Plant-Based Diet May Prevent Chronic Disease Among the Elderly, Says Study

Old Hands

People may be living longer due to advancements in medicine, but according to research by Market Watch, the latter two-thirds of their lives may be spent batting multiple chronic diseases. However, experts have pointed to the vegan, plant-based diet to prevent or potentially reverse these chronic ailments, particularly in older adults.

According to internist David Dunaief, animal-based foods lead to inflammation, which is the root cause of all chronic diseases. “The lower you go with animal protein, the better you do,” Dunaief advised. He noted that a plethora of common chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and dementia, could be prevented, or at the very least delayed, by following a diet rich in plant-foods from an early age. He suggested whole foods such as broccoli, cannellini beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and nuts for a healthy, disease-preventing diet.

Dunaief continued to point out the harmful effects of animal-based foods, noting that elderly adults are not the only ones susceptible to chronic conditions. Overconsumption of animal products could lead to the development of chronic disease as early as middle age. He particularly advised against red and processed meats, the latter of which are now considered a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Red meat, Dunaief suggested, may also increase risk factors for multiple types of cancer.


According to the National Council on Aging, seventy-seven percent of older adults suffer from least two chronic diseases. What’s more, “Age and Aging,” British scientific journal, has predicted that the number of seniors with four or more chronic diseases is expected to double by 2035.

However, experts such as Dunaief and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) believe that people can change this prediction by following a plant-based diet. The key, they claim, is prevention through nutrition. Instead of looking for medical treatment when a disease presents itself, PCRM advocates for making dietary changes that may circumvent the disease in the first place. There have also been several studies that suggest plant-based foods can prevent dementia, expedite breast cancer recovery, and reverse diabetes.