Despite the wealth of information and opinions, few really know what to do to improve health. The results of the most extensive study of the relationship between nutrition and health show that animal protein is a powerful carcinogen, influencing the metabolic processes of our body. And whole plant foods are the most beneficial for our kidneys, bones, eyes and brain.
Below are the main conclusions of Colin Campbell, the author of the bestseller “Chinese study”.
Keep the cholesterol under control
Blood cholesterol levels rise with increased consumption of meat, milk, eggs, fish, fats and animal proteins.
Blood cholesterol levels decrease as food and plant nutrients, including plant proteins, dietary fiber, cellulose, hemicellulose, soluble carbohydrates, plant vitamin B (carotene, B2, B3), legumes, light-coloured vegetables, fruits, carrots, potatoes and some cereals, increase in consumption.
Although fibre is not digested by the body, it is important for health. It helps to move the water contained in the body into the intestine to help move food through it. In addition, eating enough fibre reduces blood cholesterol levels.
Undigested fibre, like adhesive tape, also collects and removes harmful chemicals that enter the intestine and can be carcinogenic. If we do not use enough fibre, we are at risk of constipation-related diseases. These include colon cancer, diverticulosis, hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
Food fiber is found exclusively in plant foods. Fiber-rich foods include legumes, leafy vegetables and wholemeal products such as wheat and corn.
Eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates
Unfortunately, most people consume an extremely large number of simple, purified carbohydrates and very few complex ones.
There is a great deal of scientific evidence that the healthiest diet is carbohydrate-rich. There is evidence that it contributes to the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, prevents many chronic diseases, and there are many examples that it helps to significantly reduce weight. But it’s not that simple.
At least 99% of the carbohydrates we consume come from fruits, vegetables and cereal products. When this food is consumed in its raw, unrefined and natural form, a significant proportion of the carbohydrates are in so-called complex forms.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are highly processed and refined carbohydrates that are free of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Typical simple carbohydrates are found in foods such as white bread; processed snacks such as crackers and chips made from premium flour; sweets, including baked goods and chocolate bars; and sugary soft drinks.
These highly purified carbohydrates are derived from cereal products or sugar-containing plants, such as cane or beet. They are easily broken down during digestion into simple carbohydrates that are absorbed by the body and supply blood with sugar or glucose.
Eat an apple, zucchini or a plate of brown rice with beans or other vegetables.
“Can’t be stored” or eat less fat and animal proteins
The truth is this: despite any restrictions on calorie intake for a short period of time, our body through various mechanisms will eventually decide for itself how many calories to absorb and what to do with them.
When we treat him well with the right food, he knows how to make sure that these calories are not used to form body fat, but to perform more desirable functions, such as warming the body, metabolism, maintaining and increasing physical activity, or simply to get rid of any excesses.
The body uses numerous complex mechanisms to decide how to use – store or burn – calories.
When eating high-protein and calorie fatty foods, instead of being used to warm the body, they begin to accumulate body fat (unless a significant reduction in calorie intake causes weight loss). Conversely, when eating low-protein and low-fat foods, calories are used to heat the body.
Saving more calories in the form of fat and reducing the loss of heat means more efficient body work. You’d rather have your body work a little less efficiently and turn calories into heat than fat, wouldn’t you?
Well, it’s enough to eat less fat and less animal protein.
Remember: it takes very little, only 50 kcal per day to change the process of accumulation of body fat in our body and, consequently, our weight.
Try a vegetable diet
The results of the China study indicate that the lower the animal’s share of the diet, the greater the health benefits – even when that share falls from 10 to 0% of calories.
A plant-based diet achieves an optimal calorie balance to control weight, for two reasons. First, calories are used to heat the body rather than to store them in body fat, and many calories are not needed to maintain this effect over the course of a year.
Second, a plant-based diet contributes to more physical activity. And because the body weight is reduced, the exercise is easier. The combined effect of diet and exercise is to reduce weight and improve overall health.
Whole foods containing complex carbohydrates, such as untreated fruits and vegetables, as well as whole cereal products, such as uncut brown rice and oatmeal, are very useful. Untreated carbohydrates, especially from fruits and vegetables, have an extremely beneficial effect on health.
Food such as peeled flour pasta, sweet flakes, white bread, candy and sugar-rich soft drinks should be avoided whenever possible.
Nutrition with whole plant foods is most beneficial for our kidneys, bones, eyes and brain.
Give yourself a month to change your daily diet. A month is not long enough to show all the long-term benefits of good nutrition, but it is enough to make sure of the following:
Vegetable food includes a lot of wonderful foods that otherwise you would never taste. You may not be able to eat anything you want (the desire to eat meat can last longer than a month), but you’ll have a lot of great, delicious food.
Some people get used to this kind of diet and they start to like it. Many people will need a few months to completely rebuild. But almost everyone realizes that it’s easier than they thought.
You will feel better. Even after only a month, most people start to feel more alert and usually lose some of their weight. Try to take a blood test before you go on a diet and a month later. You will probably notice a significant improvement even in such a short period of time.
Most importantly, you’ll find that this is possible. You may or may not like it, but at least in a month it will be clear: you can do it if you want to. The health benefits described in this book are not only for Tibetan monks and fanatical Spartans, but also for you.