Health Benefits Of A Plant Based Diet

BlackberriesHave you ever wondered what the health benefits of a plant based diet are? Are there health benefits, and if so how many benefits are we talking about. Well, quite a lot, probably more than what can be measured I imagine. Starting a plant based diet may sound a little boring and limited as too what you can eat, but that’s not the case at all.

Actually the variety in a plant based diet will take you by surprise, there are so many options when it comes to choice of food and creating different recipes that you won’t know where to start. Also, you will find that those recipes are delicious and once you start eating this food on a regular basis you will soon lose your desire for processed food.

We have so much choice when it comes to what food we consume these days, unfortunately a lot of what’s on offer is processed rubbish and not only does it not have any health benefits, it is the cause of a significant amount of illness in todays society.

The other side of the story is that plant based food contains the nutrients and goodness that the body needs in order to function properly and help keep disease at bay. Let’s take a look at what a plant based diet is, and some of its wonderful benefits.

Nutrient Dense Food

When I talk about a plant based diet I’m talking about food that is high in nutrients, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and basically all that the body needs to function properly. When I say plant based I’m talking about the following list and little else.

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Fruit is an important part of a healthy diet, they are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and much more. Fruit is also high in fiber which is essential in every diet, fiber helps keep the digestive system running like clockwork, as well as keeping you feeling fuller for longer. This is very beneficial for weight loss and your overall health. Because fruit is rich in so many phytochemicals it can help to lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer and all such diseases that plague the population today.

Fruit/berriesBerries such as blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are real super foods, even though they are sweet they re low in sugar and contain beneficial nutrients. Their wonderful colors means that they are full of antioxidants which gives them cardio and anti-cancer protective effects by reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, preventing DNA damage and inhibiting angio-genesis. Berries are a wonderful food for the brain and have so many healthy benefits that they should be consumed on a daily basis.

Leafy Greens are packed with nutrients and contain only about 100 calories per pound, which makes them an excellent tool for weight loss as they can be consumed in unlimited quantities, matter of fact the more you eat the more you lose. Green leafy vegetables are the most nutrient dense of all and you need not worry about not getting enough protein because the majority of calories in greens comes from protein which is packed full of phytochemicals.

Leafy greensAll types of vegetables contain protective micro nutrients and phytochemicals but cruciferous vegetables are especially protective as they contain glucosinolates. The glucosinolates are converted to isothiocyanates (ITCs), this happens when the cell walls are broken down by blending, chopping or chewing, which has a variety of anti cancer effects. ITCs can be very effective in helping to remove carcinogens, oxidative stress, inflammation and help to inhibit angiogenesis which is when tumors require a blood supply in order to grow.

There you have it, to help prevent disease and maximize your health you should aim to eat as much leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables as possible. The more you eat the more beneficial health benefits that you will be rewarded with, and as time goes on the more taste you will acquire for this kind of food.

Beans are legumes and because they are high in nutrients, high in fiber and resistance starch makes them a truly wonderful healthy food. Resistance starch means that the total number of calories absorbed from beans are reduced, this occurs due to carbohydrates that are not broken down by digestive enzymes.

BeansEating beans regularly means that you are building up good bacteria in your gut, which has many advantages to maintain good health. Beans have a stabilizing effect on your blood sugar because they are digested slowly, this helps to prevent food cravings, aids with weight loss and also reduces the risk of diabetes.

The soluble fiber in beans means that they help to lower cholesterol. Eating beans at least twice a week or more has been known to lower colon cancer risk by 50%, eating legumes such as beans lowers the risk of a whole range of diseases, they are truly a real super food!

Nuts and Seeds are a rich source of micro nutrients and healthy fats. Studies have shown that nuts have cardiovascular benefits as well as helping to prevent diabetes and maintain a healthy weight. Seeds are higher in protein that nuts, flax, chia and hemp seeds are extremely rich sources of omega 3 fats. Flaxseeds are rich in fiber and lignans and they help protect against heart disease.

