China has seen a drastic shift from a traditional plant-based diet (high in carbohydrates and fiber) to a Westernized diet increasingly composed of animal foods. A study following men from rural China transitioning to life in the US found dramatic increases in prostate cancer risk, thought due in part to the dietary change. It has been observed that African American men have a prostate cancer prevalence 120 times that of men in rural China, a figure that could in part be attributed to the traditional, more plant-based Chinese diet. Rates of diabetes in China have also skyrocketed with the introduction of a more Western diet.
Rural Chinese populations regularly reveal extraordinarily low blood pressures. Ancient Chinese herbal medicines used natural components such as those found in green tea, which pharmaceutical companies are trying to replicate to create modern drugs.
A lot of nutritional research comes out of China. For example, Chinese researchers showed that Vitamin B12 may be essential for good arterial health and that of all animal products, insects may be the most nutritional option—a decision echoed by the United Nations. The famous Oxford-Cornell-China Study revealed the potential for decreased inflammation (including arthritis), decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and coronary artery disease if a whole food plant-based diet is adopted.
Topic summary contributed by Daniel.