If you are confused about which diet to choose for the well being of your family – we understand. Every other day there seems to be new information on the internet suggesting red wine, butter, bacon, and animal fat is actually beneficial whereas green vegetables may not be. In the midst of this, it might be challenging to figure out which diet plan to follow.
In this article:
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
In theory, plant-based diets seem to be the healthiest. A plant-based diet is one where you ideally should derive your entire calorie intake from whole plant foods that are fresh. They should be minimally processed or not processed at all. It means giving up oily food, junk food, and animal protein completely.
What not to Eat in a Plant-Based Diet?
However, there are various degrees and varieties of a plant-based diet. Some people may choose a vegetarian diet where they can choose to eat dairy products like cow milk and goat cheese, and even eggs. Vegans reject any product that is not directly derived from plants, and so they do not consume dairy products. In a plant-based diet that is not strictly vegan or vegetarian, you can focus more on consuming whole plant foods while minimizing the consumption of meat, poultry, and seafood.
Meal Plan for a Plant-Based Diet
A plant-based diet should include five main food categories:
- Fruits: Apples, figs, banana, strawberry, orange, watermelon are suggested fruits. They are high in water content and rich in vitamins and minerals. They will provide essential nutrition for the body.
- Vegetables: Lettuce, Kale, collar, pepper, green peas and corn are some of the healthiest vegetables you can include in your meal. They are extremely filling and healthy. A million tasty recipes can be prepared using them.
- Tubers: Sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, beets are essential tubers to be included.
- Whole Grains: Millet, quinoa, unprocessed oats, whole wheat, barley, brown rice are low-calorie Whole grains are a good source of fiber that takes care of your digestive system.
- Legumes: Kidney beans, black beans, lentils, chickpeas are an important source of protein and important minerals.
7 Amazing Health Benefits of Plant-Based Diet
Let’s look at seven health benefits of a plant-based diet:
Boosts your Immune System
Plants have important nutrients like minerals and vitamins that are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants that cleanse toxicity from your body and make your immune system healthy. They strengthen you to fight off bacterial and viral infections.
Vitamin C, Vitamin B1. Vitamin B2 and Vitamin E are the most important immune boosters which strengthen the white blood cells to attack antigens and foreign substances if they invade the body. A plant-based diet is the best source of these vitamins.
Reduces Unwanted Inflammation in the Body
The phytochemicals, antioxidants, and vitamins in the body remove unwanted side effects of toxins. Avoiding junk and fried food itself reduces the chances of the body’s cell and tissue damaged by inflammation. Fruit juices, especially pineapple, lemon, and cherry contain chemicals that induce the production of anti-inflammatory enzymes. Sugar high food, trans fat and processed meat are to be avoided to reduce inflammation chances, which is exactly what a plant-based diet recommends.
High Fibre Content of Plant-Based Food
Wholewheat breakfast cereal, carrots, potatoes with skin, nuts, peas, and pulses are rich in fiber. Our body needs 25 grams to 38 grams of fiber each day. A good amount of fiber is necessary for the smooth functioning of our body as it serves as an important tool to pass unwanted waste. Without enough roughage, problems in the digestive tract would arise.
Effectively and Healthily Lose Weight
We all know lesser calories and more physical activity will lead to weight loss, but it is a difficult diet to sustain for a long time in real life. Weight loss has to be a lifestyle choice if one has to look at its long term effectiveness. This is why a plant-based diet is an excellent diet plan to follow. Protein requirements can be met through limited consumption of eggs, fish, and chicken. If you want to cut down on meat consumption, go for tofu and other protein substitutes.
Prevention of Diabetes
Under the condition of diabetes, your body develops insulin resistance, which is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can wreak havoc to all body systems including the nervous system, digestive system, and respiratory system. A plant-based diet can control high blood sugar levels as it eliminates processed sugar and meat.
Improves Heart Health
The Harvard Health Research Department found after a massive survey conducted over 110000 people that the ones who maintained a plant-based diet focusing on fruits and vegetables for 14 years showed significantly lesser risks of cardiovascular diseases. Cholesterol and high blood pressure levels also harm heart health, but that can be kept under check with a plant-based diet. Berries, walnuts, almond, kale, legumes, and spinach are good for the heart.
Keeps Your Vision and Skin Healthy
We all know that good nutrition inside manifests its good effects on the outside. Vitamin C is important for good vision, and carrots, oranges are a good source of them. Kale, corn, squash, kiwi are also plant-based foods that reduce the chances of developing cataracts. Saturated fat and processed food clog pores of our skin, which causes pimples and acne. The tomatoes contain lycopene that reduces the chances of sunburn in our skin and the healthy nourishment provided by the plant-based diet reduces marks of aging like pigmentation and wrinkles. Also, drink plenty of water.
Thus it is clear that a plant-based diet should lead to a long term healthy lifestyle devoid of illnesses. However, if you do have concerns regarding allergies, diseases, restrictions or getting enough nutrition it is best to consult a nutritionist or doctor with knowledge of your medical history.