A plant-based diet is often advocated as the healthiest way to eat, and its benefits extend far beyond weight loss. A plant-based diet consists entirely or mainly of plant-based foods. This eating style may be suitable for your health as well as the environment.
Studies have shown that a plant-based diet provides various health benefits, including decreasing blood pressure and supporting clear skin. As a result, more individuals are turning to plant-based diets. Plant-based food sales are expected to reach $7 billion in 2021, according to research issued by the Good Food Institute and the Plant-Based Foods Association. In 2020, 57% of families in the United States purchased plant-based foods, up 4% over the previous year. (Everyday Health, 2021)
Here we’ll discuss what a plant-based diet is, how it can benefit your health, and what nutritional considerations you should make before making the switch.
What Is a Plant-based Diet?
A plant-based diet emphasizes whole foods and plants, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. One of the best things about following a plant-based diet is that you may choose how rigorous you want to be. It does not have to be limited to plants. For some people, eating a plant-based diet means excluding all animal products (a vegan diet). For others, it’s just a matter of proportion: eating more plant-based meals than animal-based foods. It’s an excellent way to incorporate more veggies into your diet without eliminating dairy, eggs, meat, or seafood (you can eat less of these).
The Advantages of a Plant-based Diet in Terms of Health
You already know that plants are healthy, and most of us don’t consume the required quantity of fruits and vegetables to maintain nutrition requirements, so switching to a plant-based diet will increase your consumption healthy produce. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber are abundant in fruits and vegetables. (Medical News Today, 2021)
Compared to their omnivorous counterparts, people who prefer a plant-based diet have lower BMIs. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. Furthermore, studies suggest that those who lose weight on a vegetarian diet are more effective in losing weight and keeping it off.
A vegetarian diet may lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve other risk factors for heart disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and improving blood sugar control, among other things. Inflammation, which increases your risk of heart disease by encouraging plaque accumulation in your arteries, can also be reduced by eating a plant-based diet.
Lower Diabetes Risk
Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet lowers your risk of diabetes regardless of your BMI. According to one study, meat-eaters have twice the risk of diabetes as vegetarians and vegans.
Reduce Cancer Risk
Studies show that eating various fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains (often known as plants) daily is linked to lower cancer risk. Furthermore, plant-based disease-fighting phytochemicals have been demonstrated to prevent and combat cancer.
Are You Ready for a Plant-based Diet?
So, you’re feeling motivated now. Let’s put this into practice. Yes, you can and should increase your vegetable intake—aim to have half of your lunch and dinner plate full of vegetables at all times and vary the variety and color of the vegetables you eat. (Heart.org, 2021) However, there is more you can do. Try incorporating some of these minor adjustments:
Add plenty of vegetables
Try to fill half of your plate with vegetables during lunch and dinner time. Make sure to include plenty of colors while choosing your veggies.
Minimize the consumption of meat
Try to have a very minimal amount of meat rather than making it the centerpiece.
Add healthy fats
Fats in olive oils, olives, nuts, nut butter, seeds, and avocados are more nutritious choices than butter or margarine.
Consume vegetarian meals at least twice a week
Build up these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables.
Starts with breakfast
Start your day with oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, or barley. Try to add some nuts or seeds along with some fresh fruits.
It’s also important to consider what you’re consuming and adding to your diet. Cutting back on meat will almost certainly benefit you (plant foods have less saturated fat and typically fewer calories), but the benefits extend beyond what you’re limiting. Eating more plants means acquiring more beneficial vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber, many deficient in unconscious eating. It’s always good to remember before making any health-related decisions, to consult with a dietician or your primary care physician.
Lawler, Moira, et al. “9 Scientific Benefits of Following a Plant-Based Diet.” EverydayHealth.com, Feb. 2021, www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/scientific-benefits-following-plant-based-diet/
“How Does Plant-Forward (Plant-Based) Eating Benefit Your Health?” Www.heart.org, Feb. 2021, www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/how-does-plant-forward-eating-benefit-your-health
“Plant Based Diet: A Guide for Health and Nutrition.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, Sept. 2021, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326176#summary