Most of us can attest, at least one of our friends has eliminated meat from their diet, and we cannot understand why. We hear about the benefits of a plant-based diet all the time, but, for whatever the reasons, we still don’t buy it.
Unlike what you may think, plant-based diets have become mainstream, which means that you may be one of the last people on earth still eating meat. Or, maybe not… yet.
Why do people switch to a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is reducing the human’s impact on the environment, and so many famous people have embraced it already. No matter if you’re an animal lover or an environmentalist, willing to live a healthier life, switching to a plant-based diet is one of the most significant changes to make in your life.
Switching to a plant-based diet isn’t only changing your diet, but it is also changing your take on eating. You no longer count the calories, not worry about the macronutrient goals in a day. A plant-based diet is about eating plant-based foods and less to no animal-based foods.
Vegan, raw vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian diet- what’s the difference?
Should you decide to switch to a plant-based diet, it’s essential to know the differences between the types of diet:
- Raw vegan diet- People eliminate animal products (no more, cheese, honey, or milk), eating exclusively natural and plant-based foods.
- Vegan diet- People stop eating animal products, consuming only plants, and following a vegan lifestyle as well.
- Vegetarian diet- Individuals can sometimes eat milk, cheese or eggs, but no longer eat meat. They instead rely on plant-based foods.
- Flexitarian diet- some people are aware of their limitations, so they only reduce the meat intake. Their food relies mainly on plants, but they still consume animal products any now and then.
What are the positive effects of a plant-based diet?
Plant-based diet leads to numerous improvements for your body’s health and overall well-being, so keep reading for finding out the essential health benefits of a plant-based diet:
1. It reduces the blood pressure
High blood pressure, aka hypertension, is raising the rich in health conditions, with stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes as most common to name.
Foods can improve your health, and numerous studies showed that eating a plant-based diet lowers blood pressure and the risk for health conditions. According to multiple studies, people with a vegetarian diet have lower blood pressure than people who also eat meat. Additionally, vegetarians have a 34% lower risk of developing high blood pressure than non-vegetarians.
2. it strengthens your brain
going with a plant-based diet has benefits for your mind too. There is research observing the plant-based foods and the impact on slowing the development of Alzheimer’s. A review of nine studies showed that eating only 100 grams of vegetables and fruits daily reduces by 13% the risk of developing dementia and cognitive impairment. It’s because fruits and vegetables are loaded with polyphenols, which slow down Alzheimer’s diseases. They also sustain the reverse of cognitive decline.
It’s known that people with addiction experience changes to their brain. Therefore, it makes perfect sense why healing treatments should also include a plant-based diet. Don’t be surprised to find that plant-based, organic, and non-GMO foods are fundamental for treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, lupus, or even cancer in most if not all high-end alternative healing facilities. Having a plant-based diet is beneficial for people dealing with various mental-related conditions; for reasons we’ve already explained.
3. It maintains the heart-healthy
Meat contains saturated fat, which leads to heart illnesses if eaten in high amounts. Reducing the amount of meat and going with plant-based foods instead will benefit your heart.
A study from 2019 revealed that eating a plant-based diet will lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 16%. It can even reduce the risk of dying on the cause of it by 31%.
It’s not only the meat that you need to watch out, though. It’s also essential that the plant-based foods you’re eating are right for you. Try your best to include legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and healthy oils in your diet. Stay away from unhealthy plant foods such as sugary beverages and refined grains, which can only raise the risk of heart diseases.
When you’re overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, do drugs, alcohol, or smoke, your risk for stroke is out of the roof. Switching to a plant-based diet and making healthier lifestyle choices can help you keep the risk of a stroke to a minimum. Keep in mind that half of the strokes are easy to prevent.
Consuming fruits and veggies will lower your risk of stroke by 21%.
4. It decreases the risk of cancer
Does a plant-based diet prevent people from developing cancer? Even if research is still undergoing, at the moment, the answer is a plain “yes.” The American Institute for Cancer Research states that the best way to take the nutrients protecting us from cancer, such as fiber, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals, is to have a diet loaded with fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and several animal foods.
It’s the same for cancer survivors. A review in 2012 revealed that the benefits of a plant-based diet are moderate, yet significant enough to make a difference. The nutrients in plant foods are working, protecting people from getting sick, cancer included.
5. It improves the cholesterol
High cholesterol is harmful to health, causing fatty deposits in the blood. The fatty deposits block the blood flow, leading to heart attack, heart disease, and even stroke.
A healthy plant-based diet will help you keep the cholesterol level under control. When you’re eliminating animal products from your diet, the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol will reduce by 10 to 15%. Should you switch to a strict vegan diet, you will be capable of lowering the LDL cholesterol by 25%.
6. It reduces the risk for type 2 Diabetes
The connection between diet and type 2 diabetes is no longer a secret for many years now. Weight is a significant factor, as more fatty tissue will make the cells more resistant to insulin.
Scientists have always been tried to identify the diet that reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes for a long time, and it seems that it’s the plant-based diet that gives the best results. A study from 2016 showed that using a plant-based diet with high-quality plant foods will lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 34%.
The fact that the plants have a low level of saturated fats, as opposed to animal foods, is the main reason. According to another study, it seems that 7.6% of non-vegetarians have type 2 diabetes, as opposed to only 2.9% of the vegans.
7. It helps you live longer
If none of the previous reasons convinced you, maybe this one would: plant-based diet reduced the risk of any cause of mortality by 25%. If you decide to switch to healthy plant-based foods, your chances are even higher than 25%.
A study in 2018 showed that eating healthy plant foods increases the protection layer by 5%. Soda, cake, and white bread are considered to be less-healthy foods, whereas whole grains, fruits, and veggies are healthy options. So think twice next time you’re heading to the kitchen for a snack. Even if it’s a granola bar with no meat, it can still be a less healthy option than the apple on the counter.