The positive effects of eating fewer animal foods are almost too many to name, but instead of focusing on animal foods, let’s just chat about some amazing facts about a plant-based diet. If you think plants are boring, I have great news for you: they’re some of the most versatile ingredients you can use in your kitchen, with limitless meal options. You can combine any type of plant food and come up with creative, filling, and nourishing dishes in no time. If you’re still on the fence about a meatless, vegetarian, or even vegan diet, check out some amazing facts about a plant-based diet and then make the decision that's best for you.
1. Prevents Disease
Research across the boards has found that one of the most amazing facts about a plant-based diet is that it prevents disease of all kinds, from heart disease to cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Note though, that this obviously means including whole plant-based foods in your diet, not processed options. Whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens are the ultimate foods to reverse disease since they have no cholesterol of any kind and they help remove cholesterol and toxins from the body.
2. Reverse Disease
If preventing disease isn’t enough, a plant-based diet also helps reverse disease, including diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart disease. A plant-based diet rich in whole plant foods essentially changes the way your entire body works. Why don’t doctors promote this instead of medicine? Mostly because they didn’t learn it in medical school. Yet studies from 1995 to 2010 show countless cases of cancer that has been averted or dramatically slowed all by nothing more than eating a plant-based diet.
3. Good GI Health
Vegetables, beans, leafy greens, fruit, nuts, seeds, and whole grains all feed the good bacteria in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which optimizes digestive function. The more healthy bacteria you have in your digestive system, the healthier your entire body will be. Your immune system is actually housed in your gut, so when it becomes overwhelmed with unhealthy bacteria, you get sick and your immune system becomes weaker. The fibers and carbohydrate in plants contain pre-biotics that feed healthy bacteria, known as probiotics. Animal foods, on the other hand, contain harmful bacteria of many kinds, along with toxins produced during production.
4. Sense of Well-Being
Many people with depression have reported they notice a dramatic amount of relief from depression after switching to a plant-based diet. Many foods like dairy, eggs, and meat contain hormones and are also highly acidic, which triggers inflammation that leads to fatigue, sluggishness, and overall pain.
Arthritis is caused by inflammation in the joints, therefore eating an anti-inflammatory diet can usually help treat it without medication. Some of the best plant-based foods to fight inflammation include leafy greens, raw walnuts, flax, chia, all green vegetables, and vegetables rich in Vitamin A and C such as berries, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, and pineapple.
6. Clear Skin
If the benefits above aren’t enough, then let’s talk vanity- a plant-based diet gives you killer skin! If you do nothing else for your skin, go dairy-free. It should clear up any skin issues you have within a week at the most. Next, eliminate eggs and red meat and you’ll be shocked at the benefits you see.
7. More Energy
Once transitioning to a plant-based diet you’ll notice an improved sense of energy and vitality, not to mention fewer health problems overall. You should be careful to eat a wide range of plant-based foods, and not rely on only a few sources or processed options. It’s also important all vegans and vegetarians supplement with a Vitamin B12 supplement, along with a high-quality vegan multivitamin. Garden of Life carries an entire line of food-based vegan vitamins and supplements that are also organic and non-GMO.
Transitioning to a plant-based diet is one of the best things you can do for your health and the planet. If you’ve gone plant-based, what benefits have you seen?