The Hispanic Paradox: Why do Latinos Live Longer?

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. This image has been modified.

What’s the Secret to Latino Longevity?

Latinos living in the United States tend to have “less education, a higher poverty rate, and worse access to health care” and “represent the ultimate paradigm of healthcare disparities,” with the highest rate of uninsured, lowest rates of health screening and counseling, and poorest levels of blood pressure and blood sugar control, as well as “other measures of deficient quality of care.” So they must have dismal public health statistics, right? According to the latest national data, the life expectancy of white men and women is 76 and 81 years, respectively, and that of black men and women is shorter by a handful of years. And Latinos? Amazingly, they beat out everyone.

Latinos live the longest.

This has been called the Hispanic Paradox (now also known as the Latino Paradox), which I explore in my video, The Hispanic Paradox: Why Do Latinos Live Longer?. Latinos have a 24 percent lower risk of premature death and “lower risks of nine of the leading 15 causes of death,” with notably less cancer and heart disease. This was first noticed 30 years ago but was understandably was met with great criticism. Maybe the data were unreliable? No, that didn’t seem to be it. Maybe only the healthiest people migrate? Turns out the opposite may be true. What about the “salmon bias” theory, which “proposes that Latinos return to their home country…to ‘die in their home’” so they aren’t counted in U.S. death statistics? That theory didn’t pan out either.

Systematic reviews “confirm the existence of a Hispanic Paradox.” Given the strong evidence, it may be time to accept it and move on to figuring out the cause. The very existence of the “Hispanic Paradox” could represent “a major opportunity to identify a protective factor for CVD [cardiovascular disease] applicable to the rest of the population.” After all, whatever is going on “is strong enough to overcome the disadvantageous effect” of poverty, language barriers, and low levels of education, health literacy, quality of healthcare, and insurance coverage. Before we get our hopes up too much, though, could it just be genetic? No. As foreign-born Latinos acculturate to the United States, as they embrace the American way of life, their mortality rates go up. So, what positive health behaviors may account for Latino longevity?

Perhaps they exercise more? No, Latinos appear to be even more sedentary. They do smoke less, however the paradox persists even after taking that into account. Could it be their diet? As they acculturate, they start eating more processed and animal-based foods, and consume fewer plant foods—and perhaps one plant food in particular: beans. Maybe a reason Latinos live longer is because they eat more beans. Although Latinos only represent about 10 percent of the population, they eat a third of the beans in the United States, individually eating four to five times more beans per capita, a few pounds a month as opposed to a few pounds per year. That may help explain the “Hispanic Paradox,” because legumes (beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils) cool down systemic inflammation.

In my video, you can see the mechanism researchers propose in terms of lung health. While cigarette smoking and air pollution cause lung inflammation, which increases the risk for emphysema and lung cancer, when we eat beans, the good bacteria in our gut take the fiber and resistant starch, and form small chain fatty acids that are absorbed back into our system and decrease systemic inflammation, which not only may inhibit lung cancer development, but also other cancers throughout the body. Latinos have the lowest rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer, and also tend to have lower rates of bladder cancer, throat cancer, and colorectal cancer for both men and women.

This “systemic inflammation” concept is also supported by the fact that when Latinos do get cardiovascular disease or lung, colon, or breast cancer, they have improved survival rates. Decreasing whole body inflammation may be important for both prevention and survival.

Asian Americans also appear to have some protection, which may be because they eat more beans, too, particularly in the form of tofu and other soy foods, as soy intake is associated with both preventing lung cancer and surviving it.

Hispanics also eat more corn, tomatoes, and chili peppers. A quarter of the diet in Mexico is made up of corn tortillas, and Mexican-Americans, whether born in Mexico or the United States, continue to eat more than the general population. Looking at cancer rates around the world, not only was bean consumption associated with less colon, breast, and prostate cancer, but consumption of rice and corn appeared protectively correlated, too.

Since NAFTA, though, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Mexican diet has changed to incorporate more soda and processed and animal foods, and their obesity rates are fast catching up to those in the United States.

In the United States, Latinos eat more fruits and vegetables than other groups, about six or seven servings a day, but still don’t even make the recommended minimum of nine daily servings, so their diet could stand some improvement. Yes, Hispanics may only have half the odds of dying from heart disease, but it’s “still the number one cause of death among Hispanics. Therefore, the current results should not be misinterpreted to mean that CVD is rare among Hispanics.” Ideally they’d be eating even more whole plant foods, but one thing everyone can learn from the Latino experience is that a shift toward a more plant-based diet in general can be a potent tool in the treatment and prevention of chronic disease.


Data like this support my Daily Dozen recommendation for eating legumes ideally at every meal, and we have free apps for both iPhone and Android that can help you meet these dietary goals.

