You have likely heard about plant-based diets, and how they are becoming more and more popular. A 2017 report found that six percent of Americans now identify as vegan, compared with just one percent in 2014. Whether you choose to follow a plant-based diet due to digestive sensitivities or because you are looking to eat cleaner, you likely already know the benefits associated with this unique lifestyle. If you are considering eating a more plant-based diet, you may be wondering whether or not it is the right option for you. Let's review what exactly plant-based diets are and the benefits that they offer.
What Are Plant-Based Diets?
Let’s begin at the beginning, a healthy, plant-based diet aims to maximize consumption of nutrient-dense plant foods while minimizing processed foods, oils, and animal foods, including dairy products. A typical plant-based diet includes grains, beans and lentils, fruits, and a large amount of vegetables. A plant-based diet is rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and hydration. Eating more whole-food plant-based meals replaces unhealthy, processed foods that offer little nutritional value that are common in our modern day food system.
The Benefits of Plant-Based Diets
There are many benefits linked to plant-based diets. Here are some of the main benefits you could reap by making the switch.
Helps With Crohns Disease & Ulcerative Colitis
With a chronic illness like crohns disease or ulcerative colitis, plant-based diets can be very helpful. Dairy can be harsh on the digestive tract for many with this condition, and meat requires a lot of work from the body in order to be able to digest it. For people with crohns or UC, eating plant-based foods and avoiding dairy and meat can give your digestive tract a much-needed rest. Additionally, avoiding processed foods, and dairy and animal products, can help reduce inflammation.
Plant-based foods are high in dietary fiber, which allow for larger and more frequent bowel movements and decreased transit time — the amount of time it takes for the food you eat to be fully digested. Research has shown an association between decreased bowel transit time and decreased incidence of colon cancer and other painful health problems.
Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
Plant-based diets are ideal for fighting hypertension. Doctors commonly recommend that patients with hypertension follow diets high in vegetables and fruits, as these foods have been shown to actually help lower your blood pressure. Hypertension, when not properly controlled, can have numerous long-term, negative side effects, many of which can be prevented with a plant-based diet.
Improves Heart Health
Eating mostly or only fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains may reduce your risk of getting heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type two diabetes, compared to a diet that includes a lot more meat and processed foods.
These are just a few of the many benefits you receive from switching to a plant-based diet. By eating the right foods, you can significantly improve your health and well-being. Be sure to try the first wheat-free and plant-based cereal, PURPO! Made with ingredients that have functional health properties and promote regularity, these granola cups are a great snack for your plant-based diet.