Plant-based diet is the diet that primarily focuses on foods from plants, but might also include some of the animal proteins. This article mentions about plant-based diet and also talks about it health benefits. So read on to discover what plant-based diet is and what are its health benefits?
What Is Plant-Based Diet?
Plant-based diet includes majority of plant products, such as vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, oils, legumes, whole grains and beans. However, it does not mean that a person consuming plant-based diet is a vegan, or never consumes animal products. A plant-based diet may also include animal products such as the dairy products, eggs, or honey and at times meat too. But it must be noted that in case of a plant based diet there are more plant products and very few proportion of animal products.
There are several types of plant-based diets. However, the three most common ones include the Vegan where no animal product is taken, lacto-vegetarian where no eggs or meat is consumed but dairy products can be taken, and the lacto-ovo-vegetarian where no meat is consumed but eggs and dairy products are consumed.
One can consume plant-based diet without being a vegan. Some people are “Semi-vegetarians” where they eat meat or poultry or fish occasionally. Some people are “Pescatarian” where people eat plant-based diet along with fish.
What Are Its Health Benefits?
There are a lot of health benefits of plant-based diet. Let us read below to know about some of the best health benefits of plant-based diet.
Plant-Based Diet Lowers Blood Pressure:
Plant-based diet is known to lower your blood pressure. This is because of higher potassium content in plant foods. Potassium helps in lowering the blood pressure that results in stress and anxiety. Most of the all whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables and fruits have high amount of Vitamin B6 and potassium which together benefits in lowering blood pressure. Meat along with most of other animal foods has little or no potassium content and they increase the blood pressure and also the level of blood cholesterol.
Benefits of Plant Based Diet in Lowering Cholesterol:
We talked above that most of the plant foods included in the plant-based diet helps in lowering the blood cholesterol. This is in fact one of the most crucial health benefits that you receive from plant-based diet. Plants have no cholesterol. A plant-based diet is thus one of the simplest ways to reduce cholesterol. However, you need to include more of plant foods and reduce your intake of eggs, meat or fish to reduce the chances of getting high cholesterol. There are unhealthy plant-based diets such as burger, sugary drinks, and so on; and you need to avoid such foods and try including the health plant-based diets such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seeds.
It Is Healthy For Your Heart:
Consuming a plant-based diet, especially the vegetarian diet might reduce the chances of getting cardiovascular diseases, improve other risk factors for causing heart diseases as it lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure, and also improves the blood sugar level. Consuming a plant-based diet can even help quell any inflammation, which increases the risk of heart disease by promoting a buildup of plaque in your arteries.
Plant-Based Diet Helps In Weight Loss:
- Obesity is one of the major issues today. In fact, about 69% of the US adults today are obese or overweight.(1)
- Fortunately, making some lifestyle and dietary changes can actually facilitate you in weight loss and have a long lasting impact on your health.
- There are several studies which have shown that plant-based diets are quite beneficial in reducing weight.
- The high fiber content found in whole food plant based diet and also the exclusion of processed foods could be a great combination for shedding those unwanted excess pounds.
- A review of 12 studies including more than 1100 individuals found that those who were assigned to plant-based diets had significantly lost more weight than those who were assigned with the non-vegetarian diets.(2)
- You also need to keep it in mind that you must adopt a health plant-based eating pattern, that would also help you in reducing weight in your long run.
Plant-Based Diet Cuts The Risk Of Cancer:
One of the most known health benefits of plant-based diet is that it cuts the risk of cancer. Consistently research shows that consuming plenty of vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes on a regular basis is known to be associated with a lower risk of cancer. In addition, those disease-fighting phytochemicals found in plants have also been known to prevent and thwart cancer.
There are also studies that also show that there is an association between consuming processed or red meat and increased cancer risk, mainly the colorectal cancer.
So, we know that there is a benefit not only from consuming only more plant foods, but even from replacing some unhealthy or less-healthy foods with those of the plant based foods.
Plant-Based Diet Helps In Cognitive Decline:
Plant-based diet is known to help in cognitive decline. There are certain studies which suggest that diets which are rich in fruits and vegetables might help in reducing or preventing cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in case of older adults.
Plant-based diets comprise a higher number of plant compounds and antioxidants, which in turn have shown to reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and also reverse the cognitive deficits.(3)
In several studies, it has been found that higher intakes of vegetables and fruits have been associated with a reduction in the cognitive decline.
A review from 9 studies include about 31, 000 individuals have found that consuming more of vegetables and fruits have resulted in a 20% reduction in the risk of developing dementia or cognitive impairment.(4)
Benefits of Plant- Based Diet in Treating Diabetes:
Did you know that whole food plant-based diet can actually be an effective tool for managing and also reducing your risk of developing the condition of diabetes?
According to a study conducted in more than 200,000 individuals it was found that those who adopted a health plant-based diet had 34% lower risk of getting diabetes than those who included unhealthy or non-plant based diet.(5)
One more study showed that plant-based diets, including the vegan and the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, were known to be associated with nearly a reduction of 50% risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as compared to the non-vegetarian diets.(6)
Moreover, plant-based diets are also known to improve blood sugar control in patients with diabetes.(7)
Today many people love to adopt a plant-based diet because of its amazing health benefits. If you want to experience the benefits of plant-based diet you can try switching towards it slowly. All you need is to consume more of whole food plant diet and add a little amount of animal products such as dairy products, eggs, or meat. A plant-based diet is not only good for our health but also great for our planet.