Last updated November 16, 2023
How does a plant-based diet benefit your health? Keep reading to find out about the immediate benefits of a plant-based diet.
A plant-based diet is one of the latest wellness buzzwords and conscious lifestyle shifts. With the meat industry being the primary cause of environmental degradation and pollution, more people are turning to a plant-based lifestyle to live more consciously and in harmony with the earth.
With a global shift toward a lifestyle that emphasizes plant-based choices in both daily living and travel, you may be contemplating delving deeper into the concept of a plant-based diet to determine if it’s the right move for you.
What Is a Plant-Based Diet?
The plant-based diet is not so much a diet, per se. It’s more of a lifestyle shift—an approach to being more conscious about what we eat. The plant-based diet is simply about eating more foods from plant sources and limiting or eliminating animal ones.
It’s also quite a flexible way of eating, which is why I believe it’s become so popular in the last few years. Being plant-based doesn’t mean you can’t eat limited amounts of meat, fish or dairy if you want to. Essentially you can choose how often you eat animal products, if at all.
The key is filling our plates with more food from plant sources than anything else.
What’s the Difference Between Being Plant-Based and Vegan?
One of the biggest questions surrounding the plant-based diet is how it differs from being vegan. The main difference is that plant-based eaters focus on eating more food from plant-based sources, while vegans never eat any animal products.
Being vegan is a complete lifestyle shift that also involves not wearing or using clothing that comes from animal sources such as leather and avoiding beauty products with animal products and brands that test on animals.
The plant-based diet is mostly focused on just diet and is somewhat more flexible. It doesn’t mean you have to abstain from eating animal products completely, but it is mostly focused on plants.
Seven Immediate Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
When thinking of making the switch to a plant-based diet, consider these seven immediate benefits.
1. You will eat more plants
There’s no denying that eating more vegetables, fruits. and legumes is good for us. So adopting a diet that focuses on getting more fiber, vitamins and minerals into our bodies is surely a benefit.
Wholefood, plant-based foods are nutrient-dense foods, and having a diet that focuses on getting on more of these essential nutrients into our bodies is naturally going to make us healthier.
2. You have a lower risk of major diseases
A study by the American Heart Association found that eating a diet rich in plants and low in animal products actually lowers your risk of contracting heart disease.
Not only that but a plant-based diet that is high in fiber, healthy fats and wholewheat carbohydrates can reduce the risk of certain cancers, stroke, Type-2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
3. It supports a healthy gut
Over the years, studies have suggested that gut health is crucial for overall health and well-being. Generally speaking, adopting a plant-based supports an optimal microbiome composition and encourages greater microbial activity and diversity. On the other hand, lower microbiome diversity is linked to diseases such as Type-2 diabetes and obesity.
4. A plant-based diet can aid weight management
Eating a wholefood, balanced plant-based diet can help you manage weight and even lose weight without the need for extreme diets.
Natural plant-sourced foods are full of fiber and healthy carbohydrates—making you feel fuller for longer. This means you’re much less likely to reach for the cookie jar mid-morning.
5. It lowers your risk of diabetes
Eating a plant-based diet of whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables can make your body more responsive to insulin through better blood sugar control. This may mean a reduced risk of diabetes or diabetes-related complications and can even mean taking less medication if you have Type-2 diabetes.
Research has shown that the Western diet—high amounts of animal products, saturated fat, processed sugar and refined carbohydrates—can cause Type -2 diabetes. Eating the opposite—a healthy, plant-based diet—can then lower your risk of getting the disease.
6. It protects your brain
As the plant-based diet becomes more popular, so do studies on the effects on the body and mind. We now have studies that confirm that a wholesome plant-based diet can protect against and aid depression, multiple sclerosis, stroke and even improve IQ.
One study shows that nutrients in leafy greens such as B-carotene, nitrates, folate, lutein and Vitamin-E are related to better brainpower. Another study suggests that those who eat leafy greens as part of a balanced diet have brains that aged 11 years younger compared to those who ate the least amount of greens.
7. You have more energy
When you eliminate animal products such as meat from your diet, it lightens the load on the entire system, especially the digestive system. This means less energy is needed for digestion and translates into more energy for your body and brain.
A plant-based diet also contains a powerhouse of nutrients that support the body and release energy over longer periods of time, keeping you going for the entire day.
Making the Switch
A plant-based diet is often touted as the healthiest approach to eating, and the benefits extend way beyond weight loss. These seven immediate benefits of a plant-based diet are clear for better overall health and wellness, energy levels and lower risks of disease. Have you tried a plant-based diet, yet?
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