Plant-based nutrition has maintained the spotlight… and for good reason.
Yes, like with all “diets” or trendy nutritional plans, not all of the information that floats around is accurate or specific to you. So, before you step foot into any revitalized nutrition regimen, make yourself familiar with the following:
- Food is fuel; you eat to stay energized. The foods that are a regular part of your daily nutrition need to make you feel this way.
- Nutrition is a personal journey and not every plan or recommendation is going to be best suited for you. Foster an experimental mindset with your nutrition and really listen to your body.
- Science is science. Look at the facts to validate your nutrition, not social media. Talk to nutrition professionals, certified health and fitness trainers and read research-backed articles. These are essential resources for any person on a health and fitness journey.
With that said, what better way to proceed than with fact?
Here are 5 research supported benefits to plant-based nutrition:
- Plant-based nutrition promotes cognitive health.
Plants are loaded with antioxidants, compounds that help reduce cellular damage. They are prominent in blueberries, kale, strawberries, artichokes, pecans and dark chocolate, amongst other fruits, vegetables and nuts.
The rate of cellular damage is directly linked to the rate at which cognitive functions are impaired.
So in sum, plant-based nutrition can boost your brainpower and reduce your risk of cognitive impairment and dementia as you age.
- Plant-based food reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer.
It is widely known that plant-based diets reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
One scientific review found that eating a plant-forward, vegetarian diet reduced risk of cardiovascular heart disease by 40%. The same study also found that the same diet reduced risk of hypertension (a common risk factor of cardiovascular disease) by 34%.
- Plant-based nutrition reduces inflammation.
Plants are packed with essential nutrients. These nutrients pose countless benefits to your body, including reduction in inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for numerous health issues and illnesses, including cancer and arthritis.
- Whole foods promote healthy rates of cellular aging.
Over-priced skin care products and the occasional facial will only get you so far.
Plant-based diets that are low in processed foods may very well be the best anti-aging tool out there.
Exactly how you ask?
While aging is visible on the surface, it starts from within. By promoting healthy rates of cellular aging, plant-based nutrition may help preserve the “youth” of your cells, delaying the physical changes that are associated with aging.
- Plant forward nutrition helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity is a risk factor for so many of the diseases and illnesses that can be detrimental to your wellbeing - cardiovascular heart disease, cancer and diabetes to name a few.
The most effective way to achieve and maintain healthy weight is to eliminate processed foods from your diet, to eat in appropriate proportions and to incorporate a heavy load of plants into every meal.
So go ahead and make that run to the grocery store. Avoid the aisles stacked high in salty snacks, cereals and sugar, and make your way to the produce section. Your mind, body, youth and longevity will thank you.
But Keep In Mind…
Plant-based nutrition requires a lot of planning. You need to take the necessary steps to ensure your body is getting the right nutrients and in the right proportions.
A common concern for those committed to vegetarian or vegan plant-based nutrition is protein.
Meat is by no means the only sound protein source. However, if you are plant-forward and feel your protein intake needs a boost, it is a good idea to invest in a high-quality, plant-based protein powder. By doing so, you set your mind and body up for optimal energy and a well-supported fitness journey.