A plant-based diet is often touted as one of the best ways to achieve good health. Eating a variety of these foods provides all the protein, vitamins, fiber, minerals, and other essential nutrients the body needs. Eating a plant-based diet does not mean doing away with meat and other animal products. It means your meals are mostly plants, comprising of vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Here are five benefits of a plant-based diet.
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can lead to hypertension and increase your risk for a cardiac event or stroke. There’s excellent scientific evidence suggesting that sticking with a plant-based diet can reduce blood pressure. Usually, these foods present higher chances of consuming potassium, which helps lower blood pressure. Meat and most animal foods contain little to no potassium, and overindulgence can actually raise blood pressure and cholesterol.
Plant-based foods also contain more fiber and less fat, so they typically have fewer calories. This helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is instrumental in keeping blood pressure in check.
2. Keeps the Heart Healthy
Plant-based dieting has been linked to heart health. Reducing meat intake and diets that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol reduce the risk of cardiac events, heart damage, or coronary artery disease.
It makes sense to use the natural preventive power of plant-based foods to protect your heart. Keep up with nutritionally dense foods like leafy greens and whole grains to work wonders at maintaining a healthy heart.
3. Helps Prevent Diabetes
Those who eat a plant-based diet lower their risk for type 2 diabetes compared to their meat-eating counterparts. Adhering to such a healthy and nutritious diet helps to improve blood glucose levels. This is because the diet (which is rich in fiber plant compounds) slows down the absorption of sugars in the bloodstream. As a result, blood sugar is maintained at normal levels.
Sticking to a plant-based diet is also very useful in managing existing diabetes. Doctors typically advise patients with type 2 diabetes to maintain a low-calorie diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Generally, these foods also help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation making it easier to manage the disease.
4. Decreases Risk of Cancer
Most notably, the benefits of eating a plant-based diet are not limited to preventing diabetes and heart disease. A low fat, whole foods plant-based diet accompanied by a healthy lifestyle also improves your chances of avoiding cancer risks. Previous studies show that vegetarians have an 18 percent lower risk of cancer compared to non-vegetarians. This is attributed to the diet’s immune-boosting properties which keep the cells healthy and the body in balance.
5. Improves Mental Health and Well-Being
Yet another reason to fill up a plate with a plant-based diet. A diet centered around whole plant food has the ability to control depression, improve well-being, and daily functioning. There are studies showing how a healthier gut microbiome contributes to better mental health. Inflammation in the gut, which often results from a diet high in refined, processed foods, is linked to anxiety and depression in many people.
More importantly, a nutritious, plant-based diet is filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which protect the brain from oxidative stress and free radicals. This further helps to boost an individual’s mental health and well-being as well as lower levels of depression and anxiety.
The benefits of a plant-based diet are clear. It’s the best strategy for optimal wellness and has the potential to dramatically improve human health. To optimize these benefits, we definitely want to make sure we’re eating the best possible stuff. Make sure you understand what comprises a healthy plant-based diet.
With diet being such an integral part of well-being, it makes sense to talk to a physician. Diamond Physicians is there for you if you need advice and help when changing your diet. Talk to us today.