Eating plant-based foods comes with a wide range of health, environmental and ethical benefits for both individuals and the planet. Whether you are considering a complete heart-healthy vegan lifestyle or simple incorporating more plant-based ingredients into your weekly diet, here are the biggest benefits you will enjoy.
1. Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases
A diet that excludes animal products contains all the essential nutrients for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Studies have shown that vegans have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and some types of cancer than those who consume animal products.
2. Reduced Risk of Food Poisoning
Animal-based proteins are commonly known to be a source of foodborne bacteria, while plant-based proteins do not typically contain the same bacteria. This can help reduce the chances of food poisoning and other illnesses caused by contaminated food.
3. Improved Energy Levels
Animal proteins, such as beef and pork, contain large amounts of saturated fat, which can cause fatigue and bloating. Plant-based proteins are lower in fat or contain healthy unsaturated fats, which can keep you energized throughout the day.
4. Better Digestive Health
Plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, are a great source of fiber. This helps to keep your digestive system running smoothly, as well as helping reduce feelings of bloating.
5. Lower Environmental Impact
Switching to plant-based foods can have a hugely positive impact on the environment. Plant-based foods require less land and fuel to produce than animal-based products, and they produce fewer greenhouse gases.
A plant-based diet offers a variety of health and environmental benefits, making it an ideal option for those looking to improve their overall wellbeing.
Other Benefits of Eating Plant-Based Foods Include:
- Lower cost – plant-based foods are typically cheaper than animal-based proteins.
- Ergonomic benefits – plant-based proteins are typically easier to digest.
- Ethical benefits – going plant-based can help reduce your contributions to animal cruelty.
What foods are considered plant-based?
Plant-based foods include legumes (e.g. beans and lentils), grains (e.g. oats, quinoa, and brown rice), vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Plant-based foods also include plant-based dairy substitutes made from soy, almond, and coconut, as well as plant-based meat substitutes such as tofu, tempeh, and seitan.
What is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is a type of diet that includes foods that come exclusively from plants, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and other plant-based foods. A plant-based diet is typically low in or free of animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs. People who follow a plant-based diet may also choose to avoid processed foods, vegan junk food or sugary dessert-type foods as well.
What are the benefits of following a plant-based diet?
1. Improved Health: Eating a plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Plant-based diets are also effective for reducing inflammation and lowering overall cholesterol levels.
2. Weight Loss and Maintenance: Plant-based diets are naturally high in fiber, which can help promote weight loss and weight maintenance. Fiber-rich foods take longer to digest and make us feel full longer.
3. Increase Nutrient Intake: Plant-based diets are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, and C. Eating more plant-based foods also provides beneficial antioxidants and phytochemicals that help protect against disease and reduce inflammation.
4. Improved Digestion: Eating a plant-based diet can help improve digestion as plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes are rich in fiber. Eating more fiber can help add bulk to stool and promote healthy digestion.
5. Sustainability: Following a plant-based diet reduces the amount of animal products being consumed, meaning fewer resources are used and less harm is done to the environment.
What foods can you eat on a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet can include a wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans. Some other staples of a plant-based diet are soy products, tempeh, tofu, and plant-based milks such as almond or oat milk. There are also many delicious plant-based meat substitutes on the market to make meals more interesting. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and plant-based milks are all great sources of protein and other essential nutrients. Eating more plant-based meals is an easy way to get in more nutrient-dense foods. Plant-based diets also allow for animal-free dairy alternatives like vegan cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. It’s also possible to make delicious plant-based desserts and sweet treats like fruit smoothies, oatmeal biscuits, and vegan brownies.