Vegetarianism and Veganism in India Versus Cancer Rates

Vegetarianism and veganism in India vs cancer rates

Cows enjoying their life in India… I love this picture. As a kid, I spent some time around cows (a different breed; not the one in the picture, obviously). Who knows why, but when I look at a cow’s head, eyes, and nose these invoke strange thoughts that indeed this animal is holy.

Vegetarianism and veganism in India is more prevalent than in any other country in the world. In fact, it has more vegetarians than in the rest of the world combined.

I had an opportunity to work with an Indian couple. The only non-vegan foods that they ate were cheese and some other dairy products. (They also completely abstained from alcohol, and obviously tobacco).

Quite interesting that the lady didn’t see meat (including fish) until she was in her twenties. She asked me once: “Do you know why it’s fine to eat plants but not animals?” I don’t remember what I answered. She said: “That’s because when you separate a plant from a parent plant or from soil it doesn’t secrete harmful compounds. In other words, there is no ‘feeling of hate’. While when an animal gets killed, harmful disease-causing chemicals (energetically charged with hate) are released into the flesh of an animal”. Now, I wouldn’t call her a ‘psychic’ or religious individual but together with her husband they were into mediation more than the average person. Plus, she is also a homeopathic doctor.

Sometimes they brought their home-cooked food to work (rice, legumes, curry, salads). They said that they eat chapati – a flat white bread – nearly with every meal.  I did see them eating store-bought pizza occasionally (I guess it was vegetarian). Their kid also sometimes crunched cupcakes and shakes from Tim Horton’s. Their friends sometimes would come over to visit, of whom a couple were vegetarians as well (I didn’t ask; just randomly got to know that they were vegetarians).

What am I trying to say? Well, the diet of Indian people is probably the contributing factor to the fact that India has one of the lowest cancer rates in the world. Although some other factors come into play, it’s definitely not the cleanliness of air, earth-friendly agriculture, or the greatness of medical system that contributes to that.

So, what exactly in their diet makes Indian people relatively immune to cancer? You probably already kind of guessing what this might be but let’s go over this anyways.


What makes India more or less immune to cancer?

According to the review article of Dr. Michael Greger it seems to be the following three things (1).

1. Consumption of large quantities of turmeric. Turmeric is added in many dishes. Of course, the famous curry spice gets its yellowness from turmeric. The active compound in turmeric  – curcumin – is responsible for its anti-cancer properties (2)

2. Overall low consumption of meat

3. A decent consumption of fruits and vegetables

You already may be eating lot of produce and may even be vegetarian. If you are just missing turmeric, let’s see what is the best way to take it.


How to take turmeric

Turmeric… it’s a great spice and superfood to take. I take about 3-4 tablespoons per week.

In order to maximize its anti-cancer properties there are a few things to keep in mind when taking turmeric:

1. Get the organic version

2. Don’t heat it

3. Have it with a bit of raw fat to enhance the absorption of curcumin, which is fat-soluble. For example, a small piece of avocado or a few nuts would do

4. You can mix it with black pepper to enhance the curcumin’s absorption further (but it’s not necessary)

Turmeric is not only great for cancer, of course. It got so many benefits that it’s kind of like a ‘preventive’ medicine cabinet. For example, you can read about brain benefits of turmeric in this post I wrote about a year ago.



With all the things I said above about cancer rates in India, unfortunately, with every year the rates seem to ascend. Globalization spreads bad western eating habits (GMOs, etc.) not only to big cities but rural areas as well which makes more and more people fall victims of different types of cancer.

Another thing. Although India does have relatively low cancer rates, ironically, its overall death rates are high. This is where contaminated air, water,  and relatively bad hygiene come into equation.



With all the stuff that you are already doing for your immunity, take turmeric (at least occasionally) and as much as possible eat vegan.

I admit it, turmeric is not a delicious spice, this is where you will have to force yourself 😉 I just put about a tablespoon on top of my green smoothie and make myself eat it.

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