Eating a plant-based diet was one of the fastest moving trends of 2017 and it's gaining even more traction in 2018. So you might be asking yourself, "why should I eat a plant-based diet?" Read on to discover why this age-old idea is coming on strong.
1. EATING PLANTS CAN PREVENT OR REVERSE MOST WESTERN DISEASES
These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and also, impotence.
• Artery Protection
When the goal is to eat plants, you're also cutting out processed foods, animal proteins and dairy, which reduces intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, both of which increase artery-damaging LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
Removing them from your diet also protects the endothelial cells that line the walls of your arteries, and helps keep them from releasing compounds that make arteries tighten.
• Revitalized Blood Vessels
Eating loads of leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collards helps your body produce new copies of the cells that line artery walls. Healthy arteries, in turn, produce loads of nitric oxide, a beneficial compound that keeps your blood vessels relaxed.
• A better "good bug" mix in your intestines
Cutting out red meat, eggs, dairy, and other animal proteins reduces the effects of "bad" bacteria in your digestive system that churn out a compound called TMAO, which creates inflammation that clogs your arteries.
• Better Blood Fats and Blood Sugar
A high fiber, low-fat, plant-focused eating plan can lower levels of heart-threatening triglycerides (a blood fat) as well as homocysteine (another compound that can raise heart attack risk). It also helps your body absorb blood sugar more easily.
• Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Food matters – what we eat on a regular basis can substantially raise or lower the level of chronic inflammation in our body, and this may be the reason why certain dietary patterns are associated with health while others are associated with higher rates of illness. Fruits, vegetables and whole wheat are believed to reduce levels of chronic inflammation. Read my article "Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet," to discover more.
2. IT HELPS YOU MAINTAIN OR LOSE WEIGHT
If you eat a plant-based diet that does not include added fat and oils or refined carbohydrates and processed food, you'll naturally tend to lose weight.
You will experience true hunger because your body will be getting all the nutrients and fiber it needs and won't keep asking you to eat more because they're missing. Dr. Fuhrman calls this "toxic hunger." A plant-based diet naturally makes you feel full.
3. IT'S BETTER FOR THE PLANET
Eating a plant-based diet changes the impact of food production on climate change by reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. (1) Grain-based livestock production–which involves clearing land and raising grain for animal feed, particularly in the world’s tropical regions–contributes 75% to the overall emissions from agriculture.
In addition, one pound of beef requires 5,000 gallons of water. (2) Whereas, one loaf of bread that weighs one pound requires 250 gallons of water to produce the wheat utilized in that loaf of bread. (3)
4. IT CONTRIBUTES TO LESS ANIMAL SUFFERING AND CRUELTY
The factory farming system of modern agriculture strives to maximize output while minimizing costs. This leads to a cruel system whereby animals suffer. By eating a plant-based diet with very little or no meat, you will reduce the amount of suffering.
5. IT'LL HELP YOU LIVE A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE
Since eating a plant-based diet is associated with decreased risk of numerous chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, circulatory disease and hypertension, studies are showing that eating this way will contribute to a longer, healthier life. (4)
In addition, people living in the "Blue" zones have measurably longer lives than those in other demographic areas of the world and what do they eat the majority of the time? You guessed it - a plant-based diet of mostly fruits and vegetables, whole grain and beans. They also are constantly moving, make family a top priority, stay socially active and smoke very little.(5)