A plant-based diet focuses around whole, plant foods. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds are all fair game. What you’ll be avoiding? All animal products. No meat, fish, butter, milk, eggs, cheese, etc. But plant-based diets are not the same as vegan diets. To get an in-depth explanation of the difference, click here.
Why should you drop animal products from your diet? Is this just another diet fad? The answer is no. There are some serious health benefits. Here are some of the many health benefits of adopting a plant-based diet.
You’ll be less tired. Animal foods are very hard for the body to digest. (Just think about that mandatory post-turkey snooze on Thanksgiving). However, your body has less trouble breaking down plant-based foods due to their high vitamin, mineral, fiber, protein, and natural sugar content that your body uses for energy. Many people with depression have also found a difference in their moods after switching to plant-based. The hormones in dairy, eggs, and meet trigger inflammation that leads to fatigue and sluggishness.
It prevents and reverses disease. Tons of research has found that plant-based diets prevent a wide array of diseases from cancer to diabetes. Essentially, this is because you’re removing processed foods from your diet. It’s also been proven that animal foods have been linked to higher glucose levels – your blood sugar levels will be much more stable after acquiring a plant-based diet. Plant-based diets have been found to reverse diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart disease. They completely change the way your body works because they have no cholesterol and help remove all cholesterol and toxins from the body (If you have cholesterol problems, definitely consider a plant-based diet. It has been found that those who switch to this type of eating lower their cholesterol by over half in just a month).
It helps build strong bones. A cup of collard greens has 350 milligrams of calcium and a cup of milk has 250 milligrams. So if you’re trying to build strong bones, your first instinct shouldn’t be to chug a glass of milk. Non-dairy milk, like almond milk, is fortified with up to 50% more calcium than dairy milk. Many believe that almond milk tastes better than dairy. Plants are capable of supplying your body with all of the calcium it needs.
It helps prevent arthritis. Arthritis is caused by inflammation in the joints and anti-inflammatory diets can usually reduce the symptoms. Plant-based foods are like terrorists against inflammation. Some of the best are leafy greens, flax, chia, raw walnuts, and vegetables and fruits rich in Vitamins A and C.
It helps you lose weight. If you want to efficiently fuel your body, go for plant foods in their whole form. Veggies, fruits, beans, and legumes are great, low-calorie foods that fill you up and supply your body with beneficial nutrients. Nuts and seeds are great too, but still contain a lot of fat.
It leads to clearer skin. You will be astonished by the benefits your skin will reap from going on a plant-based diet. Any skin issues you have will be cleared up within a week. Try it!
You’ll notice fewer allergy sensitivities. Dairy and eggs are highly allergenic and cause excess mucus production (leading to post-nasal drip, watery eyes, headaches, mucus in the stools, etc.). If you go for plant-based and drop the dairy and eggs from your diet, you’ll likely see that your allergies improve drastically.
It aids in digestion. Plants = fiber. Fiber = regular digestion. Regular digestion = weight and bloat loss. A plant-based diet is also full of foods that feed the good bacteria in your GI tract. Animal foods contain harmful bacterias and toxins that are produced during production and negatively effect your digestive tract. Plants contain pre-biotics that feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. The more “good” bacteria in your digestive system, the healthier you will feel. You will especially notice a difference in your immune system.
It’s much better for the environment. This goes without explanation. It’s much more ethical, too.
So, obviously switching to a plant-based diet is a huge adjustment, but if you’re constantly finding yourself at the doctor or you just want to feel healthier overall, it’s definitely an option to consider! Some popular plant-based diets are: Mediterranean, Flexitarian, Ornish, Traditional Asian, Vegetarian, Anti-inflammatory, Engine 2, Vegan, Eco-Atkins, Macrobiotic and Raw Food.
If you’ve already made the switch to a plant-based diet, let me know how your body handled it and what you thought!