For more on the wonders of beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils, see my videos and love your legumes!:

What’s the best way to eat them? See Canned Beans or Cooked Beans? and Cooked Beans or Sprouted Beans?.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


74 responses to “What’s the Secret to Latino Longevity?

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  1. “Latinos living in the United States tend to have “. . . worse access to health care. . . with the highest rate of uninsured, ” . . . as well as “other measures of deficient quality of care.”

    And yet Latinos have lower disease risk and mortality rates.

    Thought experiment: Could less “quality of care” actually be causal in better health outcomes? My own experience has been exactly that. In 2012, I was hurrying to update my will as multiple chronic diseases with no health insurance seemed hopeless. So I decided to forego “quality of care”, primarily because it’s so damn expensive and I decided to give my estate to faith-based charities. All of it. But there were delays getting the Will done, so I had to figure out how to delay my death. I started trial and error experiments with food noting the daily the effect, while reading from a broad range of nutrition and health “experts”. I was just trying to buy time. I didn’t know what I was looking for, and I never heard of someone reversing severe ulcerative colitis (UC), cardiovascular disease, and (likely) multiple areas of cancer, only one of which I had biopsied (positive). Imagine what those medical specialists would cost.

    So my favorite guinea pig (me) was experimenting with dietary stuff, not having a clue what I was doing, but I did notice eating vegetables helped the UC, though only briefly. That was the opposite of what I read from “experts” and no gastroenterologist I ever met ever asked anything about food. Their only response to the severe symptoms was drugs. I understand that is still the norm today. But my trial and error attempts pointed in a different direction. So I followed the bread crumbs. More veggies = better result. Not sure how that could be.

    Then one day making my usual rounds of casual reading I came across Dr G’s video “Achieving Remission of Crohn’s Disease”. Turns out, what I was trying to figure out trial and error, had already been figured out and published in the Journal of GASTROENTEROLOGY. Yeah, the same guys to insist there is nothing to this.

    Example, per WebMD:
    “Diet doesn’t cause ulcerative colitis, and special diets can’t cure the disease,” says Walter J. Coyle, MD, director of the Gastrointestinal Program at Scripps Clinic Medical Center. “But it can help to avoid foods . . . like broccoli, cauliflower, beans, and whole grains. ” . . . Although a variety of popular IBD diets have received a lot of hype, doctors say no one diet has been proven to effectively treat the disease.” .

    Notice beans are in this. In fact, beans were to me the MOST healing food I could find. And all the foods the Director of GASTROENTEROLOGY says to avoid, constitute my daily diet now for years.. And legumes are a daily stable. Dr G’s video stunned me. It was fully credible and gave me direction to continue my food experiment. I found the more plant foods I ate, the better. I am now fully plant based. UC is in complete remission while reducing meds 90%, I show no signs of detectable cancer, and cardiovascular disease has reversed. First time in years my blood pressure is normal. No meds were used for any of this stuff.

    If I had proper health insurance, I probably would have went to those “experts” since making all these decisions myself with no health training was at time a bit scary. But the more Dr G’s approach of WFPB played out in my own disease reversal, I now rely first and foremost on using food as medicine and conventional medicine serves as a safety net to monitor my progress (blood tests, etc) and for trauma care if I fall off my roof cleaning my gutters.

    As a bonus, my weight and body dimensions have returned to what it was in my 20s, and I eat all I want every day. And my energy level is crazy high. BTW, I’s 65 years old and haven’t felt this good in decades. Today I carry Medicare, as a safety net, but my personal standard of care is lifestyle medicine. Thank you Dr G.

    1. @farmcountry… that was my exact thought when I began reading this. Less access to modern “health care” I put in the + column!! My son-in-law’s grandmother just died at the age of 97 and had not been to a doctor in over 65 yrs. She was on no meds. Ever. She died peacefully in the middle of a card game with her daughter… likely a stroke. Anyway, it is well-documented that doctors and hospitals are a leading cause of death. Real health begins when one comprehends they are responsible for their own health and healing. The 20th century idea that if you are sick you go to a doctor for some kind of drug or treatment is long outdated. Peace and health to all!

      1. I wonder why medical/hospital errors or drug side effects are rarely if ever mentioned in disease and death statistics?

    2. Once the possibility was eliminated that the statistics were simply wrong, my first gut reaction was that less exposure to the North American health care system was a key factor.
      It is a tragedy – and I do not use the word lightly – that many of the very people who have dedicated their lives to our well being have been so blinkered that they are now part of the problem rather than the solution.
      It is a lesson to us all to examine all ideas, no matter how apparently outlandish, in the light of the best evidence we can find.

