If your car has an RPM gauge, you know that there is a red zone indicating that you have accelerated the engine to dangerous levels. Your immune system has such a gauge — inflammation. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system is trying too hard and starts attacking healthy tissue.
In a recent newsletter research from Penn State College of Medicine showed that Americans are, on average, consuming 2.5 times the quantity of the sulfur amino acid: methionine (Met). The culprit here is meat, where the concentration of this amino acid is quite high compared with plant-based diets. Study findings published in Cell Metabolism show that significant reduction in methionine consumption inhibits inflammation and autoimmune disorders.
The American story, and that of much of the developed world, is one of excess: too many grains, too much meat, too much processing. Reducing Met consumption to an appropriate level stops revving your immune system into the red zone. It is simply bringing your consumption of the sulfur amino acid back into balance.
A plant-based diet brings many things into balance! Proper variety of low sugar fruit, nut and vegetable consumption can provide sufficient amino acids, and also provides nutrient density (high concentration of vitamins and minerals). This has been verified by direct studies: in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association it was determined that vegans had a 22% overall lower death rate than non vegetarians in their surveyed group. Numerous studies show that a plant-based diet has many health benefits:
- Lower risk factors for heart and vascular diseases
- Better concentration of nutrients
- Excess weight loss
- Generally lower inflammation
- Reduced risk of many cancers, particularly colon cancer
- Reduced arthritis (due to lower inflammation and less revving up the immune system)
This list is not exhaustive. Simply put: a plant-based diet is much better balanced than meat-based!
Raw vs Cooked
While many studies tout the value of a plant-based diet, there is much less attention given to the value of a raw diet. In a study published in Food Chemistry, the antioxidant content of cooked and raw food was compared in broccoli. Cooked food lost:
- 72% phenolics
- 66% ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
- 65% overall loss of antioxidants
A Research Gate article found that cooking decreased ascorbic acid by 52%, decreased thiamin by 11% to 66%, and dropped ferric acid by 98%.
Sprouting, blending/juicing, and gentle dehydration are techniques for preserving the life value of food, concentrating and releasing some nutrients, and enhancing the flavor and variety of food choices. Consider these to enhance your options.
Dr. Nemec’s Comments:
This is yet another confirmation why plant based diets are better for your health. Not only does the excess methionine from animal protein cause more inflammation, but it is also associated with decreased longevity. In studies it has been shown that when methionine is restricted the laboratory animals live longer and get less cancer. You get the correct amount of all the required amino acids when you eat a plant based diet and no excess to drive inflammation and disease.