Plant-based nutrition is still a new topic for many of us. Some of us have been transitioning into eating more plants for years, while others have been downright afraid of it or unsure it’s really more legit than just some trendy diet. Others have long understood that a plant-based diet protects the lives of others, while also bettering the earth and our health when eaten in a whole foods (non-processed) format.
The point is, we all got here somewhere, no matter what end of the spectrum we’re on,or what place in the middle we’re at. While we can’t state that a plant-based diet can cure many things, research proves there are many ways it’s the life-changing way to eat and live. Maybe you’re not here for the environmental benefits, or maybe you’re just here because it helps animals everywhere, no matter how small that may seem sometimes. Or, maybe you’re just looking for ways to clean up your diet and heard that plant-based nutrition was the smart way to go. Whatever the case, be glad you’re here, because no matter what reason brought you here, there are some major benefits that comes with plant-based nutrition.
Plant-based nutrition isn’t a hard concept, folks. It’s comprised of the radical idea, that well, you just eat whole, plant-based foods. Nothing to catchy, snazzy, or downright exciting about that, except that it’s been proven to benefit those who suffer five major forms of disease, some that might surprise you on just how much it can help.
This is what research says about plant-based nutrition and five major forms of disease all taking down our country, unless we wake up and smell the plants more often:
Let’s start with a biggie, shall we? Plant-based nutrition is now something the American Cancer Society promotes as the smart way to go. Meat, eggs, and dairy have all been linked to multiple types of cancer, including colon, ovarian, prostate, and breast cancer. Cancer is the mutation of abnormal cells, which grow quickly and out of control. IGF-1, the growth hormone found in animals that’s found so abundantly in dairy, has been shown to promote cancer cell growth in rapid forms. Dr. Joel Furhman, Dr. Neal Barnard, and Dr. Colin T. Campbell all state we could reduce our risk and even reverse some types of cancer if we ate a whole foods, plant-based diet. A whole foods, plant-based diet is full of all the right foods to fight cancer right where it starts: at the cellular process where what you eat is literally what you become.
Another biggie to tackle is Type 2 diabetes. That doesn’t mean those with Type 1 should ignore the research either. Both types of diabetes are worsened by insulin spikes, and animal foods promote insulin fluctuations much more than whole plant-based foods do, despite them getting their reputation for being low-carb and glycemic friendly. A diet that includes animal products has been shown to promote diabetes and inflammation that can worsen the disease. A plant-based diet can normalize blood sugar levels due to the high amounts of fiber and reduce inflammation, weight gain, and arterial plaque that comes from diabetes and is now promoted as the way to eat by many medical organizations.
Outside of weight gain from diabetes, obesity is a major form of disease that a plant-based diet can benefit. It’s been shown to promote the best weight maintenance over a long period of time, unlike quick-fix diets of canned tuna, egg whites, and Jello that work short-term, but over the long haul won’t last. Plants like whole grains, beans, greens, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and fruits all promote a healthy waistline, heart, and fill you up so you’re never hungry and resort to unhealthy eating patterns. A plant-based diet has helped people all over the world lose weight, and has been shown to be the most effective at helping individuals overcome food addictions and overeating.
4. Heart Disease
No one can argue the benefits of this health issue. What could be better for your heart than plants? NOTHING! Whole grains lower cholesterol and clear the arteries, beans and legumes do the same while providing protein and antioxidants, and veggies, leafy greens, and fruits all contain powerful antioxidants such as vitamins and minerals for the heart that animal foods never could. Nuts and seeds also contain healthy fats that happen to be free of cholesterol and that are also rich in anti-inflammatory protein and beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have confirmed that a diet high in whole foods, plant-based fibers reduces cardiovascular disease and has even been found to completely prevent and reverse heart disease.
5. Chronic Inflammation (Arthritis, Gout, Joint Pain)
Animal foods are very harsh to the body and promote inflammation that quickly leads to joint pain. They’re some of the most acidic to eat, they break down calcium in the bones, and can greatly reduce recovery time for those that are active, such as athletes. Animal foods are acidic by nature, and cooking them only exasperates their acidity. Chronic inflammation can greatly be reduced with a diet more rich in alkaline foods, such as those from plants. Greens,vegetables, herbs, seaweeds, some fruits and grains, and raw nuts and seeds are some of the best foods to eat to combat inflammation.
So as you can see, no matter why you’re here, you’ve made a good choice. Take a step each day and aim higher to eat more plants with each passing one. If you need help doing this, we’re glad to be of service! Check out: The Ultimate Guide to a Whole Foods Vegan Diet, Why We Don’t Need to Eat Animals to Be Healthy, How to Transition to a Plant-Based Diet, and How to Overcome Challenges When Learning to Eat a Plant-Based Diet.
Lead Image Source: Lemon, Basil and Tofu Stuffed Mushrooms