An introduction to plant-based diets

One of the most recent introductions to the food and nutrition scene for most health conscious people is the rise of plant-based diet. This new trendy diet consists mostly of foods that are drawn from plants such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, fiber, grain and fruits. This food may or may not contain any animal products. Also to note, the plant-based diet isn’t strictly for vegetarians.


Shift towards Plant-Based Diet


Not only is there a broad expansion of the research database supporting the countless benefits of plant-based diets, but also health care practitioners are seeing awe-inspiring results with their patients across multiple unique subspecialties.



Reduction in Chronic Diseases


Studies have shown that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as:


Cancer

Avoiding animal products and high-fat foods and eating plant-based foods can lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer.


Diabetes

Plant-based diets prevent, manage, and reverse type 2 diabetes. Plant-based diets lower body weight, improve insulin function, and increase beta-cells’ ability to regulate blood sugar, which helps reverse symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes.


Heart Disease

People who eat a plant-based diet have a lower risk of dying from heart disease when compared to non-vegetarians. Plant-based diets have been proven to prevent and reverse heart disease, improve cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.


Stroke

Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of early death and health complications in the diabetic population and many trials have demonstrated the benefits of plant-based diets in preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases.

Reasons why Vegans on Plant-based Diet are healthy


  • According to a 2016 study in the Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, vegans have a 15% lower occurrence of all types of cancer, 34% lower risk of female-specific cancer and 22% lower risk of colorectal cancer.

  • According to a 2009 study published in Diabetes Care Journal, vegans have a 49% lower risk of type 2 diabetes

  • According to a 2012 study published by Public Health Nutrition Journal, vegans have a 63% lower risk of hypertension than non-vegetarians.

  • According to a 2013 study published by Journal of the American Medical Association, vegans have a 9% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to meat eaters.

  • According to The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, a diet focused on extra leafy green vegetables, fiber, fruits and berries is associated with a 53% reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease.


The Plant-Based Diet Approach


  • Look after your current health

  • Track your eating habits

  • Asses health literacy by taking a Health IQ test

  • Indulge in an active lifestyle


Ultimately, it is a win-win situation for individuals to shift to this diet. To facilitate lower health care costs and likely better health outcomes, let food be medicine and the route of the future.

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