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Samuel L. Jackson credits vegan diet for 40-pound weight loss, youthful energy

Samuel L. Jackson credits vegan diet for weight loss: 'I want to live forever'
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Actor Samuel L. Jackson attributed his recent 40-pound weight loss and age-defying appearance to the vegan diet.

“It’s a new vegan diet,” Jackson told reporters while promoting his "Captain America: The Winter Soldier. “I'm just trying to live forever.

Samuel L. said he was inspired to go vegan after reading Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and spending time with the renowned vegan cardiologist.

“Going to [Dr. Esselstyn’s] house and talking to him and his wife Ann [convinced me to adopt a vegan diet]," said Jackson.

'Forks Over Knives Inspired Me to Give Up Meat'

Jackson said watching Esselstyn's ground-breaking film, Forks Over Knives, completely put him over the edge. Since going vegan, Samuel L. said he has never felt or looked better.

"I feel great," he said. "I have a lot more energy than I used to have. I sleep better. I like the way I look in my clothes better. I don’t cramp as much. I exercise better. I think my circulation has gotten better.”

Jackson, 65, joins a long list of celebrity vegans, including former U.S. president Bill Clinton, TV personality Al Sharpton, and actors Michelle Pfeiffer and Jared Leto. They have all credited the plant-based diet for giving them more energy, helping them lose weight, and staying youthful-looking,

Leto, who won the Academy Award this year for "Dallas Buyers Club," has credited the vegan diet for his age-defying good looks. Jared, who at 42 could pass for a decade younger, has been a vegan for more 20 years.

"I'm pretty healthy so I think that helps a lot," said Leto. "Twenty solid years of eating vegetarian/vegan and taking care of myself. That probably helps the preservation process."

Bill Clinton said his mostly vegan diet is responsible for his 30-pound weight loss and for reversing his heart disease. “His doctor told him that his heart today is much younger than it was even 10 years ago,” said Bill's daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

Experiencing easy weight loss and improved health on a vegan diet isn't surprising to medical experts like Dr. Joel Fuhrman. “The more greens you eat, the more weight you will lose,” said Fuhrman, author of The End of Dieting.

Dr. David Katz, author of Disease-Proof, agrees. “If you shift to a diet more about plant-based foods, you are likelier to live healthier and experience less chronic disease," said Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center.