The plant-based diet has been trending recently owing to its multitudes of health benefits over the standard diet that includes meat and other animal products. However, this type of eating is not new as it has been followed for thousands of years in many oriental cultures and spiritual practices with the aim of not hurting or exploiting other living beings. Read on to know more about plant-based foods and diet.
The Definition Of Plant-Based Diet
A plant-based diet means to avoid eating every type of animal products and by-products; it can also be called a vegan diet. It centers around fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. There are different variations for this diet according to the types of plant-based food you eat; like whole foods diet where even slightly processed plant-based foods are excluded. Some people do follow a slightly flexible diet that includes some sort of animal products, and it can only be called mostly plant-based but not vegan according to dieticians.
Whole Food Plant-Based Diet
The big advantage of eating a whole food plant-based diet is the higher amounts of minerals, vitamins, and fibers contained in them; and this has the effect of bringing down unhealthy triglyceride levels. Also, it lowers blood sugar levels, making it easy to manage diabetes, and reduces the dependence on medicines. Apart from this, studies have shown it to lower the chances of developing cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. This is assumed to be due to the presence of higher amounts of antioxidants contained in certain kinds of plant-based foods. It helps to protect the cells and tissues from the damages due to free radicals and oxidative stress.
Switching To A Plant-Based Diet
Switching to a plant-based diet is not an overnight process, but it is a slow and incremental process. For example, you can start by first gradually replacing your favorite non-vegetarian dishes like fried chicken with lentils, tofu, and beans along with the chicken. As you get comfortable, you can start overhauling your diet with more plant-based food. However, one issue many complain about, at the beginning is that they eat more, and this is quite natural. It is because plant foods are less energy-dense compared to animal products and by-products. Also, when switching to a plant-based diet, ensure that you get enough protein and other key nutrients.
We hope that this article will help in you switching to a plant-based diet, and it is always recommended to consult with a dietician when doing it.