Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
A plant-based, whole food way of eating focuses on consuming plant-derived, real foods that are unrefined and minimally processed. This means pure, unadulterated ingredients that are in their original form. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are the main dietary staples. These are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals and provide an abundance of nutrients for your body. Following a plant-based lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean fully avoiding animal products like a vegan or vegetarian. For plant-based eaters, animal proteins can fit into the lifestyle, yet they serve as more of a supporting role to your veggies and whole grains. So, what are the benefits of plant-based nutrition?
About 1 in 3 American adults suffers from high blood pressure, meaning they’re at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. A diet loaded with fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure.
Harvard researchers tracked the health habits of about 209,000 people for over two decades and found that the higher the intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower their chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Specifically, people who averaged eight-plus servings of fruits and veggies a day were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke, compared to those who had less than 1.5 daily servings.
By eating a plant-based, whole food diet you’re cutting out the high sugar, highly processed foods that are shown to cause weight gain. An added bonus is that this nutrition plan is rich in fiber, which helps you stay full for longer and can assist in weight loss. When you give your body the nutrients it really needs, it’s easier to no longer crave foods that taste good but only provide empty calories.
Cutting back on animal products also means skipping much of their saturated fats, which are notorious for clogging pores. Plus, many of the vitamins, pigments and phytochemicals in fruits and veggies contribute to healthy skin. The lycopene in tomatoes, for example, helps protect your skin from sun damage, and the vitamin C in sweet potatoes smooths wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen.
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