9 Benefits of Following a Plant-Based Diet
Helloooo you gorgeous humans! To all those who are new to plant-based eating, welcome! Following a plant-based diet is one of the best ways you can take care of your body, as well as the environment. While there is no universally agreed-upon definition of what a plant-based diet is, most nutritionists describe it as a diet which mostly or entirely consists of foods that are derived from plants (shocker, I know! ;D ). There are also different types of plant-based diets that one can follow:
No matter where you might fall in this plant-loving family, research suggests that a plant-based diet is much healthier than one which includes meat. So sit back, drink a smoothie, maybe even snack on some hummus, and feel GREAT reading about these nine proven benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
You mean eating all that baconisn't going to give me a six-pack? Perhaps unsurprisingly, following a plant-based diet may help with overall weight loss. According to a study, the average body mass index for non-meat eaters is approximately 23.6, whereas the average for meat eaters is around 28.8, with the latter being considered as overweight (7). The main reason why people tend to lose weight when switching to a plant-based diet, is that grains and vegetables are digested slower than meats. Additionally, fruits are filled with antioxidants and fibers which keeps you feeling fuller for longer (8). Not only will you lose weight, but you will also feel satiated in both body and spirit. It is however important to note that just because something is vegan, does not necessarily mean that it is healthy. For example, Oreos are vegan, but we definitely don't recommend eating a whole pack in one sitting. If you would like to lose weight, you must incorporate healthy, high-quality foods into your diet. And if you’re looking for a little kick-start, check out our juice cleanses - they are a great way to help you get on the right track if you’re feeling a little weighed down by cravings and a slow colon.
2. Improve Overall Heart Health
A hearty plant-based meal isn't just good for your tummy, it's also good for your heart! That is because meat contains high concentrations of saturated fat which, if eaten in excess, can contribute to heart disease. A study done by the Journal of the American Heart Association found that switching to a plant-based diet could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by approximately 16 percent, as well as reduce the risk of dying from this condition by roughly 30 percent (2). Eliminating or reducing your meat intake and eating healthy-heart supporting yummies such as whole grains, vegetables and healthy oils, will help protect your heart. Do yourself a favor and avoid another heartbreak (haha) by following a delicious leafy diet.
3. Live a Longer Life
Even if we don't have access to the apples of Eden, a plant-based diet can help you live a longer life. The American Heart Association conducted a study on a general population of middle-aged adults, and found that following a strictly plant-based diet can lower the risk of mortality by around 20 percent (2). Following a healthy, leafy diet filled with grains, vegetables and other meat-less goodies will help you live a longer and more healthful life (9).
4. Reduce Blood Pressure
Chances are that you're already under a lot of external stress, so why not help your body to reduce some internal inflammation! Your diet greatly affects your blood pressure. A study in the Journal of Hypertension found that those who follow a vegetarian diet have about a 34 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure (4). High blood pressure can potentially increase the risk of health issues such as a stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes (3). Eating leafy greens will help lower your blood pressure and therefore your risk of other health issues too.
5. Decrease the Risk of Cancer
The American Institute for Cancer Research found that eating a diet rich in fiber, minerals, phytochemicals and vitamins is the best way to obtain cancer-preventative goodness. High concentrations of cancer-fighting nutrients are found in vegetables, grains, beans, fruit and seeds (10). Research suggests that eating a well-balanced diet high in these plant-based foods may help lower your risk of cancer.
6. Reduce the Risk of a Stroke
Following a plant-based diet lowers your risk of having a stroke. According to research done by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or obesity are more at risk of having a stroke. The research also revealed that those who eat high amounts of fruit and vegetables have around a 20 percent LOWER risk of having a stroke, compared to their more meaty counterparts (12). As previously mentioned, a plant-based diet can significantly reduce the risk of all these health issues!
7. Improve Cholesterol
We've all heard of the dangers of high cholesterol. It can lead to dreadful health risks such as strokes, heart attacks or heart disease. High cholesterol harms your heart because it causes an accumulation of fat in the blood which restricts blood flow. According to The American Journal of Cardiology, shifting from an animal based diet to one that is mostly plant-based can reduce the “bad” cholesterol in one's body by at least 10 percent. If a person follows a strict vegan diet, their “bad” cholesterol can be reduced by up to 25 percent!
8. Help Keep Your Brain Strong
The most beneficial part of following a plant-based diet is probably the positive effect that it has on your brain, and subsequently your mental health. Incorporating leafy greens into your diet will make you feel more alert, happy and healthy. It may also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Recent studies have shown that eating an extra 100 grams of fruit and vegetables per day could reduce your risk of dementia by 13 percent (14). Fruit and vegetables are rich in polyphenols, which are micronutrients that are packed with antioxidants and other potential health benefits. Plant-based diets are full of these delicious nutrients that keep your body and mind healthy.
9. Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is largely connected to a person's diet and overall weight. Being overweight causes a person to have more fatty tissue cells than needed, and as a result makes the body more resistant to insulin (5). Insulin resistance is harmful to your health because it causes higher insulin and blood sugar levels, which could potentially lead to type 2 diabetes. Plant-based diets filled with high-quality foods are best suited to fight and reduce the development of type 2 diabetes. Think of your plant-based meal as a diabetes-fighting machine that works to lower blood sugar, cholesterol and excess body weight. Since these fighters are lower in saturated fats compared to their meaty cousins, they work to protect your heart and body. We recommend trying a plant-based diet if you are concerned about diabetes or just want to live a healthier lifestyle!
Nine reasons above and more! Fruit, vegetables and other plant-based goodies are packed with macro and micro-nutrients that protect your body and mind. If you’d like to reap the benefits of following a plant-based diet, it is important to incorporate as many different plant-based foods as possible, such as vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds and healthy plant-based fats.
Eating vegan cookies like Oreos or other less healthy plant-based foods such as french-fries, unfortunately won’t give you the same benefits as unprocessed, raw plants will. It is important to remember that not all plant-based foods are equally healthy! But we promise, plant-based foods like the ones we incorporate in our cafe’s and cleanses, can be equally delicious, if not more, than those treats. Check out our menu and online store below if you would like to add more plants into your diet!
We hope all you beautiful people have an amazing day!