What’s your new year’s resolution? For the average person, getting healthier is at the top of the list. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or take better care of yourself, good nutrition is key. Surprisingly, the remedies for muscle aches, weight gain, and stress are right in your kitchen!
Plant-based foods—fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.—are naturally packed with the vitamins, antioxidants, and microbes our bodies need for proper digestion, growth, and recovery. We’ll show you six ways that plant-based foods can significantly improve your health and overall wellbeing.
Plant-based foods—fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.—are naturally packed with the vitamins, antioxidants, and microbes our bodies need for proper digestion, growth, and recovery.
The University of St. Augustine simplifies the benefits of a plant-based diet in their visual below, explaining how to easily incorporate these food groups into your regime. Let’s take a look at each benefit more in-depth:
1. Reduces Risk of Disease
Several major diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, have a close connection to our diet. Studies show that eating plant-based foods can reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and even medication intake for people with chronic conditions. Simple lifestyle changes, especially what you eat, can help lower your risk.
2. Promotes Healthy, Clearer Skin
Yes, you read that right! Plant-based foods can help protect the skin from pollution and other harmful toxins in the air that cause wrinkles and age spots. Most fruits and plants have high concentrations of water, antioxidants, and Vitamin-C. All of these provide nourishment to the skin and promote the growth of healthy skin cells.
3. Improves Mental Health
Did you know that nuts, fruits, and vegetables are natural mood-boosters? Plant-based foods are shown to positively impact your mental health. This includes reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health!
4. Reduces and Relieves Inflammation
Inflammation is a warning signal to the body that something is wrong. A little bit of inflammation, such as swelling from an injury or allergy, is normal. Constant inflammation, however, relates to something serious, including chronic illness. Plant-based foods such as beans, nuts, and whole grains are rich in Vitamin E, Zinc, both of which have natural anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Boosts Physical Performance
Did you know that the body begins to lose muscle as early as age 30? Muscle-loss can worsen if lacking exercise and proper nutrition. Plant-based foods have positive physiological effects, such as improving blood flow to the tissue, reducing excess body fat, and relieving pain. Thanks to the beta carotene and other minerals that plants naturally carry, our bodies can use them for muscle support and recovery.
6. Regulate Digestion and Gut Health
Many plant-based foods, especially leafy green vegetables, are packed with good microbes (microorganisms) that aid digestion and improve our metabolic rate. These microbes enable our bodies to properly remove wastes and detoxify our intestines that would otherwise linger and weaken our immune system!
You don’t have to go completely vegetarian or vegan to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet. Adopting a plant-based diet can be gradual, such as using whole grain bread, swapping out your dairy milk with almond milk, and snacking on nuts during lunch. You can also try creative dinner themes such as ‘meatless-Mondays.’ Anything that helps you incorporate more plant-based meals into your day!
Infographic courtesy of University of St. Augustine
Are you following a plant-based diet?
What are your favorite dishes?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.