    3. Farmcountry, your story is nothing short of amazing ….. how long did it take for such astounding results? I am particularly interested in knowing how long it took for cardiovascular markers and high blood pressure to resolve.
      And do you eat the vegetables and beans that you were earlier advised to dismiss?

      Cheers to you!

      1. I have seen so many people reverse disease by changing their habits. Yet, so many refuse to do anything different, “just give me a pill doc”.
        How long it takes a person to heal is pretty individual. Their condition, age, and genetics all factor in.
        A lot of people start to show improvement in weeks, some take a year or more. And the exact same diet doesn’t work for everyone.
        Whole food, plant based, absolutely! But there are quite a few different food choices one can make. And exercise needs to be a part of the regimen.

        The Ornish study found markers of heart disease reversed in 1 years time. Reversal continued for the 5 years the patients were monitored. The control group got worse at both the 1 year, and the 5 year mark. Note it included diet and lifestyle changes.
        Sad that so many doctors and patients still dismiss diet and lifestyle as cause of chronic disease.
        https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/188274

        1. Farmcountry had left the building, darn it.
          I would like to have more information on just how strict his dietary regimen is. He has said he eats as much as he wants but does he include dairy and fats/oils for instance.

          I am not experiencing the improvements that I expected and don’t really know how to experiment further.

          1. Lida, he said he found Dr. Gregor’s info on Crohn’s. The diet in the study referenced was essentially vegan with a bit of fish a week, and one serving of meat per two weeks. If farmcountry read that it’s almost certain he includes no dairy. Dairy being the animal food most linked to causing Crohn’s.

            1. Marilyn, thanks for clearing that up. I wish that Farmcountry had been a bit more detailed about what he actually eats. I wonder also if it took him years to arrive at his healthy state since he said he began his journey in 2012. I wish he had indicated just how long it took for his health issues to resolve. My BP remains high despite diet overhaul and being on meds. So does my cholesterol. It’s very frustrating to read about the amazing and quick results so many people on this forum have experienced. While it is inspiring, it is also very hard to understand why I am not among them. I know you have said that everyone is different and what works for some will not work for others. Nevertheless, it can make me very despondent. I wish Dr. Greger would offer some pep talks to those of us who are not seeing anticipated results.

          2. Lida, since 2015 I have been 100% WFPB. No animal products, minimal processed foods. Macro-nutrients are 70% complex carbs, 20% fat, 10% protein. Most I study suggest (e.g., T Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn) recommend lower fat (10-15%) and more carbs. But at 15% fat I lost too much weight even consuming 3000-3500 calories/day. My energy level is crazy high. Example: Before the transition I had to break mowing my lawn into 3-4 days with a push mower. Now I do it in 2-3 hrs in one shot. No big deal. Not bad for a 65 year old.

            When I shop, the bulk is fresh produce, selectively buying organic. I also daily consume frozen veggies. Dr G reviewed favorably with regards to pesticide spray even for conventional crops. Then add whole grains, legumes, walnuts and flaxseeds.

            All of the above food groups are daily routines, mixing combinations of veggies with different varieties of bean soup (made from dried beans and fresh veggies). Breakfast is always 4 servings of oatmeal (old fashioned or steel cut) with 2 tbsp flaxseed, both organic. On workout days, breakfast also includes a peanut butter sandwich (not a health food) on organic bread, and 4 bananas. Breakfast is almost half my calories on workout days. Lunch is 5 oz whole grain pasta, kale, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, or whatever combination suits my fancy and usually some kind of balsamic vinegar. Dinner is always veggie/bean soup and a huge plate of veggies, including both sweet and white potato (for iodine). I don’t eat after dinner allowing for complete digestion before sleeping.

            I am not rigid in organic, but I do try to avoid foods I suspect may be GMO. I think it’s a big deal especially for gut health, I have listened to multiple doctors I trust dispute this, but a 3rd generation Iowa Farmer explained the reaction his animals experienced switching them on and off and back on and back off GMO feed. (OK we’re not cows.) Then I heard a pediatrician (can’t recall her name) describe seeing thousands of sick kids get better with the ONLY change moving them completely organic specifically to avoid GMOs and anything sprayed with Roundup or similar formulations. The most striking part of the interview was when asked to quantify what percentage of her patients got better switching to 100% organic. She said every one of them improved. Some fully recovered their health. From what I can tell, the reason the published medical research doesn’t uncover this risk is. . . and I have checked this from many sources. . . the GMO research was NEVER done, except for 3 month trials performed by the manufacturer or their hired researchers. Independent research however showed beyond 3 months is where the trouble started. This research was attacked and buried by moneyed interests, and their shills in media and politics. This may explain why Dr G doesn’t cover this in much detail, because the “approved research” has a conflict of interest and is of insufficient duration IMO to establish safety. Until long term research PROVES it is safe – and they haven’t done it yet – it’s off limits. (If anyone can find anything to disprove that, please provide a link.). This is a hard one to nail down so I just play it safe. . . no GMOs and minimize heavily sprayed crops. BTW, I’ve heard from Jeffrey Smith (my go to guy on GMOs – and the one most visciously attached by the moneyed interests) that GMOs are in most processed foods. But if you eat only WFPB, you’re covered with most stuff. The reason I eat only organic oatmeal is farmers now use Roundup as a desiccant to dry the crops days before harvest. That weed killer winds up in your oatmeal, and oats were independently measured as the most contaminated crop from this process.

