Nature has provided for humans for millennia. Nature’s abundance is what provides humankind with the fuel to live. Food is at the forefront of man’s needs for survival, and natural, plant-based food is something we have been consuming for centuries.
Plant-based diets have recently been highlighted again as people become increasingly aware and turn back to nature. Plant-based diets consist of foods prepared using natural plant products.
If you are eating these foods, your diet will consist of leafy veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and oils, and more such healthy substances. Following a plant-based diet does not necessarily mean giving up meat altogether — you can still consume it in reduced and balanced quantities, depending on your dietary needs.
The main emphasis of a plant-based diet is whole foods, i.e., natural foods that are not processed or processed minimally. Eating whole foods as your staple diet can help you magnify the various health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Plant-based diets are thus, needless to say, highly nourishing and nutritious and have a lot of benefits for a person’s overall health. We have listed some of them for you below:
1. Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
Inflammatory foods and excess consumption of saturated fats increase the risk of heart disease. A plant-based diet helps avoid excess saturated fat and encourages loading up on anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, green leafy vegetables, yellow veggies, walnuts, etc. All these factors lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 16 percent and the overall risk of death by heart disease by 31 percent.
2. It May Lower the Risk of Stroke
Strokes are very dangerous for health, and the risk of having one increases if the person in concern is overweight, has high BP, or high cholesterol levels, has heart disease or diabetes, or consumes alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. These risks can be minimized or eliminated by following a plant-based diet and making your lifestyle healthier. Yes, strokes are preventable.
One of the easiest ways to do that is to increase the portion of fruits and veggies you consume. Those who consume fruits and vegetables have a 21 percent lesser risk of stroke than those who don’t.
3. Promotes Cognitive Benefits
Plant-based diets are good for your physical health and help you nourish your mental health and have a healthy mind. A plant-based diet has been scientifically proven to improve your cognitive functioning and significantly lower the risk of dementia and impaired cognitive functioning. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in plant-based diets likely contribute to this factor.
4. Improves Gut Health & Lowers Arthritis Pain
A healthy gut is necessary to maintain a healthy body, good metabolism, and high immunity. Plant-based foods have been proven to improve your stomach health and improve your appetite due to the beneficial and healthy bacteria they contain. These foods have also been found to reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis as they work to reduce inflammation in arthritis patients.
5. Helps Reduce Weight
Because a plant-based diet is low on the glycemic index and has rich antioxidants and fiber, the person consuming it feels full for a longer period and hence eats less than they would in a normal diet. This helps reduce unhealthy carb and fat intake and aids your quest for weight loss if that is your aim.
6. It May Help Lower the Risk of Diabetes & Cancer
The risk of developing type-2 diabetes is reduced by as much as 34 percent by consuming a plant-based diet, as the lack of saturated fats reduces the risk of high cholesterol and unhealthy weight gain.
This diet also aids in reducing the risk of developing the dreaded cancer disease by producing phytochemicals and reducing cell damage, which helps prevent breast and prostate, gastrointestinal, and various other types of cancers.
7. Increases Overall Lifespan
Apart from improving life quality and overall health, plant-based diets also increase your life expectancy by as much as 25 percent by helping you avoid the diseases that cause early death. All the above-mentioned health benefits also contribute directly to helping you live a longer and healthier life.
8. Reduces Carbon Footprint
Humans leave a huge impact on the environment through our carbon footprint. Consuming a plant-based vegetarian diet can help preserve livestock, whose ecological footprint represents 18 percent calories and 83 percent of farmland, and thus help balance the environment.
But this in itself is not enough. While switching to plant based products like oat milk can lower the emission of greenhouse gases and consume less energy, other factors like food transport pollution, food packaging, and sourcing of ingredients need to be kept in mind to achieve the goal of sustainable eating truly.
9. Improves Athletic Performance
As the general public and famous personalities become increasingly aware of the benefits of plant-based diets, many athletes have started consuming whole-food diets to achieve the best performance.
Some of the most famous athletes consuming vegan foods include Alex Morgan, Venus Williams, Olympic gold medalist Diana Taurasi, Colin Kaepernick, and many more. Professional athletes' diets come with the complex nitty-gritty and must be right for them.
It has been scientifically proven that whole plant-based foods, including veggies, fruits, nuts, and legumes, are great for athletes' heart and overall health. Because these foods are anti-inflammatory and help build immunity, they help athletes maintain their fitness well.
Venus Williams, a tennis legend, switched to a plant-based diet after being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, which has helped her manage her symptoms without much hassle and continue to play well.
We hope this article has helped you understand the meaning and various benefits of a plant-based diet and that you are ready to implement the same in your life!