Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

A plant-based diet has a number of different health benefits, so much so that many people have ditched animal products completely and gone vegan or vegetarian. A vegetarian diet ranks #4 in best plant-based diets, while a vegan diet ranks #9 among plant-based diets, so let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of this way of eating.

A plant-based diet has a number of different health benefits, so much so that many people have ditched animal products completely and gone vegan or vegetarian. A vegetarian diet ranks #4 in best plant-based diets, while a vegan diet ranks #9 among plant-based diets, so let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of this way of eating.

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Blood Pressure

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is known as one of the world’s most deadly silent killers. You could be walking around with high blood pressure and not even know it. However, it can be easily detected with routine monitoring. The good news is that if you do suffer from high blood pressure, dietary changes can make a massive difference, including plant-based eating. Studies have shown that those who cut meat except for fish out of the dish had a 38% lower rate of hypertension. (1) Focusing on a whole-foods based diet with less salt and processed food can significantly benefit heart health and even help support weight loss which is another key aspect of getting blood pressure under control.

Cholesterol

By eliminating animal products from your diet and focusing on plant-based options, you will naturally help support healthy cholesterol levels. A dietary review found that plant-based diets and especially vegan diets are associated with much lower levels of cholesterol when compared to those who consumed meat. (2) One study even found that a plant-based diet was able to lower cholesterol by 12.5 mg/dL. (3) That’s impressive and something that any of us can achieve with adding more plant-based foods to our diet.

Cancer Prevention

Plant-based diets have long been known to help prevent or support those battling cancer. In fact, in 2013 The American Cancer Society stated that cancer survivors should follow a diet high in plant-based foods, and unrefined grains, and low in red and processed meats. Plant-based diets have been shown to positively affect breast, colon, and prostate cancer. (4) Here’s just one more reason to add more plant-based foods to your diet.

Digestion

For most, animal products are difficult to digest. They are much harder to break down than plant-based foods and they happen to sit in the digestive system for longer. Plant-based foods are high in fiber which naturally helps support better digestion as it will help to feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut and help to keep bowel movements regular.

Immune Health

With all of the antioxidant, phytonutrients, and fiber in a plant-based diet, it is no wonder that eating plant-based can help support the immune system. Antioxidants are excellent for fighting off free radicals in the body and combatting inflammation which happens to be at the root of nearly all disease. Some of the best immune-boosting plant-based options include blueberries, garlic, and dark leafy greens.

Weight Loss

Many people start a plant-based diet to help support weight loss efforts. If following a vegan diet, not only will you remove meat from your diet, but dairy products are also off-limits which can be very helpful for anyone trying to lose weight as dairy happens to be quite inflammatory. Not only that, but plant-based foods also happen to be much lower in calories, so you can eat more without adding extra calories to your diet. The fiber content of a plant-based diet is also another reason why this way of eating may be able to support healthy weight loss. When you bulk up your fiber intake, you will be less likely to overeat as it will fill you up faster than food that has little to no nutritional value.

The Difference Between a Vegetarian Diet & A Vegan Diet

When talking about a plant-based diet, there are a couple of different diets that come up. For the most part, people will follow a vegetarian diet which is more flexible or go completely vegan. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.

Vegetarian Diet: A vegetarian diet is a bit more flexible. Meat is removed from the diet, but some people still choose to enjoy dairy products and eggs. Vegan Diet: A vegan diet is a strict plant-based diet that eliminates all sources of animal products. This includes dairy, eggs, and fish. It is entirely based around plant-based foods.

Going plant-based or even including more plant-based foods to your diet has proven to have significant health benefits. It can be so beneficial that it can help ward off cancer, improve digestion, and even boost immune health. All of these things are critical to supporting overall wellness. Try reducing your animal-based products and swapping them out with some delicious plant-based options. Want to start cutting back your meat intake? Here are some great sources of plant-based proteins to get you started.

Plant-Based Protein Sources

  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Tempeh
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Spirulina

Resources

(1) Edwards (2017) How to Control Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

https://nutritionstudies.org/how-to-control-high-blood-pressure-and-hypertension/ (2) Medical Press. (2017) New meta-analysis finds a plant-based vegetarian diet is associated with lower cholesterol. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-meta-analysis-plant-based-vegetarian-diet-cholesterol.html (3) Physician’s Committee. Vegetarian Diet Is Associated with Lower Cholesterol Levels, According to Meta-Analysis in Nutrition Reviews.

https://www.pcrm.org/media/news/vegetarian-diet-is-associated-with-lower-cholesterol-levels-according-to-meta-analysis-in-nutrition(4) Mcdougall (2015) Research Shows That a Healthy Diet Will Slow or Stop Most Cancers.

https://www.forksoverknives.com/science-says-about-diet-and-cancer/#gs.RnAR288 (5) Best Plant-Based Diets.

https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-plant-based-diets