            Dr G has laid out a broad array of healthy foods to fill the daily requirements our body needs. And from that list, I just choose the ones most appealing to me that satisfy nutritional requirements. BTW, after 4 years WFPB, I had comprehensive blood work this year with B-12 and Vit D specifically itemized. Results blew everyone away. Like I said, when I have questions, I come here and use Dr G’s search box. It worked for me.

            But if you are doing 100% WFPB with disappoint results, as others commented, everyone is unique. I still today tweak the routine observing the outcome. The important thing for me is I am very confident in WFPB framework, and experiment to see how my body responds and to suit my personal tastes.

      2. i made the change gradually since it was trial and error at first. But after incremental adjustments over 3 years, which made ulcerative colitis manageable and allowed 1/3 reduction in meds, I finally went plant based in 2015. But I still was naive in terms of quality of veggies. Iceberg lettuce is not the same as kale. Duh! But a seismic shift occurred 5 months later when my daily routine included a large bowl of homemade hearty vegetable/bean soup. UC flare-up cleared up in days and allowed 2/3 reduction in meds at 2x the pace of prior meds reduction. Dr G has many videos on why beans are such a healing food, so you can research that yourself. The last meds reduction have been in smaller increments 10% more to go to reach no meds with no symptoms. Does that mean I cured an “incurable” 25 year old chronic disease?

        The timetable on cardiovascular disease I gage by blood pressure. I was in hypertension for est 5-10 years. I just don’t remember when I crossed the threshold. Each annual physical it seemed to climb a few points until finally multiple doctors expressed concern. I didn’t do anything except continue to work on whatever made the UC better. Dr G talks about green leafy veggies a lot. Dr Caldwell Esselstyn explains why green leafies are central to his WFPB diet to reverse severe cardiovascular disease. That’s all I did. And again the incremental dietary changes brought a steady persistent drop in blood pressure with each physical. It’s been normal for years now. I use that as an indicator of overall cardiovascular health. Probably an over-simplification but with everything else looking the way it does, that’s enough for me.

        The cancer is much harder to define. The only area biopsied was melanoma, which I didn’t take seriously, dismissing warnings from the surgeon about it spreading despite the size of the area he removed (after 3 surgeries). My dermatologist later educated me on how risky it was given the degree of spreading. But my response was the same. Focus on UC and if the colon is happy, that’s all I watched. I still wasn’t convinced plants could heal disease, but continued cause it relieved the extensive internal bleeding from UC. Keeping it simple took a lot of worry off. But the result – Cancer free now 7 years. I never got the colon or prostate checked (no insurance) but I assume both were high risk given many very obvious symptoms (which are too gross to talk about here). As I explained to friends who wanted me to share my story, bowl movements did not look human. Nuff said.

        Bottom line for me: I share my story and refer to the one who is my most trusted source now for years. . . Dr G. And I suggest they use his search engine to find answers. That’s what I do and have done for years. Those outside of the WFPB community, especially most health care “professionals”, don’t seems to even recognize it is possible to do what I did, And I have since learned my story is rather bland compared to many I hear.

        The time span of my recovery through this incremental process was 5 years, before I was solidly in safe territory. I would speculate based on when I went quality WFPB in 2015 that it could have been done in 2 years.

        BTW, I have now switched my focus. I assume food as medicine works better than drugs. That’s now my first line of defense for . . . whatever. I have now switched to using WFPB and lifestyle medicine for longevity and vitality. It seems to me living to 100 years of age in good health should be very achievable. And I suspect 120 is possible. So being 65 today, when friends who were skeptical about my success with reversing disease ask, I tell them I am now working on the 2nd half of my life. . . that today I’m only middle aged. You know, I think they are starting to wonder if this is real.

        1. My diet is almost the same as yours Farmcountry, except smaller portions. One serving of oats, and 1 banana or apple for example. I eat from Dr Greger’s daily dozen, making pasta salads for lunch and veggie/ bean soup for dinner. BP was 105/61 last visit. Cholesterol is always too high in my case… postmenopausal with family history doesn’t help. Anyway, congrats on your successes and thank you so much for sharing your experiences! Awesome!
          .