Nuts and seedsPumpkin seeds are rich in iron, calcium, and are a good source of zinc, sesame seeds are a wonderful source of calcium and black sesame seeds are rich in antioxidants.

A seventh day Adventist study following vegans has shown that having fat in your body from nuts and seeds is particularly important for the absorption of anti-cancer phytochemicals. The study showed that including nuts and seeds in their diet dramatically extended lifespan.

Getting Enough Protein

It’s important that we are getting enough protein in our diet, one of the first question people ask when you are not eating meat is where do you get your protein from, well you can get all the protein the body needs from eating your greens. Leafy green veg and cruciferous veg contain all the protein the body needs.

We don’t actually need as much protein as we think, we are being led to believe that we need a high quantity of protein in order to survive, but we actually only need a small amount. We can obtain all the protein we need from a plant diet without the need for animal protein.

Need for Medication

Something that is common amongst people that have made the change to a plant based diet is their need for medication has significantly been reduced, or in some cases eliminated. In a lot of cases this is due to the body repairing itself after years of consuming processed food.

PillsConsuming processed food on a regular basis over time leads to disease, this in turn leads to a need for medication and the side effects from the medication means you need more medication, and so it goes on. After you stop the processed rubbish and begin to consume real live nutritious food your body will do it’s best to make repairs and restore it’s natural health.

This of course should be supervised and determined by your doctor, you should never take action to reduce or eliminate medication without getting professional advice from your health consultant.

Weight Loss

If you are interested in losing weight for health reasons, for appearance reasons or maybe both or any other reason you may want to shed those pounds, there is no better way than a plant based diet. Eating a plant based diet means Weight Loss plateyou are getting lots of micro nutrients, and reducing macro nutrients.

When we eat lots of processed food we are filling up on macro nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat). When we eat micro nutrients we are getting lots of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants. This means the body is getting lots of nutrients which it can utilize to function properly.

When the body gets fed the proper nutrients it needs and processed unhealthy food is kept to a minimum or eliminated that there will be no problem with keeping your ideal weight, have a look at the 5 best foods for weight loss here. In addition to this you will be significantly reducing your chances of getting disease.

Supplements

Supplements are big business these days, but have we any business taking them. Supplements may have a place in your diet, it all depends on whether you have a deficiency or not, but even if you are deficient in certain nutrients, taking supplements may not be the best way to deal with it.

Research has shown that taking individual supplements may have no benefit at all, and in some cases can actually be harmful to your health. When you take an individual supplement, like “folic acid” for example, which is a manufactured product, either extracted from food or synthetically manufactured using processes or materials that are not found in nature.

Folic acid is meant to make up for lack of folate. Folate is found in abundance in green vegetables, beans and whole plant food and this is the way it should be consumed, in the form of whole foods where you can get the benefits of all the nutrients and phytochemicals found in the plant.

Synthetic folic acid is different from folate, it is twice as absorbable by the body compared to natural folate, while the body can convert some folic acid to folate it has a limited capacity to do so. This means that there is an excess of folic acid that is not utilized and this may be harmful as it is not known what effects it has on the body.

The best way to get your vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and all the nutrients you need is by eating proper nutritious plant based food. Even on a plant based diet you may need to take some supplements, such as B12 for example which can not be got in a plant based diet.

Conclusion

When it comes to your health there are no shortcuts, there is no substitute for eating healthy nutritious food, where you get all the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and all the goodness needed to sustain your health.

No matter what the state of your health there is no reason why it would not be improved by switching to a plant based diet. Eating a plant based diet will without doubt give you a new lease of life.

Please leave your questions and comments below, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

20 thoughts on “Health Benefits Of A Plant Based Diet”

  1. Hi Dave,

    I agree with you that almost every disease in modern society comes from the food we have each day, so it’s something we could prevent ourselves from getting those so-called “Modern Civilized IIIness”. I never thought of a diet based on the plant which is new to me, and it seems lots of benefits from it. 

