest that red raspberries could reverse metabolically associated pathogenic processes associated with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, obesity and Alzheimer disease. The majority of these diseases have metabolic and oxidative and inflammatory links.
Benefits of plant-based diet in diabetes mellitus
Dietary treatment for reversal of Type 2 Diabetes shows remarkable results for highly motivated patients who sustained with plant-based diet for 8 week. The patients were on trial for a period of 8 weeks. The patients were given a very low energy diet intervention. They sustained through this diet as it helped in weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and increased physical and psychological well-being.
It is found that the rate of reversibility of type 2 diabetes mellitus is higher among the young adults. A total of 32 newly diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes mellitus were considered for the study. They were treated with metformin (1000-2000g) in addition to intensive lifestyle therapy (ILT) which includes a low calorie diet (1500kcal/day) and brisk walk for 1 hour per day. It is evident that the fasting blood glucose level was less than 126mg/dl and HbA1C was less that 6.5%. The dose of medicine was reduced or stopped and the patients were followed for a minimum period of 2 years. So to reverse the diabetes in young adults, ILT might be very successful.
Plant-based diet to reverse cancer:
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum), a naturally occurring edible spice, has anticancer properties because of its active beneficial chemical constituents. It kills human breast cancer cells through an apoptotic pathway.
Research shows that components of plant-based food like soy phytoestrogens have a protective effect on prostate cancer and is helpful in stopping the progression of the disease.
It is found that pectin, which an important dietary component of potato is, have the ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in colon cancer.
Plant-based diet in chronic kidney diseases:
National Kidney Foundation recommends plant-based diet to patients with CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease). Plant-based protein has beneficial effects on blood pressure, proteinuria and glomerular filtration rate; therefore it reduces renal tissue damage in CKD patients. Plant-based diet also helps to reduce uremic toxicity, decrease proteinuria, maintains nutritional status and reduces the rate of progression of kidney failure.
The research studies mentioned in the article shows that there is a possibility to reverse the chronic diseases which mainly occurs due to unhealthy lifestyle and food habits. Intensive counseling on plant-based whole food diet and lifestyle modifications may help us to reduce the risks and reverse the chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer.
Sarathi V et al. High rates of diabetes reversal in newly diagnosed Asian Indian young adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus with intensive lifestyle therapy. J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2017 Jan-Jun;8(1):60-63.
Cheng H et al.The inhibitory effects and mechanisms of rhamnogalacturonan I pectin from potato on HT-29 colon cancer cell proliferation and cell cycle progression. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2013 Feb;64(1):36-43.