    4. I am not Latino but of English, French, Irish and German decent, but have experienced the same results as in the above Latino experience. I am 82 years old now and doing get fine, working a 40 hour week, working around the house every week end and up at 4:30 on work days treadmilling every morning. Approximately 5 years ago I was experiencing high blood pressure, clogged cardiac arteries and on the verge of by-pass surgery. I could have gone the “normal” route and followed medical advise, but did not. I switched from the SAD way of eating to Whole Food, Plant Based. I am now no longer hypertensive, with a BP of 105/65. If I had followed the normal American medical advise I would still be eating the SAD diet and probably have some new cardiac arteries implanted in me and waiting another 5 years to have my new implanted by-pass arteries clog and experience another by-pass surgery. As with the above Latino medical advise. if you stay away from American doctors you will probably be much healthier.

      Colorado Gene

      1. Colorado Gene, I wish more people would have your can-do attitude.
        Most decide that after 60 that they can’t change or it’s too late to matter.
        So impressive you made the change in your 70’s!

    5. farmcountry,

      I agree with you.

      I look at all of the people around me who are going to doctors and they are getting less and less healthy and they have more and more diagnoses and the doctors push them away from even considering the possibility of dietary solutions.

      My family and friends are a little freaked out that I won’t go.

      But even if I went, I would want to try Whole Food Plant Based solutions to everything and they would be trying to manipulate me out of that process. That is what I saw when I was trying to move toward dietary solutions with my uncle, grandmother, and even my dog.

      1. And, farmcountry, our deductible is so high that I couldn’t possibly do medical model.

        Everything is so expensive nowadays.

        Yesterday, I had a car repair bill for over $3000 and my brother also had a car repair bill for over $3000 last week.

        I already know that the day will probably come where I can’t have a car and I already can’t afford medical or entertainment.

        I have been doing a diet heavy in vegetables and berries and I can’t afford that either. Beans and rice look mighty good right now.

        Particularly next month, when property taxes will take just about everything.

        I decided that July is when I will transition away from the vegetables and back to things like chili. I have liked eating vegetables because I have such a wonderful sense that the blueberries and kale and broccoli sprouts and beets and all of the rest are helping my brain, but it is $100 every few days. I think I am spending about $700 on groceries and that is over a third of my take-home pay for a month.

        I will figure out how to maybe cut the vegetables and berries in half or something, but that part is discouraging.

        1. Deb,

          We eat a PBWF diet with lots of veggies and fruit, and spend less than what you seem to. Probably about $50-60/week per person, and we could probably spend less.

          We eat the basics: Beans and whole grains, add veggies and fruit, and nuts and seeds moderately. We cook and eat most of our meals at home; I LOVE my IP. We do buy produce from farmers’ markets in season, and I do grow some in my backyard. But I’m using my winter spending. We also eat frozen fruits and veggies, as well as dried fruit.

        2. Perhaps supplementing the fresh veggies and berries with frozen would help lower the food cost. Also, if there are farmer’s fields where you can pick items if able, that often times is less expensive. I have 2 blueberry bushes which don’t give me enough berries, so will pick at one of the local fields as soon as they are open.

        3. Deb, how about growing some of your own things? One winter I put some seeds in a seed tray for microgreens, for example. And then there are sprouts…. and a regular garden?

    6. Inspiring! I knew a man with a similar success story, and he was eager to tell his doctor. The doctor was not happy at all: “You are completely healthy again, no doubt, but you have recovered in the wrong way!”

    7. Congratulations. Thanks for sharing. Just confirms what the rest of us believe. I’m 76 and WFPB for 3 years, exercise 6 days/week and never felt better.

  2. Farmcountry’s story definitely points to the probablility that the North American health care system is toxic to some degree at least.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but another factor, is the erosion of support from extended family and friends. We used to hear a lot about the North American “nuclear family” that was supplanting the more cohesive and broad based families of the past.

    Could it be that Latinos have more broad based human support networks that contribute to their good health?

    At the risk of using stereotypes, it seems to me that Italian and Greek cultures are known for strong multigenerational family ties – If they also exhibit some greater health or longevity than native North Americans, that could add weight to family structure being a significant factor.

    Delving even deeper, could there be genetic differences?

    What other possibilities should we consider?

    1. MICHAEL LAURISTON:

      I agree that the emotional support of the Latino extended family probably has marked physical health benefits – not just for children, but for the elderly who are given something to do in helping take care of the children.

      BTW: Has anybody studied palestinians who also have extended families?

    2. Michael Lauriston,

      I totally agree with you.

      Young people have been taught to separate. It is seen as “being a responsible adult” nowadays.

