8 Health Benefits to Eating More Plant-Based Foods
Eating more plant-based foods can improve your health and well-being.
There are new diet fads that come and go, some making headlines, others spread like wildfire on social media, but one that has been around for quite some time and has decades of data to back up the many advantages is plant-based eating. While going fully plant-based could help you reap many health benefits, it can also seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, by simply eating meatless a few times each week you can still improve your health, so this doesn’t need to be all or nothing.
By eating meatless a few days each week, you can look forward to improving your health. How, might you be wondering? Keep reading.
1. Improves your immune system
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts contain essential nutrients that you cannot get from other foods. The vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants in plant-based foods help keep your cells healthy and your body in balance so that your immune system can function at its best. Get started with these delicious plant-based foods that will better protect you from germs.
2. Reduces risk of cancer
Numerous studies have found a correlation between high meat consumption and an increased risk of cancer. In 2015, the World Health Organization placed processed meats like hot dogs and bacon in the same category of cancer risk as asbestos and smoking cigarettes. One study, in particular, concluded that compared to women who ate one serving of red meat a week, women who ate 1.5 servings of red meat a day had a 22 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer.
3. Reduces risk of heart disease
Countless studies have shown that people who eat a plant-based diet have a lower risk of dying from heart disease, the number one killer in Australia, when compared to those who consume high amounts of animal-based foods. The high fibre and nutrients in plant-based foods have been proven to prevent and reverse heart disease, improve cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
4. Reduces inflammation
The essential nutrients in plant-based foods work to resolve inflammation in your body. The same tiny phytochemicals and antioxidants that boost your immune system also neutralize toxins from pollution, processed food, bacteria, viruses and more. Long term, this can help protect your cells and tissue from damage that can lead to cancer and other inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
5. Lowers risk of diabetes
According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, people who eat as little as one serving of red meat a day, whether it is processed or unprocessed, have an increased chance of getting type 2 diabetes. In fact, they concluded that meat is “one of the most well-established dietary risk factors” for diabetes. That means even just modest consumption of red or processed meat significantly increases one's risk of type 2 diabetes.
6. Lowers cholesterol
Since harmful cholesterol that can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease is only found in animal-based foods, plant-based foods contain zero cholesterol. Want to lower your cholesterol and safeguard your health? Eat more plants.
7. Reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease
According to a 2016 report highlighted in The Express, British scientists found that a Western diet heavy in animal-based proteins increases one’s odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, Dr. Simon Ridley, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that studies have linked plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and nuts to better cognitive health.
8. Increases your overall lifespan
Researchers at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic reviewed multiple studies and found that those who ate plant-based for more than 17 years enjoyed an increase in life expectancy of 3.6 years. They concluded that “physicians should advise patients to limit animal products when possible and consume more plants than meat.”
Eating more delicious plant-based meals that are packed with nutritious fruits, veggies, nuts, and legumes isn’t just healthful, it’s also more sustainable and kinder to animals. Raising animals for food requires land for feed and grazing and is incredibly water intensive, not to mention the resultant pollution from manure. As for the animals themselves, sadly the vast majority are raised on factory farms where they’re treated as mere cogs in a machine. They’re subjected to brutal mutilations, extreme confinement, and the overuse of antibiotics.
It’s as clear as day, eating more plant-based foods and less meat, dairy, and eggs can improve one’s overall health, not to mention help the planet and reduce animal suffering.