7 Ways You’ll Benefit From a Plant-Based Diet

Image for post
Image for post

What exactly is a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet means eating more whole foods (think less canned or processed food) and more plants-fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. One of the best things about a plant-based diet is you get to choose the parameters of your diet. You get to decide how strict you want it to be. Plant-based does not mean you have to eat only plants unless that’s how you want to define it. Some people who are “plant-based” are vegetarians; they eat no meat but typically consume eggs and dairy. Those who follow the Mediterranean diet usually include chicken and seafood as well. The vegan life-style excludes all animal products, not just in the diet but in every aspect of one’s life. Some people might simply view the diet change as a way to increase their consumption of plant-based foods and lessen the amount of meat they eat. Whether you’re ready to get rid of all your leather-soled shoes or just want to turn “Meatless Monday” into a dinner that happens more than once a week, going plant-based is an excellent way to make plants a key part of your diet.

But is it really healthy for you?

Reaching for a head of broccoli over a handful of bacon is the healthier choice. That’s pretty straightforward, right? Whether positively or negatively, what you eat affects your health and your quality of life.

1. Achieve & Maintain a Healthy Weight

Counting calories can be time-consuming and stressful. Often it leads to feelings of negative self-judgment and feelings of failure. A plant-based diet, with its focus on fruits and vegetables, already has a much lower caloric intake than diets that include large amounts of saturated fats and processed foods.

2. Lower Blood Pressure & Cholesterol

Image for post
Image for post

3. Improve Gut Health

Did you know there are groups of microorganisms that live in your gastrointestinal tract? These little guys generate by-products that fortify the intestinal tract. They help with fiber digestion and your body’s natural production of vitamins B12 and K. This is extra important for vegans and vegetarians since B12 is a common deficiency among people who don’t eat animal products.

4. Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases

Chronic disease is a disease or condition which is long-lasting, usually more than three months. Certain foods, like processed meats, have been proven to be carcinogenic, so a diet that limits the eating of animal products will logically lower the risk of different types of cancer. Fruits and vegetables also contain phytochemicals which are high in antioxidants and have protective and preventative qualities.

Image for post
Image for post
An apple a day really can keep the doctor away

5. Boost Your Immune System

Remember those antioxidants and phytochemicals we were just talking about? The protective and preventative qualities they possess also help to stimulate your immune system activity. Fruits and vegetables are packed with carotenoids and flavonoids. Flavonoids possess antiviral capabilities that can help protect you from the common cold as well as guard against more serious viral contagions. In this day and age, few things are more important than maintaining a healthy immune system.

6. Improve Skin Health

All those antioxidants in healthy and whole plant-based foods help the skin to age slowly. They can also reduce wrinkles and decrease scarring. Those super protective antioxidants are also guarding against pollutants and free radicals which damage the skin and make it look dull and aged.

Image for post
Image for post

7. Boost Your Energy

Diet plays a massive role in our rising and falling energy levels. Just think about how you feel after eating a greasy burger and fries compared to how you feel after eating a meal full of whole, minimally processed foods. Animal-based proteins can be difficult for the body to digest, which means more energy is required to do it. Plant-based protein is much easier to digest, so your body doesn’t use up massive amounts of energy doing it.

Image for post
Image for post

There’s No Debate

When you look at the evidence, a diet focused on plenty of whole, minimally processed plant-based foods is extremely beneficial for overall health.

Written by

Freelance copy & content writer for hire specializing in health and wellness content. Visit me at www.leahfavela.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store