      When I was growing up, we had 100 relatives in one small town and my grandmother and her siblings and their parents’ generation all had a lot of children and all lived within 15 miles of each other.

      There were people who were “in need” – some had cancer, one became paralyzed from the neck down, one went blind, some had PTSD from military service from fighting in Iwo Jima, but the family looked out for each other and sticking together was what people did. Jobs were family businesses. My town just had a few family businesses close and those had been successful in business for 75+ years. Families took care of the mentally ill and the widows and the feeble-minded and frail. Now, those people fall into society and society doesn’t care about them at all and will not take care of them.

      It is a different mindset altogether.

      Recently, more than one of the young men who work for me has “gone through” mental and physical health issues. Things like panic attacks and other issues and one asked, “Why aren’t you firing them?” and I have a heart to walk things through and see if they can turn their lives around is why. That young man though is leaving. He announced, “This isn’t a real job. If it had been a real job, you would have fired me a long time ago.” and he is going to work for the same money for someone who will fire him. I honestly wish him well and think that it is a good idea for him. Most of the young people who have come here were getting fired over and over again. I think he is ready to try to not get fired. Or he wants to get fired. Not sure which, but I understand that I am not a modern person. He is going to work for Amazon and they will very likely fire him pretty quickly if he pulls any of his shenanigans.

      1. When that young man came a few years ago, he was not ready to work for anybody. He really might succeed and he may not know for years and years that it is because the responsible adult males came up alongside of him and tried to teach him self-respect and integrity. It is so foreign to him as a concept that he is “old-fashioned” and he wants “modern” right now.

    3. Could it be the peppers?

      “They found that capsaicin does something very unique with cancer cells. The hot spice doesn’t actually attack the cancer and kill it.

      Instead, capsaicin travels through your body looking for cancer cells. When it finds one, it attaches itself to the edge of the cell. From this position on the cell membrane, it switches on a cell receptor called TRPV1. This receptor acts as a channel that determines what goes in and out of the cells.

      When the capsaicin turns on the TRPV1, it sends the cancer cell into overdrive where it starts to self-destruct. The more capsaicin in your body, the more cancer cells it forces to self-destruct.

      Fights More Than Just Prostate Cancer

      The researchers found that “Capsaicin is capable of inducing apoptosis (cell death) and inhibiting cancer cell growth in many different types of cancer.” This includes osteosarcoma, colon, breast, and pancreatic cancer cells. Just as importantly, the capsaicin leaves normal cells unharmed.”

  3. Farmcountry, in re-reading your post I see that you do indeed eat all those foods that you were advised to eliminate. But I am desperate to know when your journey started and how long before this reversal of health issues occurred.

    1. Check out Dr. John McDougall’s website. There are numerous first person stories of how quickly individuals recover by following a whole food, plant based SOS life style.

  4. Darwin Galt
    No people are illegal. As with the people leaving water and food for lost and desperate travelers, in the southwest United States, are now being prosecuted as criminals, the Parable of the Good Samaritan seems to be forgotten in this “Christian” country.

    And who is my neighbor?

    1. Steve,

      I’m not against charity at all. In fact, I give a lot to charity. And you are welcome to give charity to whomever you want, also.

      But is it moral/ethical for politicians to give away “other people’s” hard earned money (ie, taxpayer money) ?

      1. Agree with Darwin 100%. We are a country built upon laws. The illegal mobs come from countries where laws are not upheld or broken constantly without repercussions in many instances…where officials are corrupt and bribed…dangerous places. They are coming in droves because they are told our government is not upholding our laws. I am very disappointed in our congress. FYI all Latinos do not eat the same…Spaniards healthy eating is not a Mexican diet.

        1. Annie, I’m glad that you’re happy with this country that is built on laws. Do you think that there might not be the teensy-weensy possibility that many of those “mobs” originate in countries where the United States has actively supported the overthrow of elected governments with military juntas, obeying the orders of the United States? And that these people are escaping from certain death? Did you know that these people have a right under international law, to which the United States is bound by treaty, to seek political asylum? And that it is not a crime? But worry not! Our country is built on law; just ask Donald Trump. He’ll tell ya.

      2. Darwin,

        I see your point. Refusing to medically assist ailing or dying people is much more moral and ethical than having politicians give away taxpayer money. Bullying the world with our potential for nuclear annihilation, and threatening to invade Venezuela and Iran…I’m glad they’re not using our hard earned money for those crimes. Aren’t you?

  5. Interesting! I have lived in this great country over 45 years. My diet has been high in plant foods, including legumes. I was diagnosed wit colitis 20 years ago. Decided not to take medications but to improve my diet (by eating less sugar) and exercise more. My colitis is under control, and I don’t have any other health problems: no diabetes, no CVD, no cancer, nothing else. Perhaps, I owe it to the fact that I never followed the physician’s orders to use medications for my colitis or “your colitis will get very bad real soon and you will suffer serious complications.

