A plant based diet is one which avoids or restricts the use of meats and animal products such as dairy and eggs, with a focus on whole, unprocessed foods.
It’s widely known that a plant based diet, is the main way to reduce the destruction of the environment, helping us to massively reducing our carbon footprint.
A plant based diet is also the best way stand up for animal rights, helping to prevent the exploitation of billions of animals each year.
There is more good news when following a plant based diet. Not only can it be great for the planet and other sentient creatures that we share it with – it can have huge life-changing impacts on our personal health!
Here are 3 of the ways a plant-based diet can improve our health.
A diet rich in vitamins and minerals and other nutrients such as phytochemicals is essential for healthy skin. To get these nutrients, I suggest to my clients that they try to get as many colours as possible on their plate, from fruit and vegetables. For example they can get reds from fresh tomatoes and red bell peppers, greens from baby spinach and cucumbers, purples from blueberries, and beets and so on! This will help to ensure that they’re getting a big array of a variety of protective antioxidants, which are great for promoting healthy skin.
The intake of antioxidants through more fruit and vegetables can also have a hydrating and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. People who follow a plant based diet typically see great benefits to their skin complexion, whilst making the skin more elastic and look younger.
The increase in Vitamin A typically seen in a plant based diet is vital when it comes to boosting the skins health. Vitamin A supports the increase in blood flow to the skins surface giving it that fuller, younger look. Vitamin A can be found in sources of beta-carotene, such as in leafy greens, red peppers, carrots and spinach.
At the same time as ensuring lots of antioxidants into the body through the intake of fruit and vegetables, you’ll also be cutting out dairy and meat products which have been linked to causing hormonal imbalances and have been associated with the lead up of acne and other skin conditions.
Give a plant based diet a try and see how your skin feels, after just a couple of weeks!
Cholesterol and a Heart Health
Having high cholesterol in your blood is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
Our bodies need a small amount of cholesterol to function, but most of us make enough on our own without adding it to our diets through fatty meats.
Cholesterol is only found in animal foods. Therefore a plant based diets is without cholesterol from the diet, therefore people following a plant based diet have a tendency to have lower cholesterol levels.
A reduction in the amount of cholesterol from your diet, can support you to improve your cardiovascular health. This can be done by replacing meat with wholegrains, pulses, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
A plant based diet including more of such foods also results in a diet higher in fibre which can help to reduce bad cholesterol from your diet.
Though a plant based diet will reduce cholesterol levels, this is not to say that people who eat a plant based diet are cholesterol free because cholesterol is primarily created in the liver, not absorbed from the diet. Most experts agree that swapping fatty meats with plant-based foods is a healthy change.
Can Reduce Risk of Cancer
This is a very difficult and emotive subject to many of us, as it is likely we will know someone affected by cancer. Many studies show that a plant based diet is a way to help prevent the onset of some cancers, and can also help to treat cancer.
People following a plant based diet tend to have lower body fat than ‘western diet’ meat eaters and this will prevent some diseases which are linked to being over-weight and obesity.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also classified processed red meat as a probable carcinogen. A plant based diet does mean you will not be affected by cancer and disease but studies do suggest that a healthy balanced plant based diet can reduce the risk of many cancers and diseases.
When you replace animal products with plant-based ones, you're not only adding beneficial nutrients, but you're taking harmful ones out, too. Though you may not be looking to go 100% plant based in your diet, an increase in fruit and vegetables and legumes, and a reduction in red and processed meats, is likely to be a beneficial move to improve your health.
One important pointer is that not all plant based diets are equal, with plant based diets varying hugely in quality and therefore all will lead to health benefits if not done sensibly. An unplanned vegan diet may lack certain vitamins, and guidance is always useful when changing any diet.
This isn’t where the health benefits of a plant based diet stop. Many studies have shown that a plant based diet can help people meet their weight loss goals, improve their energy levels and can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Switching to a plant based life-style is relatively easy today, as all your needs can be met from your local supermarket and most restaurant provide good plant based options.
With nothing to lose and everything to gain, from a plant based diet, see how you can feel differently, once you see the benefits. I’m pretty sure you won’t look back!