Plant-based diets have significant benefits for the heart, immune system, and general health. Fresh and organic vegetables and fruits play a role in warding off many diseases and are perfect for people with high fitness goals.
And while a diet can be plant-based, it does not have to exclude meat products all together. One can add some lean meat, fish, and low-fat dairy products if necessary, but only sparingly. Here are more benefits of a plant based diet.
1) It Prevents Diabetes
Today, close to 400 million people around the world live with diabetes. This is according to the International Diabetes Federation. It further adds that this figure will rise by 200 million by 2035. Fortunately, the majority of these cases are Type 2 diabetes which is preventable. The situation is so critical, in fact, that online nursing programs have started following the trend. Courses such as Arizona State University’s online nursing degree has modules dedicated solely to the treatment of patients with diabetes.
2) It Lowers High Blood Pressure
It has been estimated that high blood pressure affects 30% of American adults. And with it comes the risk of heart disease and stroke. These two conditions account for the most deaths in the US. A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables lowers blood pressure.
3) It Boosts Cardiac Health
Researchers at Harvard also sought to find out how dietary habits affect one’s cardiac health. They studied 110,000 people for close to 15 years with surprising results. Apparently, having as many as 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day can reduce the risk of a heart attack by as much as 30%. The secret lies in the lower cholesterol contained in plant-based diets.
4) It Reduces Body Weight
A person’s daily calorie intake vs their level of activity will determine how much one weighs. Diets low in meat and dairy products contain fewer calories. This makes them ideal for keeping one’s weight down. They are also great for kick-starting a weight loss program.
5) It Has More Fiber
Fiber helps in digestion and stimulates bowel movements. Without enough of it in the diet, indigestion and constipation can set in. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are all good sources of fiber. According to the Mayo Clinic, a single cup of raspberries contains up to 8 grams of fiber.
6) It Boosts Vision
It is common knowledge that carrots help in night vision. But eating a plant-based diet does more than that. Grapes, spinach, kale, and corn contain pigments called zeaxanthin and lutein which help prevent cataracts and retinal degeneration.
7) For Smooth Skin
Animal products contain saturated fats which clog the pores of the skin, and damage it. The vitamins, phyto-chemicals, and pigments in plant-based products do the opposite.
For instance, the sweet potato is a great food to smooth out wrinkles. They contain vitamin c which triggers the production of collagen, a hormone necessary for smooth skin. Tomatoes, on the other hand, contain lycopene which protects the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Contrary to popular opinion, a plant-based diet is not for vegetarians only. Neither is it for fitness enthusiasts or people wishing to lose weight. It is for everyone. Shifting from meat and dairy products to fruits and vegetables comes with many benefits that everybody should consider if they want to live a healthier life.