Plant-based eating food patterns focus primarily on plants.The diet not only includes fruits and vegetables but also it includes nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes and beans. This doesn’t mean that you are a vegetarian rather you are choosing more foods from plant sources.
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet involves consuming foods mostly from plants. Some people term this as a vegan diet which involves avoiding animal products. For others, a plant-based diet means that plant food, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes which are the main focus of their diet, but they can sometimes occasionally consume meat, fish, or any dairy products. A plant-based diet also focuses on healthful whole food, rather than processed food.
A plant-based diet can provide some possible health benefits, which include:
Research shows that individuals who eat primarily plant-based foods tend to have lower body mass index (BMI) and lower rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease than those who eat meat. Plant-based diets are rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates and the water content of fruit and vegetables. This can help people feel fuller for longer and increase their energy use when they rest.
Lower the risk of Heart disease
Research has shown that people who followed a healthy plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts had a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease than those who followed non-plant-based diets. However, unhealthful plant-based diets, including sugary drinks, fruit juices, and refined grains, were associated with a slight increase in diet.
Eating the right types of food is critical to heart disease prevention when following a plant-based diet. Eating less meat can help in reducing the risk of :
- High blood pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
Some studies suggest that diets rich in vegetables and fruits can help delay or prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. Plant-based diets have greater proportions of plant compounds and antioxidants, which have been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and reverse cognitive deficits. In many studies, a higher intake of fruits and vegetables has been strongly associated with a reduction in cognitive decline.
Diabetes Prevention and treatment
A plant-based diet will help people in preventing and managing diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing insulin resistance. People who are on a vegetarian diet which include dairy and eggs also had lower the risk of type 2 diabetes than meat-eaters.
Eight ways to kick start with Plant-based diet
Some tips to start with plant-based diets are:
Eat plenty of vegetables: Try to fill half of your plate with vegetables during lunch and dinner time. Make sure to include plenty of colors while choosing your veggies.
Reduce the consumption of meat: Try to have a very small very amount of meat rather than making it the centrepiece.
Choose good fats: Fats in olive oils, olives, nuts and nut butter, seeds and avocados are really healthier choices.
Try to consume vegetarian meals at least once a week: Try to build up these meals around beans, whole grains and vegetables.
Try to include whole grains for breakfast: Start your day with oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat or barley. Try to add some nuts or seeds along with some fresh fruits to eat.
Foods to eat
If a person is focusing on the plant-based diet he should focus on these food groups:
|Fruits||Vegetables||Legumes||Seeds||Nuts||Healthy fats||Whole grains||Plant-based milk|
Vitamin B-12 is a vital nutrient for healthy blood and cells. B-12 deficiency may lead to anemia and nerve damage. B-12 is present in many animal products, but not in many food products of plant origin. People who eat vegan or even vegetarian diets may consider taking B-12 supplements or consuming B-12 fortified products. Food includes certain cereals, vegetable-based milk and nutritional yeast.
People following a plant-based diet may need to ensure that they get enough iron in their diet because it has a lower bioavailability in plants than in meat. Plant-based foods which are a good source of iron include:
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
Consuming proteins from a variety of food sources can help to provide all the necessary amino acids for good health. This can include:
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential as they help to reduce inflammation, memory loss, and other chronic conditions, such as heart disease. Fish, seafood and animal products, such as eggs, are among the primary sources of EPA and DHA.
Mistakes to be avoided if you are on a plant-based diet
Transition to a more plant-based diet is one of the best things you can do for your body and the planet. Here are some common mistakes that a person should avoid while on a Plant-based diet:
Not Easing Into Plant-Based Eating
An unexpected health scare may motivate someone to go fully plant-based overnight. Everyone knows that a plant-based diet is a healthy, sustainable and compassionate way to eat and abrupt changes may not be the best course of action. For starters if someone who eats a low-fiber diet will suddenly increase fiber too quickly can lead to GI upset. In addition, an initial burst of enthusiasm can fade if you put too much pressure on yourself and your family to make changes at once. Instead, experts are recommending that we move forward at a pace that seems reasonable.
Obsessing Over protein
One of the great benefits of getting protein from plants is that it promotes better health and longevity than protein from animal food. Many of the vegetable substitutes for meat, chicken and fish which contain about the same amount of protein as the animal products that are replaced. Other protein-rich plant foods include lentils, beans, tofu, seed and nuts.
Focusing more on perfection then progress
Perfection has been overrated. Every small step you take towards a more ecologically sustainable, kinder, healthier way of eating is a step worth celebrating. We all need to move at a pace that makes us feel safe and comfortable.
Eating a larger diet in plant foods and lower in animal products may have several health benefits, which include weight loss or maintenance and a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. If people want to switch to a plant-based diet, they can begin by gradually reducing their intake of meat and dairy products. Eating a full vegetable meal once a week or swapping a single animal product for a plan.