Today, many people are being encouraged to switch to plant-based diets. These diets are known to help people maintain healthier body weight, reduce the chance of developing heart disease, and help with other chronic conditions.
The CEO of Modern Meat, Tara Haddad of Vancouver, BC, explains the health benefits of a plant-based diet and how it can help protect you well into the future.
Eating a Plant-Based Diet Lowers BMI
According to a 2020 study published in the medical journal Nutrients, vegans and vegetarians have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) than people who consume animal products. The study found that as the frequency of eating animal products in the diet decreased, so did the average BMI.
People with a lower BMI are less prone to diseases related to obesity. Many of these diseases are less common among people who eat plant-based diets largely.
Vegan diets, in particular, rely on whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and seeds. These foods have more antioxidants, fiber, folate, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and E. This could lead to better health. For example, Modern Meat uses pea proteins as the major protein source for their plant-based meat products.
Lower Chance of Developing Type 2 Diabetes
Non-plant-based foods can negatively impact insulin resistance and blood sugar levels. This could hasten the onset of Type 2 diabetes in vulnerable populations. The effect of plant-based diets on body weight as described above is also another important factor in preventing Type 2 diabetes and keeping prediabetes from advancing into Type 2.
Better Kidney Function
Particularly among people with Type 2 diabetes, Tara Haddad reports that a plant-based diet can improve kidney function and prevent kidney disease. A vegetarian diet may be able to keep the kidneys functioning properly with a lower renal acid load and with renal hyperfiltration.
Better Protection Against High Blood Pressure
Plant-based diets reduce the risk of high blood pressure by 34 percent. Vegan and vegetarian diets are responsible for lower systolic and diastolic pressures when compared to diets where animal products are included.
This happens because many fruits and vegetables contain high levels of potassium and lower levels of fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Avoiding added fats, especially those from red meat and dairy, reduces the blood’s thickness and blood pressure.
Protection Against Heart Disease
High blood pressure can be a precursor to heart disease. A plant-based diet can protect against developing serious forms of heart disease. A 2018 study in the medical journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases found that plant-based diets reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 40 percent. It lowers cholesterol and LDL-C levels.
Scientists and physicians believe that plant-based diets have the power to prevent and sometimes even reverse heart disease. A healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce the risk of heart attack by up to 94 percent, while medications alone can only lower it by 20 to 30 percent.
Lower Risk of Some Types of Cancer
A plant-based diet can also lower your risk of developing certain types of cancer. This may happen because people who eat plant-based diets eat far more fiber than those who eat mostly animal products. Fiber is protective against breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
Plant chemicals known as phytochemicals may also help prevent cancer. An increase in plant-based foods in the diet could be a stepping stone to better health.
Better Mental Health
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions lead to many missed workdays and other serious problems. Doctors claim that eating a plant-based diet reduces the risk of anxiety and depression as well as fatigue. It should be noted that people who eat plant-based diets are also more likely to receive the recommended amount of physical activity, contributing to better mental health.
Harvard Medical School researchers found in a 2020 study that eating more plant-based proteins was associated with longevity. Getting as little as 3 percent more of a person’s total calories as plant protein lowered their risk of premature death by up to 5 percent. Replacing red meat and eggs with plant-based proteins could reduce the risk of death by up to 24 percent.
Switching to a Plant-Based Diet
Tara Haddad encourages you to research the benefits of a plant-based diet for yourself and to talk to your doctor about the possibility of changing the way you eat. Plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the risk of many dangerous diseases, improve mood, and lengthen lifespans. It seems like an easy decision when it comes to switching to a plant-based diet.
As with all dietary changes, it is wise to speak with your doctor before making major updates. Your doctor will most likely be pleased that you want to eat plant-based foods, but they may want to give you some nutritional pointers.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTimes