Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Vegetables

So why is everyone going plant-based these days? Simple: the plant-based diet comes with a myriad of health benefits. In this article, we’ll walk through some of those key benefits and hopefully by the time we’re done, you’ll be reaching for a big old stick of broccoli!

The truth is: eliminating meat, eggs and dairy from your diet can provide various health benefits, particularly when paired with a healthy lifestyle. Let’s investigate some of those benefits:

Keeps Heart Healthy and Strong

A diet rich in saturated animal fats can cause your heart to work harder.  Alternatively, cutting out animal-products allows your heart to work easier, lowering your risk of developing heart disease, or even lengthening the lifespan of those already suffering from it. Eating a plant-based diet has been shown to lower blood pressure, lower one’s risk of hypertension, and reduce risk of stroke compared to those who eat mostly meat. Load up on legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits and omega-rich plant oils to keep that heart strong and healthy.

Promotes Weight Loss

Studies have shown that people who eat a plant-rich diet tend to weigh less than those who eat animal products, and people who eat plants exclusively for one year can lose more weight than people who don’t. Typically, vegans have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than meat-eaters because many whole plant foods are rich in antioxidants and fiber. The more fibrous the food, the fuller it makes you feel, and for longer. Animal products contain no fiber.

Prevents Type 2 Diabetes

Weight gain can increase one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Accumulating excess body tissue increases the cells’ resistance to insulin. A plant-based diet rich in foods low in cholesterol and saturated fats can help with weight loss or maintaining healthy weight, decreasing one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that vegans have a far lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-vegans.

Lowers Risk of Cancer

Following a plant-based diet has been shown to decrease one’s risk of developing certain cancers, most notably colon and breast cancer, thanks to phytochemicals in plant foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, and may protect cells from damage. The increase in fiber consumption on a plant-based diet may also explain the lower cancer risk, along with the absence of animal-products linked to increased cancer risks.

Improves Cognitive Functioning

Eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables can improve memory, reduce your risk of developing dementia and may even reverse it.  This is thanks to antioxidant polyphenols found abundantly in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

 

Learning that a vegan diet can be nutritionally beneficial may take some time, but the science is there to make it crystal clear: Eating a diet packed with plant proteins, vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and all the other good stuff plentiful in plant foods, leaves very little room for disease and disfunction.

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