    I could see the berries and the beans are the superfoods from your post and we might eat them every day to keep our body healthy. My grandmother used to eat lots of tofu which is the product of soybean, so she lived to a very old age that our entire family starts to add tofu into our dinner plates. I would like to let my entire family know the berries also help for healthier living, do you think the frozen berries that we could get from the supermarket has the same benefits too?

    Reply
    • Hi Matt,

      Great to hear from you, berries are indeed a superfood and frozen is probably even better. Frozen berries are frozen after they are picked which means they retain most of their nutrients. Also this means that they are not sprayed with pesticides to retain their freshness while they are transported and kept in stock.

      I enjoy frozen berries daily, they are delicious with porridge or mixed with other fruit, I sometimes let them defrost or just eat them straight out of the freezer. ENJOY!

      Dave.

      Reply
  2. The next time I have a conversation about the benefits of being vegan or the fact that, for many, our diet is rubbish, I hope I can remember large portions of you article. You make so many really good points and I hope that those who read it. they will take action to alter their current diets.

    Personally, I believe that the majority of todays major life threatening diseases are down to poor diet, in particular, processed food. As a species, we have done ourselves no favours. For hundreds of thousands of years we were incredibly healthy. Able to spend days, if not weeks, hunting. We would survive off the land. This went on and we evolved slowly over that time. Over the course of the last few hundred years our diets have changed radically, quicker than our bodies have managed to evolve to keep up. Now our bodies are breaking down, unable to cope with the ‘processed’ diet that has become the norm.

    Everything we need to survive and grow can be found in plants. The need for supplements has been pushed by ‘money’. Like you say, protein can be found in abundance in plants. Our bodies can only digest a certain amount each day anyway. Air, nutrients and water will enable our bodies to function as they should. We produce everything we need to grow ourselves, as long as we have a balanced healthy diet.

    Reply
    • Hi Twack,

      I could’nt agree more with you, we can find all we need from a plant based diet and retain our health while doing so, imagine the difference it would make to our health service if we were all to change to eating a nutritious plant based diet. 

      Thanks for your comment and wonderful insight into the subject.

      Dave.

      Reply
  3. Hi Dave,

    My wife is a vegan and after our marriage, I too realized the importance and benefits of Plant-based diet. While browsing online I came across your insightful post.

    Often my friends argue with me that without eating meat I am going to struggle to get the required proteins and the details you shared is an eye-opener. I shared your post with my wife and she advised me to bookmark it.

    I started taking Leafy Greens and I need to take more fruits. The information you shared about Supplements made me think more on the subject and I personally thought without taking supplements it’s going to be challenging to get all the required vitamins and minerals. Thanks for sharing about B12.

    Indeed, a plant-based diet is the way to go.

    Reply
    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for getting in touch, indeed I have this a lot, “where do you get your protein from” as if you were going to keel over without meat. We only need a little protein and can get more than we need from plants, the trouble with eating lots of meat we get too much protein which leads to a lot of health issues.

      The best supplements to take is the one your lacking in, and if your on a nutritious plant based diet you wont be lacking in much, B12 is not found in plants so this is a must, others may include, zinc, iodine, vitamin D.

      Reply
  4. I have always had that notion that plant based diets are not as tasty as meats and other processed foods. The many times I have had vegetables is just because it has been a necessity, otherwise, I wouldn’t have indulged. But as I have grown older, I am now making better decisions with what I consume. The inclusion of nuts in plant based foods adds a little bit of ‘tasty’ to the mix. Fruits are also great and I am surprised that plant based foods have all these amazing benefits. I like that I can enjoy all the benefits and still get to loose a few pounds in the process. Though I am not done completely with processed foods, I am on my way to making sure that my plant based diet topples the rest.

    Thank you for this informative and great insights. Much appreciated!

    Reply
    • Hi Carol,

      You certainly will be surprised of all the delicious recipes you can make from plant based food. Keep diving in to the superfood and you will see the benefits sooner rather than later. All the best.