  6. I agree with farm country. My dad is 85, goes canoeing, sailing and hiking with me, and has no health problems. He attributes his health to “no pharmaceuticals”.

    I showed him my orchard, filled with edible weeds, mushrooms and vegetables, as well as fruit and berries. He says,”You are aspiring to be a peasant.” I said,”That’s exactly it”. That’s how to be healthy.

    A gerontologist explained in a healthy living podcast that all of the centenarians he ever met were gardeners. Pretty healthy retirement choice.

    1. John S….your dad is very lucky but did he ever need pharmaceuticals for anything and eschewed them? Or was he just always lucky having no health issues ever. Not sure exactly what you are attributing his good health fortune to.

  7. Are peas no longer legumes? I can still hear Dr. Greger rapidly rattling off “beans, peas, split peas, chick peas, and lentils” as the legume group. In this article we only got the other four. Did I miss an announcement?

  8. The Latino paradox like the French paradox is linked to an antioxidant-rich food, a social network based on friendship and walking more often. Japanese are now preparing the elderly to work longer because life expectancy is now around 95. I was living in a luxury high rise building in Houston, I was surprised to meet “young” couples, wealthy, with a very elevated discussion. They were old Texans or Mexican born, they were using quality Mexican diet, they were slim and looking 20 years younger than their age. I learned with them to eat Mexican and I lost the 20 pounds I gained when moving from France to Houston, I started to go to Mexican food shop. Then I co-authored “the Avocado Affair” I was insulted by some peers when I explained that Mexican-American on the Mexican diet had less cardiovascular diseases, fewer strokes. I respond kidding that they walk instead to drive, poverty may have health benefits, eating less and walking?

  9. The Mexican longevity question has to do with many things including sun exposure, very hard work, a lot of exercise, a generally less judgemental stressed lifestyle, strong family ties, and a lot of vegetables and fruits. They also do eat a lot of meat, especially pork.

    They get up early, often walk to where they are going, and usually work at least 8 hours a day six days a week.
    Unfortunately, they have been exposed to the SAD diet so obesity is on the rise and coke is the most popular drink. As for medical care, Mexico has medical care.

    Often working Mexicans in the U.S. pay taxes. Everyone except the American natives in the U.S. started as immigrants and may have started as undocumented.

  10. If Latinos consume black beans and pinto beans in great quantity, as well as a range of cooked red tomato dishes, then be sure to add the lycopene in the tomatoes as another positive ingredient for improved health and longevity. Lycopene appears to be associated with lower rates of heart disease and cancer but significant dietary sources for it are limited mainly to red watermelon (which tends to be eaten by most North Americans mostly only during the hot summer season), cooked tomato, and red guava (not a staple in most people’s diet but much more prevalent in Latino diets). Perhaps many North Americas are suffering from a dietary deficiency of the right “red” lycopene-rich foods as well as a dietary deficiency in fiber, both soluble and insoluble.

  11. There are two factors that might be considered to be the culprit: one is that Hispanics’ average height is 3 inches shorter, and there is observational evidence that shorter people live longer. Second is that a larger percentage of Hispanics in the United States are doing jobs that involve more physical work; just like the physically active tribes that eat lots of animal flesh but have very little heart attacks and failures. Disclaimer: my major is math.

    1. “Tribe” may be the key word. Hispanics do physical work in groups. They interact with other people all day while working and then go home to a family and eat together as a family. Americans tend to work more independently and asking for help at work is frowned upon. American families are far more chaotic especially as the kids become teenagers and every one is always eating on the run. Generally, Hispanics seem to be more relaxed and feel like they have to compete with their neighbors and friends about who has better material possessions. They have a more simple approach to life.

  12. Your article reads as though Hispanics living in the US are migrants vs. Hispanics who have been in the US even before the United States became a nation. So one wonders, did they bring their dietary patterns? Where as the articles you’ve referenced are clear on US Hispanics making it less confusing. Not all use Hispanics are Mexican some are actually traced back to Iberian heritage, especially in the Southwestern US. Beans, corn and squash were the primary foods for SW Hispanics and Native Americans. Yes the SAD and socioeconomic status has contributed to poor diets. And Native Americans being forced onto reservations and commodity foods. Same with commodities for Hispanics. Point is not all have migrated and not all were recently born here, which your article makes it sound as if so. When food was grown by these populations they were healthier. I do appreciate your information this was just a bit difficult to read.

  13. So far the theory that latinos live longer because of their diet is just a theory. It is one i believe in, but the biological processes proposed here are an unsubstantiated theory.

