Uploaded on Sep 24, 2010
After undergoing heart surgery back in February, former President Bill Clinton has adopted a healthier lifestyle. In a recent interview with CNN Bill Clinton talked about his plant-based, vegan diet and recent weight loss.
"I live of off beans, legumes, vegetables and fruits. It has completely changed my metabolism. I've lost 24 lbs and I weigh about what I did in high school," says Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton says his diet does not include any meat or dairy. Clinton drinks a glass of almond milk mixed with fruit and a protein powder supplement every morning.
What made him go vegan? Clinton has read many books on the topic, including books by T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish.
A Short Historical Perspective on Vegetarian Diets
In the past, many viewed vegetarianism as strange and faddish but appropriately planned vegetarian diets are now recognized by many, including the American Dietetic Association, as being nutritionally adequate, and providing healthful benefits in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases .
Choosing a nonvegetarian lifestyle has a significant health and medical cost. The total direct medical costs in the United States attributable to meat consumption were estimated to be $60-80 billion a year, based upon the higher prevalence of hypertension, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, gallstones, obesity and food-borne illness among omnivores compared with vegetarians .
A large body of scientific literature suggests that the consumption of a diet of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, and fruits, with the avoidance of meat and high-fat animal products, along with a regular exercise program is consistently associated with lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, less obesity and consequently less heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and mortality . In African-Americans, the frequent consumption of nuts, fruits and green salads was associated with 35-44 percent lower risk of overall mortality.
A vegetarian diet is distinguished from an omnivorous diet by its content of dry beans and lentils. These take the place of meat and fish as the major source of protein. And there are so many different kinds of beans you can choose from - kidney, lima, pinto, cranberry, navy, Great Northern, garbanzo, soy beans, and black-eyed peas.
Soy protein contains isoflavones, such as genistein and daidzein, that act as phytoestrogens and inhibit tumor growth, lower blood cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of blood clots, and diminish bone loss. These benefits clearly translate into a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and osteoporosis.
A major report published by the World Cancer Research Fund in 1997 recommended we lower our risk of cancer by choosing predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes and minimally processed starchy staple foods, and to limit the intake of grilled, cured and smoked meats and fish. These methods of preparing meat produce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines which are carcinogenic .
About three dozen plant foods have been identified as possessing cancer-protective properties. These include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower), umbelliferous vegetables and herbs (carrots, celery, cilantro, caraway, dill, parsley), other fruits and vegetables (citrus, tomatoes, cucumber, grapes, cantaloupe, berries), beans (soybeans), whole grains (brown rice, oats, whole wheat), flaxseed, many nuts, and various seasoning herbs (garlic, scallions, onions, chives, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, and basil.
Lifelong vegetarians had a 24 percent lower incidence and lifelong vegans (those who eat no eggs or dairy products) had a 57 percent lower incidence of coronary heart disease compared to meat eaters. Healthy volunteers who consumed a vegetarian diet that was rich in green, leafy vegetables and other low-calorie vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, celery, green beans, etc.), fruits, nuts, sweet corn and peas experienced after two weeks decreases of 25, 33, 20 and 21 percent in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total/HDL cholesterol ratio, respectively .
Various factors exist in fruits and vegetables that provide possible protection against cardiovascular disease. These factors include folic acid, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, carotenoids, phytosterols, flavonoids, and other polyphenolic antioxidants.
Stroke and Diabetes
Data from many studies supports a protective relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of ischemic stroke . Cruciferous and green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits were the most protective.
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