A plant-based diet holds many benefits, from the prevention of chronic disease to weight management. Those not ready to give up meat and dairy all together can still see significant perks from eating meals that center more around on plants. Taking small steps to add an increasing amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in a daily meal plan is more important that trying, unsuccessfully, to restrict meat. Over time, as you feel and look better, the change in diet will become easier and easier to maintain.
- A plant-based diet will help prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, macular degeneration, and cancer.
More than 380 million people are living with diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes is completely preventable with lifestyle changes such as switching to a plant-based diet. One in three Americans suffer from high blood pressure, putting their lives at serious risk for a heart attack or stroke. Harvard researchers report that people who eat eight or more serving s of fruits and vegetables a day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Foods such as spinach, kale, corn, kiwis, and grapes are good for your vision, preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.
- A plant-based diet makes weight more manageable.
One benefit of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is that many people are left feeling fuller with fewer calories. A lower caloric intake can be pivotal in lowering and maintaining a healthy body weight. Fresh produce, healthy plant-based fats like olive oil, and plant-proteins such as legumes and soy, can make losing weight and keeping it off easier than strict calorie counting. However, it is important to remember that a vegetarian lifestyle does not, in itself, mean weight loss, as an excess of fried or sauce laden veggies can still pack the calorie-punch.
- A plant-based diet encourages good gut health.
The high fiber content in fresh fruits and veggies plays an integral part in gut health, aiding digestion and keeping you ‘regular’. More than just preventing constipation, fiber can help to lower cholesterol and manage blood sugar levels.
- Plant-based diets are excellent for skin health.
Don’t forget about your skin. Cutting back on the intake of animal products can improve texture and tone of your skin. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, protects skin from sun damage and the vitamin C in sweet potatoes stimulates the body’s production of collagen, helping to ease fine lines and wrinkles. Fruits and vegetables provide other vitamins such as A, E, and K, as well as antioxidants, all shown to aid skin repair and reduce the risk of skin cancer.