It’s no secret that one factor to living an overall healthy life is the diet. Aside from lifestyle, the food you choose to intake every day plays a vital role in the quality of your health and life. While there are many diet plans out there, some people prefer to incorporate a plant-based diet, deeming it the best and the healthiest diet out there.
Let’s learn more about what is a plant-based diet, its benefits, and what food are allowed to be consumed.
What is a Plant-based Diet?
Just as its name implies, a plant-based diet consists of plant food, such as fruit, vegetables, grains, and legumes and excludes meat, dairy, and eggs.
However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that once you’ve decided to corporate a plant-based diet, you are already a vegan or vegetarian. It only means that you prefer to choose and eat more plant-based food.
Types of Plant-based Diets
There are different types of plant-based diets and you should choose one that works best for you!
- Semi-vegetarian or flexitarian. Includes eggs, dairy, and occasional consumption of meal, poultry, fish, and seafood.
- Pescatarian. Includes consumption of eggs, dairy, fish, and seafood, however, meat and poultry are excluded.
- Vegetarian. Is sometimes referred to as lacto-ovo vegetarian and can include eggs and dairy food but no meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.
- Vegan. Strictly no animal-base food.
Benefits of a Plant-based Diet
There is a great reason why people decide to forgo delicious meat and dairy in exchange for plant-based food sources. It’s because a plant-based diet offers a great deal of health benefits that one just can’t overlook.
Here are some benefits of plant-based diets.
Supports the immune system
Plants consist of essential nutrients that no other food has. The vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants found in plants keep your cells healthy, allowing your immune system to perfectly function.
A healthy immune system reduces the risk of cancer because of its recognition and detection features. Aside from that, it also attacks mutations in cells before they progress.
The essential nutrients found in plants can help with inflammation in your body. The phytochemicals and antioxidants that aid the immune system are the same nutrients that flow throughout the body, neutralizing toxins from pollution, processed food, viruses, and more.
Extended inflammation can damage the cells and tissue of our body. It has been linked to cancer and other inflammatory health conditions like arthritis. If you want to prevent such diseases, a plant-based diet might be good for you as it removes the triggers to these conditions.
Maintain a healthy weight
A healthy weight is another prime factor to reduce risk in certain diseases, such as cancer.
The excess weight we carry can cause inflammation and hormonal imbalance. Being overweight or obese increases the risk to 12 different types of cancer. If you eat mostly plant-based food, you are eliminating tons of bad food that lead to weight gain.
What to Eat, Limit, and Avoid
Depending on what type of plant-based diet you deem the best suit you, here is the list of food that you should eat, limit, and avoid to fully commit to a plant-based diet.
What to Eat and Drink
- Vegetables, including kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, asparagus, bell peppers, and broccoli.
- Fruits, such as avocado, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, apples, grapes, bananas, grapefruit, and oranges.
- Whole grains, such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and whole-wheat pasta.
- Nuts, including walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, and cashews.
- Seeds, beans, lentils, coffee, and tea, like green, lavender, and chamomile tea.
What to Limit and Avoid
- Dairy, including milk and cheese
- Meat and poultry, like chicken, beef, and pork.
- Processed animal meats, like hot dogs.
- All animal products (If you are following a vegan diet, eggs, dairy, and meat are to be avoided.)
- Refined grains, such as white pasta, white rice, and white bread
- Sweets, like cakes and cookies
- Sweetened beverages, such as soda and fruit juice.
How to Start with a Plant-Based Diet
Following a diet plan can be challenging, especially one that limits and demands you avoid certain groups of food that you’ve been consuming all your life. To make things a bit easier, here is a list of tips that can help you adjust to a plant-based diet.
- Before fully entering a plant-based diet, condition your body by eating lots of vegetables. FIll half your plate with a variety of vegetables and enjoy taking it as a snack.
- Intake smaller amounts of meat and think of it as a garnish instead of a main meal.
- Choose good fats, like olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds and avocados.
- Have whole grains for breakfast like oatmeal, buckwheat, and barley.
- Have a vegetarian meal once a week.
- Eat fruits for dessert, like a juicy peach, a slice of watermelon, or an apple if ever you are craving for something sweet after a meal.