Category Archives: Health

Osteoarthritis – A plant-based diet can help

Osteoarthritic hip joint

Do your joints hurt? Maybe you have osteoarthritis? The good news is that a plant-based diet may be able to help.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine. Osteoarthritis has often been referred to as a “wear and tear” disease. But besides the breakdown of cartilage, osteoarthritis affects the entire joint. It causes changes in the bone and deterioration of the connective tissues that hold the joint together and attach muscle to bone. It also causes inflammation of the joint lining.

Vegetarians have a lower risk of osteoarthritis. One study showed that even light meat consumption once a week increased the risk of osteoarthritis by 31% in women and 19% in men, compared to vegetarians.

People already diagnosed with arthritis can take steps to improve their diet quality as a possible route to reduce arthritis symptoms and maintain a healthy body weight. In one study, a whole food plant-based diet was associated with a significant reduction in pain compared to an ordinary omnivorous diet, with statistically significant pain reduction seen as early as two weeks after initiation of dietary modification.

The plant-based diet is thought to help in many ways. It helps maintain a healthy weight and lowers the level of inflammation. Plant foods also contain phytonutrients that help reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Phytonutrients are substances, only found in plants, that while not vitamins, minerals or fiber, nevertheless can have a powerful benefit when it comes to health. Certain foods such as green peppers, cabbage, spinach, papaya and kiwi fruit have higher levels of phytonutrients that may help arthritis, while blueberries and strawberries have may also be of special value.

Giving up animal products, such as meat, fish, dairy and eggs, and replacing them with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, may be just what you need to feel limber again!

Vegan Men Got Testosterone!

OK, gentlemen listen up! Vegans have just as much testosterone as meat eaters! Images of burly cavemen bringing home meat may have men thinking that steaks and burgers are key to masculinity, but it’s just not true.  According to the lead doctor in the latest medical research conducted at the Miami University medical school, “The old idea that men needed to consume a traditional diet with plenty of meat to have a healthy testosterone level was based on pure conjecture, not based on evidence.” The latest study showed that vegans have as much testosterone as meat eaters. This was even true of vegans who eat a lot of junk vegan food, although we think vegans should go easy on the junk food for other health reasons. 

While this research may be the latest to show that vegan men have as much testosterone as others, it’s not the first. Back in 2000, doctors at Oxford University found that not only did vegans have enough testosterone, but that they even had a little more than meat eaters. Going even further back, doctors at Oxford in 1990 also found that vegans had just as much testosterone as meat eaters. Take special note: consuming soy does not affect testosterone levels.

Testosterone is the primary male hormone and is responsible for the development of primary sexual development, which includes testicular descent, sperm formation, enlargement of the penis and testes, and increasing libido. Testosterone is also involved in regulating secondary male characteristics, which are those responsible for masculinity. These secondary sex characteristics include male hair patterns, vocal changes, and voice deepening, anabolic effects which include growth spurts in puberty and skeletal muscle growth.

There’s more good news. Testosterone is important in having erections. Besides having plenty of testosterone, following a vegan diet confers other advantages when it comes to erectile dysfunction.

Heart Disease – No. 1 cause of death

Artery scanning

Dr Chan Hwang scans the carotid artery of a Vegfest attendee.

Heart disease is still the number one cause of death for both men and women. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. A plant-based diet can reduce your risk of a heart attack by 40%. If you wish your doctor knew about this, we want you to know that we do too! That’s why we wrote a letter to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. They published an Expert Consensus Decision Pathway on the role of non-statin therapies for lowering LDL Cholesterol, but they “forgot” to include the plant-based diet!  We told them about their omission, and we published it as an open letter, complete with references to all the latest research on the topic. Read more

New flu from pigs

Pigs confinedWhat if we stopped raising pigs?  Easy answer: we would stop the swine flu.

We pay a very high price from raising pigs and, of course, the pigs do as well. A big part of that price is the swine flu. U.S. health officials are tracking a newly discovered strain of swine flu in China they say has the characteristics of viruses with potential to cause another human pandemic. Although the virus has not yet been detected in the U.S. or shown human to human transition, doctors have reason to worry it could spell trouble.

