Add Life to Your Years - And Years to Your Life!
Two Big Takeaways
First, the results come from changing from a primarily meat and processed food diet to a predominantly whole food plant-based diet. It did not measure the number of years that a 100% whole food plant-based diet would add to the life expectancy of someone currently eating a standard American diet. Based on the body of scientific evidence now available, we would have to assume that people eating a strict vegan diet are likely to do even better. However, you don’t have to be a strict vegan to add years to your life at any age.
The second takeaway is an important point to remember – the added years come from decreasing the amount of processed food and not just red meat. Vegan junk food, including cookies, bars, chips, and other highly processed foods, add back unhealthy saturated fat, salt, and sugar, reducing the benefit. Think French fries and fried donuts. Also, read the label for ingredients with things like commercially processed meat substitutes.
Key Lifestyle Changes
Aside from risky habits like smoking, the growing scientific consensus is that what we eat has the greatest impact on health for most of us, but what are the next two biggest opportunities to live longer and enjoy the extra time?
- Some form of daily exercise is a huge opportunity to increase physical and emotional health. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, just regular and even better if it is an activity you enjoy.
- Getting enough sleep is also high on the list to maintain vitality, a strong immune system, and mental clarity.
Many of us who eat vegan or a predominantly whole plant-based diet also experience more life in our years – more energy, resilience, joy, self-compassion, and compassion for all life on our planet.