Plant-based meals have become very popular these days. But what has made it so hot among the people? Many health and wellness experts believe that it is because of the increased awareness of the environmental and health benefits that plant based diet plans offer.
What does a plant-based diet mean exactly? Is it the same as being a vegan or vegetarian? Or doe it means adding more veggies to your meals? Let us see the details of a plant-based diet plan.
Following A Plant-Based Meal
All the above interpretations about a plant-based meal are technically correct. Some of us use a plant-based diet as a synonym to vegan diet plans and others may use the term to refer to vegetarian meals. There are also others who use plant-based to refer to diets that mostly include plant food.
The main idea of following a plant-based diet is to make plant foods the core of your diet. A plant-based diet includes vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based food items and limits the use of eggs, meat and dairy. More restrictions could be introduced depending on the level of strictness that you want. You can completely avoid foods sourced from animals or just reduce the consumption based on your preference.
You can think of plant based diets as an umbrella term with other more specific diets under it. For instance, the Mediterranean diet can be considered a version of the plant-based diet. Vegan and vegetarian diets are also plant-based.
What Does Science Say About Plant Based Meals?
Many people move to a plant based diet for the health benefits that it offer. These diets can offer many cardiac benefits like reduced levels of cholesterol and some of the studies also show that plant-based diets can mitigate the risks of developing type 2 diabetes and may improve fertility. A review that was published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care suggested that having a plant-based diet can positively impact the physical and emotional well-being, general health and quality of life of people living with type 2 diabetes.
As per a review that was published in Nutrients, having a plant-based diet can help reduce the potential risks of cancer and heart diseases in Black Americans. Some researches also suggest that a diet that is rich in plant proteins can lower the rate of early death. A review of studies published in the BMJ revealed that people whose diets mostly contained plant based protein had a six percent lower risk of premature death when compared to those who had less protein.
What To Eat And What To Limit?
Shared below are some of the foods that you can include in your plant based diet plans.
- Fruits like watermelon, avocado, grapes, strawberries, oranges, blueberries, grapes and banana.
- Nuts like walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, and macadamia nuts.
- Vegetables like sweet potatoes, kale, broccoli, swiss chard, collard green, spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes and asparagus.
- Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, quinoa, and farro.
- Seeds including chia seeds, hemp seeds and flaxseed.
Some of the food items that you need to avoid when on a plant-based diet are:
- All dairy products including cheese and milk.
- Poultry and meat
- Animal products like eggs, meat and dairy items if you are on a vegan diet
- Processed animal meat items like hot dogs and sausages
- Refined grains
- Sweetened beverages
Benefits Of A Plant Based Diet
More Fiber Intake
Fiber plays a major role in regulating digestive health and preventing diseases. Eating more fiber can offer you many health benefits like reduced risk of heart problems and type 2 diabetes, and healthier body weights.
Many studies show that people on a plant-based diet have low fat percentage. Moreover, plant-based diets are rich in fiber and can help you keep full for along time, thereby helping you to lose weight easily.
Lowered Risk Of Chronic Diseases
People who are on a plant-based diet usually have a decreased risk of diabetes, heart problems and even some types of cancers. This is largely due to the high fiber content of plant-based diets.
Quick Cook Proteins
There are many healthy no-cook proteins in a plant-based diet. For instance, dried and canned lentils are a healthy protein option that is shelf-stable. You just need to drain and rinse the canned lentils or beans to use them. Nuts and nut butter are also easy and healthy sources of proteins.
We hope that now you have a clear idea about plant-based diets and the health benefits that these offers. Many people are now switching to plant-based diets for the health and environmental benefits these diets offer. You can also follow suit without wasting time.