    I have another unsubstantiated theory. Part of the paradox may be due to their less frequent use of “health care”.

    1. When I ran a grocery store here in Texas. it was quite a different bill of groceries that were purchased by Latinos than by the Caucasian’s. Caucasian’s baskets were filled with ultra processed junk foods like chips sodas, cookies and boxes prep like Mac & cheese mostly snack foods. While Hispanic’s baskets were filled with fruits and vegetables. They bought pounds of tomatoes, jalepenoes and other peppers, cilantro, onions and meat and beans and corn tortillas. When white people bought tomatoes, or any other produce item, it was one or two tomatoes/ veg items, not pounds. To say it’s beans that make the difference seems to be short sighted.

  14. I have been wondering if Farmcountry’s story is really true or if he created a narrative in order to point out the faults in our healthcare system and the lack of medical involvement in dietary solutions for health issues. Since he has disappeared from this forum and fails to answer those who put questions to him, I am inclined to believe this was all a “set-up.”

  15. Hi there! One of my best friends is a nurse. I’ve been trying to get her to follow a plant based diet but she says that beans and legumes give her hemorrhoids and that’s why she can’t give up animal protein for fear of being protein deficient. Have you ever heard of that? Any suggestions how she can introduce this vital food group into her diet without the side effect?

    1. Beans are one of the things they recommend for people who get hemorrhoids.

      Fiber and having regular bowel movements helps.

      It could be that she uses too much salt or doesn’t drink enough water.

      1. I kept looking and found something.

        If people already have hemorrhoids, eating too much fiber st one time can cause larger stool and that can irritate the hemorrhoids. Rather than cause them.

        Maybe smaller meals.

        The goal would be to still eat fiber but not to have the 2 lb bowel movement

      1. Hi Deb,

        Kinda expecting a better answer. What would dr Greger say about this cold response? The beans flare up the issue. When she doesn’t eat beans it’s a non issue. My question since I wasn’t clear: Is there a suggestion as to how to consume beans if they create some extreme inflammatory response?

        Alicia Welch

      2. Hi Deb just read the other two responses.
        Sorry thought this was your first and only response. Thx for your input.

        Alicia Welch

        1. Sorry if it sounded cold.

          It wasn’t meant to be at all.

          Beans are what they recommend to avoid hemorrhoids but she gets irritated by the solution.

          The other solution is to get rid of the hemorrhoids.

          They do things like banding them or applying infrared and other things.

  16. This is the stuff of xenophobe’s nightmares! Not only are Latinos outnumbering us, they are also outliving us! We are the paradox! Great wealth+good healthchare Does not equal good health. We can learn from our neighbors and should welcome them when they need us !

  17. Hi All,

    Happy Friday : )

    Just out of curiosity: as I am a big legume lover the thing is that I consume around 325 gram (approx. 0.75 pounds I guess?) of dried beans/lentils/chickpeas per day.

    Although I know that they are one of the healthiest foods (if not the most : p) on the planet but I am just wondering about the excess protein intake (75 gram or something) at this amount.

    Also I know that plant based protein is very different from animal protein.. but I thought that it worth a question whether it is something which should be considered maybe – I mean the excess protein.

    Thank you for your kind help in advance and I wish you a very nice weekend!

  18. Hi patuszsolt – Thanks for your question! That is so great to hear that you are a legume lover! One serving of beans (1/2 cup) is approximately 130 grams. The Daily Dozen recommends 3 servings of legumes daily, which would total to about 390 grams of beans (0.85 pounds). Plant protein does not pose the same risks to our kidneys and health that animal protein does.

    To estimate your own protein needs, a good starting place is to multiple 0.8 times your weight in kg to determine how many grams per day you need. This can be adjusted up/down based on physical activity level and for any underlying diseases (ex: kidney disease, CHF). One big thing to keep in mind is that if any particular food, including beans, begins to crowd out other healthy foods from fitting into your diet (fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts) you may want to back off a bit to promote a better balance of a variety of healthful foods.

    I hope this answers your question!
    -Janelle RD – Registered Dietitian & NutritionFacts.org Health Support Volunteer

  19. If I had proper health insurance, I probably would have went to those “experts” since making all these decisions myself with no health training was at time a bit scary. But the more Dr G’s approach of WFPB played out in my own disease reversal, I now rely first and foremost on using food as medicine and conventional medicine serves as a safety net to monitor my progress (blood tests, etc) and for trauma care if I fall off my roof cleaning my gutters.

    As a bonus, my weight and body dimensions have returned to what it was in my 20s, and I eat all I want every day. And my energy level is crazy high. BTW, I’s 65 years old and haven’t felt this good in decades. Today I carry Medicare, as a safety net, but my personal standard of care is lifestyle medicine. Thank you Dr G.

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