How are you planning on making 2020 healthier? One of the best decisions you could make is moving towards a plant-based diet. Making just a few small changes could mean benefits to your health and well-being. Here’s why moving towards more of a plant-based diet is a New Year’s Resolution worth considering.
What is Plant-Based?
This year we’ve heard a lot about plant-based and vegan diets. The term plant-based has no official definition, but it’s not the same as veganism. Vegan means refusing to eat or buy any ingredient or product which comes from animals. Plant-based means eating a diet based on plants, but this might mean you still eat some foods which vegans would not eat (such as dairy items).
Does It Count If I Go Partially Plant-Based?
Yes. For the purposes of this article, we’re talking about the health benefits of moving towards a more plant-based diet. Whatever you personally believe the term plant-based to mean, it doesn’t matter – because we’re not discussing the merits of going completely 100% plant-based. Let’s discuss the benefits of shifting your diet towards plant-based from where you’re currently at.
Key Foods for A Plant-Based Diet:
- Fruits and berries
- Legumes, beans, lentils and pulses
- Sprouted foods
- Nuts and seeds
- Plant-based milk drinks
- Plant-based protein powders
6 Big Benefits of Eating A More
A healthier weight
People who eat a predominately plant-based diet tend to find it easier to lose weight (if that’s their goal) and find weight maintenance easier too. This is largely because of the high-fibre, low-calorie nature of plant foods. On the whole, those plant-based foods on our list are low fat, high in fibre, and contain fewer calories per gram. So, as a plant-based eater you can eat more food by volume, and feel more satiated, but you will actually eat fewer calories. If weight loss is one of your 2020 goals, make some plant-based changes to your diet. It could be the small shift that makes huge changes.
A healthier diet
Plant foods are nutrient dense filled with fibre, vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, micronutrients, and often contain a high-water content. Of course, it is possible to eat a plant-based diet and still have a high intake of unhealthy foods. But if you reduce your intake of processed, manmade foods and focus on whole foods, you can’t fail to boost the nutritional profile of your daily diet.
Reduce negative health risks
Poor nutrition has been highlighted as a leading preventable risk factor for many chronic diseases. Consuming a more plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the potential risk of a long list of health issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and obesity-related health issues and even some cancers.
Research suggests that people that eat a plant-based diet have – on average – a lower BMI, and lower rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, compared to those who have a high animal product consumption https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288/
In fact, eating a plant-based diet could be the best nutritionally based decision you make for your heart health. Research suggests that this kind of diet leads to the lowest risk of heart disease especially in middle-aged adults. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865
Everyone likes a bargain, and plant-based eating is great for your bank balance. Animal products can be expensive. Plant foods – especially items which you can buy in bulk and keep for ages, like pulses, beans, and legumes – are not. Start building your weekly shop around more plant ingredients and you will see your food budget go much further.
Save the planet
One person’s plant-based diet might not be enough to cure all the environmental ills we are facing, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Eating less animal products means less water depletion, and less soil erosion, reduced deforestation to create space for livestock, plus less grain used as animal feed. The meat industry is a major factor in climate change, so if you want to do your bit in 2020 then consider plant-based eating.
We don’t know about you, but our overall goal is to live a long and happy life. And that all starts with being healthier so we can enjoy an active and pain free lifestyle for longer. A plant-based diet will help increase longevity and improve your chances of enjoying those extra years.
There was a large body of research carried out over 30 years and 130,000 people which fund that those who ate more plant-based protein had a reduced risk of early mortality. The research even suggests that risk of death from any cause is reduced by 10% for every 3% increase (in calories) from plant protein. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2540540 Different research estimates that moving to a vegan diet could reduce mortality by 6-10% by 2050. https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/03/16/1523119113.abstract
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