Plant-based diets have grown increasingly popular due to their positive impact on the environment, animals, and human health. But you might be curious as to their specifics and whether a plant-based diet might be right for you.
Studies have demonstrated the health benefits of adopting a plant-based diet can include reduced risks of heart disease, cancer, obesity and other medical issues – plus it can increase lifespan while helping you feel great!
1. It’s Good for the Environment
Plant-based diets can be one of the best decisions you make both for yourself and for the planet. What we eat has direct impacts on various environmental aspects – from land use and water consumption, through to greenhouse gas emissions.
Animal agriculture is the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, using over one-third of agricultural land and contributing to 18% of all global emissions.
Erosion and drought are also primary contributors. Deforestation accounts for an estimated 80% of Amazon deforestation.
Switching to a plant-based diet can dramatically decrease the land needed for livestock production, saving over 300 million hectares currently used by beef cattle farms worldwide.
2. It’s Good for Animals
Plant-based diets can benefit animals in several ways. Not only can they decrease demand for intensively farmed meat, dairy and eggs while protecting animals from stress.
Plant-based diets provide essential nutrients necessary for our wellbeing and happiness, such as proteins, vitamin B-12, calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. Together these nourishments support cell health while strengthening the immune system to combat infections, disease and environmental toxins.
Plant-based foods may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, helping prevent high levels of cholesterol which can cause build-up of waxy plaque in the arteries, increasing your risk for heart disease and other illnesses.
3. It’s Good for You
If you want to improve your health, eating more plant-based foods could be just what’s needed. These contain essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which will strengthen your immune system while decreasing inflammation.
Plant-based diets may also help lower your risk of obesity and diabetes as well as heart disease; in fact, according to one review of studies from 2019 conducted on plant-based diets may even be more effective at lowering cardiovascular disease risks than diets containing meat or dairy products.
Dieting on a plant-based diet allows you to obtain all of the essential nutrients, by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and seeds. These food sources are packed with fiber – essential for lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar.
Plant-based diets can be relatively straightforward to follow, but make sure to include more nutrient-dense foods like nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil as part of your daily meals for maximum weight management and to stay full for longer. Good fats will support a healthy weight while also keeping you feeling satisfied throughout the day.
4. It’s Good for the Budget
Plant-based diets can also be extremely cost-effective. Most plant-based foods contain whole, low-calorie and fiber rich foods that reduce grocery expenditure.
Dempsey suggests that diet can also help people struggling with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease manage their weight, reduce inflammation and decrease risk for cancer or other forms of chronic illness.
Vegetarian diets are among the most prevalent plant-based eating plans, and their variety encompass ovo-veg diets (consisting of eating eggs and honey without meat or dairy).
A vegan diet differs in that it omits all food products containing animal ingredients, like cheese, milk and honey. Instead, this diet emphasizes beans, nuts, seeds and grains as its staple foods; sometimes referred to as the “flexitarian” diet as it allows people to indulge in meat or other animal products from time to time.