Many of the top health issues we face today are impacted by the choices we make each day. Issues like diabetes and heart related diseases, for example, can be prevented or reversed through lifestyle adjustments. As a result, many folks are exploring the benefits of eating more plant based meals as a long-term healthy way of life.
If you’re considering switching to a plant based diet, it’s important to know your options.
- Vegetarian: no meat and reliance on plant-based protein
- Vegan: no animal products at all, only plant-based options
- Raw vegan: only raw vegan foods
- Flexitarian: some meat but minimal, mostly plant-based choices
Each of these will reap benefits of eating more plant based by reducing, limiting, or eliminating meat from your daily diet.
Lowers your blood pressure
Several studies highlight the correlation between a vegetarian diet and lower blood pressure. One study reported that, on average, those who chose a vegetarian diet had lower blood pressure than those who followed an omnivorous diet. Other research revealed that those who follow this nutrition plan have a 34% lower risk of developing hypertension than those who eat meat. High blood pressure is directly linked to metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes, so this is one of the notable health benefits of eating more plant based.
Keeps your heart healthy
Similar to the onset of metabolic syndrome and diabetes, a plant based diet may prevent the onset of heart disease. Excess saturated fat in your diet can lead to cardiovascular disease. In 2019, The Journal of the American Heart Association found that one of the benefits of eating more plant based is the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease by 16 percent and reduce death by 31 percent. This benefit requires healthy food replacements to meat, however, not refined, sugar-filled replacements by including plenty of legumes, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats in your daily diet.
Supports your immune system
One of the benefits of eating more plant based is the added nutrients your body only gets from plants. Phytonutrients, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals are abundant in plants and are essential to the health of your body. “Plants give your body what it needs to help fight off infection,” says Andrea Murray, MD Anderson health education specialist. “A plant-based diet strengthens your immune system to protect you against germs and microorganisms.” Cancer prevention is boosted with a healthy immune system, so choosing a plant based diet is another lifestyle choice with significant impact on your health.
Helps maintain a healthy weight
One of the default benefits of eating more plant based is removing many of the foods that lead to weight gain. With better choices and more vegetables in your day, you are more likely to stay at a healthy weight by eating less processed foods that cause heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and other health related issues. Packing your plate with plant based foods means including more fiber in your day for greater satiety as well.
If you’re contemplating making a change to your diet, consider the benefits of eating more plant based. Then, choose which of the four options are right for you: vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, or flexitarian.