Is Plant-based diet really beneficial?
Let us take a look!
Cutting on meat to develop a healthy diet might be an enduring task.
Plant Based Diet is often touted to be the healthiest approach to eating and it seems like many people are catching on as the benefits extend way beyond weight loss.
Evidence based research and medical practitioners now recommend a plant-based diet and many have seen incredible results in the long term.
Surveys have shown increase in overall physical well-being, lower risk of heart diseases, control of blood pressure and diabetes, and increased longevity.
Here is everything you need to know about Plant based diet, its benefits and your road to optimal health!
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is intake of food that focuses on only or mostly foods from plant sources.
This way of eating increases benefits for both the person adopting the diet and to the planet.
There exists no precise definition of Plant based diet as different people interpret it differently.
Some interpret plant diet as vegan diet which involves avoiding all kinds of animal products beyond food and diet.
For others, plant based diet means consumption of foods that are direct products from plants like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. This diet shall not include dairy products and meat.
A plant-based diet also focuses on whole foods rather than processed foods.
Some of the existing interpretations include Vegetarian diet, Vegan diet, Raw Vegan diet, Flexitarian diet among others.
Recommended Story – 10 Low Sugar Fruits and Vegetables Good For A Low Carb Diet
Benefits of Plant-Based Diet
Here are some the benefits of avoiding or minimizing the amount of intake of meat and adopting plant-based diets:
1. Better Weight Management
Trusted Research sources suggest that people who primarily consume plant-based foods have lower Body Mass Index (BMI).
It also said that they have lower rates of obesity, diabetes and heart diseases than those who eat meat.
Plant based diets are high in fiber, water and include complex carbohydrates.
This nourishes the body and cells to improve health outcomes.
Weight loss naturally becomes a by-product of replacing and reducing certain kinds of foods.
Comprehensive research by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has concluded that the BMI for vegans is comparatively better than non-vegetarians.
And also that most of the non-vegetarians qualified as overweight.
Further, the low glycemic index (foods that digest more slowly), antioxidants and fibers in plant based foods helps in weight loss and reduce the risk of obesity.
2. Prevent 2 Types of Diabetes and Helps Improve Kidney Functions
It is a well-known fact that there is a direct link between diet and 2 types of diabetes.
Consumption of red meat and poultry increases the risk of diabetes, in part because of high volume of heme iron in meat.
Weight is one of the major risk factors since more fatty tissues make the cells resistant to insulin.
According to a study published by American Diabetes Association, plant-based diet combined with medicine has reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 34%.
It is likely because plants are lower in saturated fats than animal foods, which raises the levels of cholesterol in body and risk of type 2 diabetes.
3. Prevent Heart Risks
Whole plant-based foods consist high amounts of fiber, zero dietary cholesterol, low amounts of saturated fats, which is a winning combination for your heart’s health.
Meanwhile, excess of meat, cheese and eggs come with cholesterol and saturated fats which may create plaque in a person’s arteries.
By cutting back on meat and loading up plant foods, you may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases by 16% and the chance of dying due to this health condition by 31% according to American Heart Association.
Recommended Story – Famous Top 10 Nutritionists (Best Dietician) to Follow in India
4. Decreases the Risks of Cancer
Plant based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains are packed with nutrition and studies show that these help in decreasing your risk of cancer.
Plants produce many phytochemicals that protect cells from damage and helps in anti-inflammation.
Some studies have also shown that adopting a whole plant based diet helps cancer patients to prevent the disease.
The American Institute of Cancer Research in its recent publication has noted that though lowering of risk in certain cancers may be moderate due to nutrients present in plant foods.
Eating this way promotes a healthy weight and lowers bad cholesterol.
5. Makes Brain Stronger: Decreases the Risks of Cognitive Impairments
Psychological benefits associated with plant-based diet are often overlooked.
There are some compelling studies that suggest plant-based diet helps in high cognitive functioning.
According to the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, eating extra 100 grams of fruits and vegetables a day led to 13% reduction in the risk of cognitive impairments and dementia.
The rich polyphenols in plants are one of the vital reasons for this.
Some studies have also shown that polyphenols help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and may also help in reversing cognitive decline.
Further, antioxidants, vitamins and folate also have significant cognitive benefits.
6. Helps you Live Longer
All the potential benefits outlined here roll into one major one, i.e., living longer.
The International Journal of Nutrition found that plant-based diet lowers all causes of mortality by 25%.
In certain cases, the percentage is beyond 25% if you stick with plant-based diet for long term.
This strengthens your immune system and combats all kinds of autoimmune diseases.
Hence, if you are trying to maximize the longevity, replace meat and processed foods with a wholesome plant diet.
What are your views on it?
Also Read – Veganism- How are Indians adapting to this diet?