Veganism has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially after numerous professional athletes revealed that they don’t eat meat.
According to a study published in the Permanente Journal, plant-based diets have gone mainstream because the health benefits have been well researched, and dietitians and scientists alike have touted the perks of eating plants and cutting back on meat.
Plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and whole grains are very healthy and there is no need to stress about reaching nutrient goals each day.
However, one of the most common misconceptions about plant-based diet is that you have to completely stop eating meat. This is just a certain type of plant-based diet. If you are on what’s referred to as the flexitarian meal plan, you can still eat meat. Although, you will have to cut down your consumption of animal products.
Cutting down or omitting meat from your diet is difficult for most people, but it’s worth it. Let’s dive in now!
Fantastic Health Benefits of Eating Plant-Based Diet
1) Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is a common reason for going on a plant-based diet. In case you want to lose weight in a healthy way, you can simply start by taking out sugar and processed products from your diet and replacing them with plant-based foods. This diet also does wonders if you just want to maintain a healthy weight and avoid putting on more pounds.
Eating plant-based foods increases your fiber intake. This has a great effect on satiety, which will help you avoid eating unhealthy snacks throughout the day. Even though you’ll have a high fiber intake, know that a vegan or vegetarian diet may cause you to develop a nutritional deficiency. That’s why you need to be careful and ensure you meet your mineral, vitamin, and protein needs.
You can do this by researching which plant foods contain complete proteins and incorporating them into your meals more often. Another approach is to get a plant-based protein powder. This will help support a healthy body composition and make it easier for you to either lose weight or gain muscle.
2) Improve Your Digestion
Fiber does more than playing a crucial part in helping you maintain a healthy weight. It is also key to good digestion. There are three types of fiber found in plant-based foods – soluble, insoluble, and resistant starch. Soluble fiber can help slow digestion and lower your cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber promotes regular bowel movements, while resistant starch is what your healthy gut bacteria use as food. Excellent sources of fiber include legumes, grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Some of the specific foods you should eat to increase your fiber intake include lentils, beans, potatoes, barley, bananas, brown rice, rye, bran, and chickpeas.
To experience the amazing health benefits of a fiber-rich diet, you should carefully monitor how much of this nutrient you consume daily.
It’s a good idea to log your food consumption, which is now incredibly easy with apps like Fitbase that you can also use to track your workout progress, set fitness goals, and more.
3) Maintain Healthy Skin and Hair
Your diet has a huge impact on the health of your hair, skin, and nails. If you eat mostly sugar and fast food, you’ll probably have skin problems because it causes inflammation.
On the other hand, a plant-based meal plan is filled with various minerals and vitamins that will keep your body healthy and make you look great on the outside.
4) Improve Your Brain Health
The food you consume has an effect not only on the body but the mind as well. Following a healthy diet that consists mostly of fruits and vegetables is a great way to ensure your brain stays strong.
Certain fruits like berries have shown to provide outstanding mental health benefits, such as enhanced memory and focus.
A plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment. It can also slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
5) Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the process your body goes through when it protects itself from illness, injury, and infection. When a short-term inflammatory response occurs, it actually has good benefits on your health. However, when it’s happening for a long time it can lead to numerous health problems.
When your diet consists mostly of plant-based food, you’ll consume a significant amount of antioxidants and phytochemicals. Some of the most notable anti-inflammatory foods include leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, and cabbage. You should also increase your intake of beans, lentils, quinoa, buckwheat, wholegrain bread, oats, salmon, nuts, and seeds.
6) Lower Risk of Heart Disease
If you have a family history of heart disease or a certain risk factor for this health problem, you should seriously consider going on a plant-based diet. Heart problems are currently one of the leading causes of death across the world, and a high meat intake is a major reason.
To significantly lower your risk of heart disease, it’s recommended that you go try either a vegan or vegetarian diet. The main difference is that a vegan diet doesn’t involve any animal byproducts, while vegetarians consume milk, eggs, cheese, and other animal foods excluding meat.
7) Enhanced Immune System
When your immune system works at an optimal level, it can protect your body from numerous diseases, illnesses, and infections. However, it takes a lot of effort to properly care for your body and ensure your immune system functions perfectly.
Some of the things that can have a negative effect on your overall health include smoking, sleep deprivation, stress, lack of exercise, and a poor diet.
Fruits and vegetables are filled with various vitamins and minerals that you can’t get from other food sources.
A plant-based diet will provide your body with everything it needs to ensure it has an optimal immune response to any threat.
Embracing a full plant-based diet can be intimidating. So, begin small.
A small change in your diet, such as cutting your meat intake by one to two servings per day and replacing it with protein or fiber rich veggies, can have a lasting positive impact on your health.
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