      Dave.

      Reply
  5. I am happy to read this kind of post, “Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet”. Why? I have been eating plants, not the whole plant itself but the fruits, the seeds, the root crops. I would highly support this kind of articles because they bring us to the old times when people live a longer life because of no much-processed foods.

    I noticed that legumes are one of the best plant-based diets but I read they are a taboo to persons with prostate problems.

    Also, I would suggest plant-based diets should be more of organic ones.  I say this because I know and I’m very sure that cabbages, strawberries, and Chinese cabbage are pampered with insecticides one week before harvest time especially summertime because of pests.

    Thanks for sharing this concern for health.

    Reply
    • Hi Abagatan,

      Thanks for your great comment, I agree organic is definitely better but, I still think if organic is not available then conventional is better than not having any at all.

      Glad you enjoyed the article, best wishes.

      Dave.

      Reply
  6. Hey am glad I found this site especially this article. I have been advising people to take plant based meals for weight loss and one main reason is because plant based don’t just make you lose weight, they add more health values like clear digestion. People don’t really get it but you can never lose weight without watching what you eat. Even if you exercise, when you come back home and take a high calorie meal yet your intention was to shed off some pounds, then you should have exercised. I really love this article and appreciate your effort to get us these foods.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Brendah,

      I agree with you totally, my digestive system has never been better sense I switched to a plant based diet, and ask for losing weight, when I stopped eating meat the weight just fell off, before that I could exercise until my legs fell off but could’nt lose the weight.

      Happy you enjoyed the article, my best,

      Dave.

      Reply
  7. Thank you for this amazing article! There was so much in it that I wasn’t aware of yet! Like, I always thought strawberries had a high fructose level as they are so sweet, but here you say that it’s really low in sugar! I’m going to the store to buy some more ;). The only dowside is that I have IBS and I can’t process a lot of seeds and beans… do you have some advice on how to substitute them?

    Reply
    • Hello Virendra,

      Great to hear from you, fruits are an excellent source of antioxidants and full of goodness and won’t raise your blood sugar level rapidly as they are a good source of fiber. The best way to deal with beans and seeds are to introduce them slowly into your diet, a little at a time and increase them gradually. Over a short time your gut will build up a good bacteria which means you will be able to tolerate them much better, and eventually they won’t even be a problem.

      I hope this helps, all the best,

      Dave.

      Reply
  8. Plant based diets are beneficial to our health. Our body can gladly any fiber diet because of it useful in putting our gut into places. It do prevent also agaist indigestion and provide other benefits. Plant based diet will make one do without high calories food that can serve as a huge treat to our liver and weight. This kind of diet can also do working when performing it’s role as a lexative. Can pregnant women take much of this diet?

    Reply
    • Hello Stella,

      Absolutely a plant based will benefit all aspects of the body, I don’t see any reason why pregnant women should not consume a plant based diet, but if in any doubt always consult with a medical professional about any such issues.

      Thank you,

      Dave.

      Reply
  9. To be candid, I always try to avoid my girlfriend bringing up the issue of plant diet, because I believe its really dry and I won’t get to eat anything nice. But, stumbling on this article has revealed the truth I refused to see and its so nice know about it. Wow, how nutritious plant diet is keeps me wondering how healthy on would be by engaging in it. Anyways, I love this article and I’ll fr to give it a shot and see how it works. Thanks foe sharing such an educative and informative post, its lovely.

    Reply
  10. Thanks for an awesome article.  I definitely am eating all of the types of berries that you suggested.  The information about the vegetables was good but could you suggest some different types of vegetables that are good to eat.  Also do they need to be fresh, what about canned vegetables with no salt added.

    Reply
    • Hi Donnie,

      My favourite vegetables are Broccoli, Cabbage, Turnip, Kale, watercress which are all cruciferous vegetables and probably the best source of nutrients on the planet. I would try frozen vegetables rather than canned as they will contain a lot more nutrients.

      Best wishes,

      Dave.

      Reply

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