Here’s why they’re worried. The new virus appears to grow well in the cells lining the human airway, and possesses all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans, according to a recent study.

Pigs are considered as important hosts or “mixing vessels” for the generation of pandemic influenza viruses. Systematic surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs is essential for early warning and preparedness for the next potential pandemic.

The virus, which scientists are calling G4 EA H1N1 is exhibiting “reassortment capabilities.” When you get a brand new virus that turns out to be a pandemic virus, it’s either due to mutations and/or the reassortment or exchanges of genes. This virus has characteristics of the 2009 H1N1 virus, and of the original 1918 Flu which some other flu viruses have, as well as segments from pigs.  The H1N1 swine flu and 1918 pandemic flu were both considered very dangerous viruses that spread across the globe.

Most pigs are raised in very harsh over crowded conditions on what’s known as factory farms. But if we didn’t raise pigs, almost all the threat of swine flu would disappear. How many people could be saved from sickness and death? Is bacon really worth all the suffering and death?  Learn more about the flu and how it arises on factory chicken and pig farms.

Better future for Black health

doctor with patientMany people in the US are worried and upset about the life experience of blacks in America at the moment. And while attention is very understandably drawn to the abuse of their civil rights, there’s another problem that shouldn’t be forgotten. Black people face an increased risk for a number of chronic diseases.

Blacks in America have a 50% higher risk of obesity, 70% higher risk of type 2 diabetes, 40% higher prevalence of hypertension, a 25% increased risk of stroke, and 4 times the risk of kidney disease requiring dialysis. They also have a 75% higher risk of dying from a heart attack and a 10% increased risk of dying from cancer. Read more

Covid-19 adds to stress on slaughterhouse workers

Meat packers Covid

COVID-19 is having a big impact on slaughterhouse workers, whose job is already considered the most dangerous in the country.  The rate of slaughterhouse worker injury is now triple that of other manufacturing and processing jobs. Slaughterhouse worker injuries run the gamut of everything from repetitive motion injuries, to serious cuts and amputations, to a high incidence of certain cancers and autoimmune diseases that are strongly associated with handling meat. Human Rights Watch concludes that slaughterhouse workers have the most dangerous job in America, and even the US Government Accountable Office (USGAO) says that they face much greater risks than other workers. Read more

Preventing stroke with a vegetarian diet

Stroke prevention

More good news about the benefits of a plant-based diet!  A new study shows that following vegetarian diet reduces the risk of stroke. We’ve been reporting on the many health benefits of vegetarian diets for lowering the risk of disease such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer and colon cancer. We can now add reducing the risk of stroke to the growing list.  This is important since stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for Americans. Read more

Close the wet markets!

Wet market

Close the wet markets! Doctor Anthony Fauci says that there should be a global shut down of wet markets. Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and is considered by many to be the world’s top expert on infectious disease.  He is a chief medical advisor on the president’s coronavirus taskforce.

Wet markets, common in China and other south Asian countries, sell live poultry, fish, reptiles, and mammals of every kind. Add the daily human contacts (including children) with the live animals, and conditions are optimal for the transfer of infectious disease agents that can make sick or even kill humans, as we explained last month. Read more

Plant-based diet lowers risk of severe COVID-19

Coronavirus ward - low res

Based on preliminary U.S. data, persons with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic kidney disease, have a higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease than persons without these conditions. For instance, in New York 86% of all deaths so far have been among people who had underlying illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease, new state data shows.

This is where following a plant-based diet can offer a big advantage. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes by 78% and is over twice as effective in treating type 2 diabetes as the leading drug, metformin. Meanwhile a plant based diet can lower the risk of heart disease by 40% and relieves the pain of angina 91%. Those following a plant based diet have a 75% reduced risk of chronic kidney disease and can avoid needing dialysis.

By having lower risks of these diseases, people can expect a lower risk of severe COVID 19.

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