It goes without saying that no one diet is the one-size-fits-all method for good health. However, that’s not to say that some diets won’t be better for you than others…
Introducing the plant-based diet!
Plant-based foods are on the rise. The global plant-based food market is currently worth a whopping 44.2 billion USD. This number is expected to more than double by 2026.
So, what’s behind this newfound explosion in the plant-based food market?
To find out this, let’s talk about the health benefits of plant-based food… Read on to discover exactly what plant-based diets are all about, including 9 reasons why consuming plant-based foods may have fantastic benefits for your health.
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
So, what exactly is a plant-based diet? Does it just mean eating plants? Is it the same as veganism?
While more and more people across the globe are transitioning to a plant-based diet, there remains some confusion as to what it is exactly. Let’s clear that up! A plant-based diet is a diet that centers plants as the focus. But, don’t worry! By plants, we don’t just mean leafy fruit and veg. This term also includes wholegrains, nuts, seeds, legumes, unsaturated oils, and beans. A plant-based diet does not necessarily mean you are vegan, although most people following a plant-based diet are vegan, and foods that are 100% plant-based are also vegan.
9 Health Benefits of Eating Plant-Based Foods
It may not be surprising that a diet based on foods like fruit and veg, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and legumes might be great for your health. But, what exactly are the health benefits of this diet? Let us break it down for you…
1. Lowers cholesterol and improves heart health
Have you ever had intense heartburn after eating a big meaty burger? Well, that’s because meats are high in fat, making it difficult to digest them. Not only that, but the saturated fats that are common in meat products, when eaten in excess, are likely to cause heart problems, such as cardiovascular disease.
This has been shown that, when avoiding these saturated fats by following a plant-based diet, you are likely to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
2. Reduces inflammation
Inflammation is a natural bodily response when your body comes into contact with foreign objects (like splinters or allergens) or pathogens (like bacterial infections). However, sometimes your body can become inflamed too easily, or at the wrong times. In these cases, it turns from a helpful healthy mechanism to a chronic disorder. For example, arthritis is an inflammatory disease.
Eating the right foods can help reduce this risk. In particular, a plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the risk of inflammation, thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of fruit and vegetables!
3. Improves kidney health and may prevent diabetes
You may know that diabetes is affected by your diet, but did you know that studies have shown that a plant-based diet can help prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes?
Remember those saturated fats in meat we talked about earlier? Well, it turns out that they also work to increase the cholesterol levels in our blood. And, while cholesterol on its own is not a bad thing, when it becomes too high, it can block our bloodstream. This increases the risk of kidney problems like Type 2 Diabetes.
4. Supports your immune system
One of the key plant-based food benefits is that they tend to contain much higher levels of vitamins and minerals than other foods. In particular, plant-based foods contain high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals. What do these nutrients do? Well, these nutrients work to keep our cells healthy, and healthy cells mean better immune responses. This means that eating plant-based foods can reduce the risk of picking up viruses and infections.
5. Helps you maintain a healthy weight
When it comes to weight, it doesn’t matter what size you are, it just matters that you are healthy. However, if you consume lots of fatty foods, you may put on an unhealthy amount of weight that can lead to other health problems.
That’s where plant-based foods come in. Generally, plant-based foods contain less of the foods that lead to weight gain (like fatty meats and dairy products). This means that plant-based foods can help you maintain a healthy weight, and help prevent you from becoming overweight, which can lead to further health complications.
6. May reduce the risk of cancer
While there is no set way of completely reducing the risk of cancer, there are some measures which can be taken (like quitting smoking, for example) that reduce the risk. Research suggests that eating plant-based foods is one of these measures. This is because plant-based diets not only contains the nutrients needed to help prevent the onset of illnesses, like certain types of cancer, but also exclude certain food groups that may have carcinogenic properties (like meat).
7. Improves Gut Health
A plant-based diet may be good for your gut for two reasons. Firstly, more often than not, plant-based foods are high in fibre. Fibre is a nutrient that aids digestion and helps your body absorb nutrients correctly, hence aiding gut health.
Secondly, plant-based foods also contain a high level of good bacteria. Having the right amount of good bacteria in your gut is essential to maintaining the health of the whole body, which is another reason why plant-based foods are not to be missed out on!
8. May reduce the risk of brain-related illnesses
Research has shown that, not only do plant-based foods have some profound benefits on your body, but they may also have a positive impact on your brain health as well. For example, studies have suggested that eating plant-based foods can help to prevent the onset of diseases like dementia. This is because the nutrients in plant-based foods, polyphenols, are nutrients that may also maintain cognitive health.
9. You are in control of what you eat
Finally, on top of targeted health benefits across your body and mind, the benefits of eating a plant-based diet don’t stop there. Why? Because, when you opt for a plant-based diet, it is likely that you are not only consuming more plant-based foods but also paying a lot more attention in general to what is going into your body. While before, you may have just grabbed food from the supermarket without thinking. When buying plant-based foods, it is more likely that you will be looking at the packet and making informed decisions about what you put in your body. This means you can control exactly what you eat, and say no to unhealthy processed or sugary foods if you want to!
The long and short of it…
So, it’s clear to see the benefits of a plant-based diet. Whether you want to prevent the onset of diseases of just maintain the good health you already have, eating plant-based foods is not going to be a bad idea.
But, how easy is it to give plant-based foods a try? That’s the best bit! With so many plant-based food options now available to buy, as well as the option of vegan meal delivery (delivering plant-based foods to your door) it’s safe to say the world of plant-based foods really is your oyster!