It is common knowledge that eating healthy is conducive to our well-being, including our natural aging process. But can adherence to a vegetarian diet actually add to our life span? One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found evidence that vegetarians have a slightly better chance at living longer than omnivores. At the least, the findings confirm that people who eat mostly plant-based foods are less likely to develop chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and certain forms of cancer.
Especially in the warm weather season, it is crucially important to be vigilant about how our food is stored and handled. Each year, more than 76 million Americans succumb to foodborne illnesses, affecting all age, ethnic and income groups. Although we are quick to blame restaurants and food companies for causing these sometimes serious health hazards, it is also our responsibility as consumers to take the necessary precautions.
“Eat your fruits and vegetables” is not only your mother’s advice for your nutritional health but also the core message of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the official recommendations by the United States government for how its citizens should eat to stay healthy and slim. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may also reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Unfortunately, many of the enormously valuable characteristics of the fruits and vegetables we commonly consume today have been diminished or altogether lost over time due to modern breeding and farming methods.
Eat more plants. That’s the simple advice coming from everyone’s lips, from best-selling authors like Michael Pollan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For the first time, the nutrition establishment – including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), registered dietitians, and researchers and academics in the field of nutrition – is in agreement that the diet prescription for optimal health and well-being is one focusing on whole plants.
Most Americans aren’t getting healthier despite of easy access to information about health and lifestyle matters, according to the latest findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Weight problems continue to plague large parts of the population, resulting in a host of chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Smoking and alcohol consumption add to the concerns, as does the prevalence of physical inactivity.
For many generations, immigrants from all over the world have come to the United States hoping for greater opportunities and better living conditions compared to their home countries. Tales of rags to riches are a solid part of our national narrative and are told in countless versions, often laden with romanticizing overtones. But historically speaking, this has always been the exception rather than the rule. With growing income inequality over the past few decades, the notion of the American dream for all has lost ever more of its luster. Becoming an American nowadays may not only disappoint you in terms of your socio-economic prospects, it may even be bad for your health, according to several recent studies on the subject.