What is a Plant-Based Diet?

What-is-a-Plant-Based-Diet

As health and wellness concerns rise more people are looking to introducing more plant-based foods in their diets because of its health benefits. Research has shown plant-based diets can lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, compared to diets high in animal products. (Source: Harvard Health Publishing, Oct. 2019)

Creating healthy habits start from simple changes and aiming for a more plant rich diet can generate a change in mindset and behavior, especially because it can trigger changes to hormones that control your mood. Also, when introducing more whole foods to your plate you will be teaching your mind and your taste buds to new flavors and you can even train them to like healthier foods.

A healthy plant-based meal should consist of proper portions of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy protein, and healthy oils. What does this look like? The Harvard Health Eating Plate is a helpful visual guide created by nutrition experts at Harvard School of Public Health and editors at Harvard Health Publishing.

Plant-Based Diet vs Vegan Diet

Different from a Vegan Diet, a Plant-Based Diet can have many variations, but they all have in common that the focus is introducing more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to your diet.

Vegan Diet: Eliminates all animal products, including dairy, meat, poultry, fish, eggs and honey. Many people opt to follow a vegan lifestyle for ethical and environmental issues as well.

Plant-Based Diet: Focus on eating mostly plants, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grain, and oils. Here you decide whether to consume animal products. It also emphasizes on eating whole foods (minimally processed).

“A whole-food and plant-based diet lets you meet your nutritional needs by focusing on natural, minimally-processed plant foods.” – Beginner’s Guide to a Plant- Based Diet, Fork Over Knives Blog.

Health Benefits of Plant-Based Diet

A diet rich in plant foods and ingredients has been linked to many aspects of improved health and wellness.

  • Heart-Healthy: A healthy plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, legumes and nuts can significantly lower risk of developing heart disease.
  • Cancer Prevention: Research suggest that following a plant-based diet may reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
  • Reverse Cognitive Deficits: Some studies suggest that diets rich in vegetables and fruits may help slow or prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.
  • Diabetes Prevention: Adopting a Plant-Based Diet may be an effective way to manage and reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
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