A plant-based diet is a great way to eat for health benefits – and it’s good news for the planet, too.
What if we told you that making just one impactful change could help you live a longer, healthier and greener life? Following a plant-based lifestyle could be your secret weapon for improving your health and longevity on all fronts – it really is as simple as that.
Eating plant-based simply means eating more plants and fewer animal products. You don’t have to give up anything if you don’t want to, and you don’t have to make any monumental changes to your normal routine.
All you have to do is incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes into your diet and replace some of the animal protein you normally eat with plant-based protein instead. So, pull out your grocery list, and let’s explore the long-lasting, positive effects of eating plant-based for you… and for the planet!
Understanding the different types of plant-based diets
Going plant-based can be a little different for everyone, but in general, it’s a style of eating that consists mostly or entirely of foods that come from plants. With that in mind, there are several different types of plant-based diets to choose from:
- Vegan: Veganism is a lifestyle choice that means eliminating animal products altogether, not just in your diet, but also in other products you purchase and use regularly.
- Vegetarian: Vegetarians avoid eating meat and fish, but may still eat eggs, honey and dairy products. (Vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy are called Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians.)
- Pescatarian: Pescatarians eat fish and seafood, but exclude all other meat from their diet.
- Flexitarian: Flexitarians eat mostly plant-based, with small amounts of dairy, eggs, fish and meat.
Wherever you fall on the plant-based diet scale, including more plant foods in your diet can improve your overall health and longevity. So, sit back, enjoy a yummy baby kale Caesar salad or drink a refreshing green smoothie, and know that you’re making a positive, lasting change simply by eating more plants.
7 long-lasting, positive effects of eating plant-based
Eating plant-based helps keeps you young
One of the most exciting and little known benefits of a plant-based diet is its antiaging effects. While there’s no such thing as a fountain of youth, eating a diet that’s rich in plant foods and low in sugar, salt and processed foods promotes healthier cellular aging. This is crucial for preventing the chronic health issues that often come with getting older.
Protect your brain
Eating a diet that prioritises plant-based foods can lower your risk of developing dementia and other diseases related to cognitive impairment by as much as 20%. This is likely due to the antioxidants in plants, which protect the cells from free radical damage and clean up cellular waste.
Lower your risk of heart disease
Anyone who has an elevated risk of heart disease can benefit from leading a plant-based lifestyle. In fact, heart disease is the number one cause of death globally, so it’s something we should all consider.
A study published by Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases showed that going plant-based can actually reverse coronary heart disease symptoms. The study showed that those who ate minimal animal products, but no meat, had a 40% lower risk of heart disease and a 34% lower risk of hypertension.
Reduce your risk of diabetes
Studies show that adults who follow a vegetarian diet are 74% less likely to develop diabetes than those who eat meat as little as once a week. This positive effect is likely related to the fact that plant foods are rich in fibre, phytonutrients and antioxidants, which help stabilise blood sugar.
Inflammation is a contributor to a variety of health issues that can impact your longevity and overall quality of life, including cancer, heart disease, and chronic inflammatory disease. Following a plant-based diet can reduce inflammation throughout the body by boosting the immune system.
Not only that, but plant foods are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants that fight free radicals. Free radicals not only damage cellular DNA and lead to premature aging and disease, but they also trigger an inflammatory response by the immune system.
Help maintain a healthy weight
By now, we all know that being overweight can have a negative impact on our overall health and longevity, but maintaining a healthy weight is often easier said than done.
If you’re tired of dieting, going plant-based may be the answer. Plant-based diets are rich in fibre, which can help you feel fuller longer after meals. In general, plant-based proteins are also lower in unhealthy fats and calories than animal protein, too.
Lower your risk of cancer
According to the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, people who follow a vegetarian diet have an 18% lower risk of developing cancer than those who eat meat regularly. This is most likely related to the immune-boosting properties of a plant-based diet and the fact that processed meat is now classed as a carcinogen.
And finally… eating plant-based is better for the planet, too!
The importance of leading a greener lifestyle is becoming more and more evident every day and moving away from animal foods may be the answer here as well. According to scientists, it takes one hundred times more water and eleven times more fossil fuels to produce animal protein than it does to produce plant protein.
Image credits: Alex Loup / Unspalsh, Jennifer Schmidt / Unsplash, Mason Dahl / Unsplash and Monika Grabkowska / Unsplash
The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.