What are the Benefits of a Plant Based Diet?
I grew up in a world of conspiracies. Maybe I’ve just watched t0o many X-Files episodes (I love you Mulder and Skully), or potentially read a few too many John Gresham books, but one thing I knew – my life was a lie. I was brought up to believe that the very food products that I ate daily: eggs, chicken, milk, pork, were required elements of a nutritious diet. Yes, I did eat my occasional vegetables, but the meal wasn’t complete unless it contained meat.
Then I hear about this concept of a plant-based diet. Something that exists free of meat. What do you actually eat, I wondered? Dandilions and acorns? Maybe a tomato? I’m pretty sure you can eat pasta without meat, as long as you have tomato sauce.
A plant based diet, according to the US Department of Agriculture, is not as many people might believe, the same as a vegetarian diet. A plant based diet while heavily focused on plant based foods, also includes a wide variety of types of food. This is compared to the Standard American Diet (“SAD”), which is generally focused around animal products. A typical plant based diet consists mainly of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, etc..) with a small portion of fish, grass-fed lean meat and/or free range chickens/eggs.
Talk to Me About the Benefits!!!
There is a growing list of recognized benefits of a plant based diet. Below we’ve captured a few of the most prominent:
- A plant based diet tends to be very low in saturated fats, which combined with regular exercise, may help reduce weight to normal levels and help keep it there over time.
- Limiting sugar, salt, and other chemicals that come from processed, non-organic meat/dairy and other non-plant based food, works wonders in keeping your weight under control.
- Plant based diets focused on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes increases the intake of dietary fiber, which helps to minimize overeating, as the abundance of dietary fiber helps to make you “feel full.”
- Plant based diets are super rich in nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight/eliminate free radicals in the body, which are chemical compounds that are known to wreck havoc on healthy cells in the body and can contribute to cancer development and growth.
- There is a growing body of research focused on the anti-cancer benefits of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower), which contain a nutrient called, glucosinolate. Glucosinolate is thought to stimulate antioxidants in the body which “supercharges” your immune system.
- According to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, fruits and vegetables containing high levels of carotenoids, which give vegetables their rich colors, have been shown to help prevent different types cancer
- Obesity increases the risk of certain types of cancer, and as mentioned above, obesity is reduced dramatically on a plant based diet.
- The American Dietetic Association states that following a plant-based diet provides the body with sufficient nutrition, and helps with the prevention of many diseases. Studies have shown that in areas of the world where plant-based diets are a way of life, people suffer with less disease, and live longer and healthier lives.
- Individuals who practice a well balanced plant based diet, which is low in saturated fats, have much lower risk of heart disease
- Dr. Neal Barnard, who is a leading expert on the impact of plant based diets on health, has performed a tremendous amount of research around the impact that a plant based diet can have on reversing diabetes
- Living a plant based diet will lower the risk of developing high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol levels.
- Those living a plant based diet tend to secrete lower amounts of calcium and uric acid, which may lead to more frequent development of gallstones and kidney stones.
The list of health benefits associated with a plant based diet continues to grow. What are some other benefits of a plant based diets?!?
Top Books On Plant Based Diets
Like what we had to say but feel like you need a bit more intel? Below is a list of the top rated plant based diet books on Amazon.