Our understanding of plant-based nutrition may differ from individual to individual. In the world of nutrition, plant-based eating has a large portion of one’s nutrition. It comes from vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, whole grains, and includes legumes or other plants.
As our society evolves, we are constantly come to face the need to change our behaviors and habits in order to improve our health and quality of life. We are now facing climate change, food insecurity, and more than 40% of our population is suffering from chronic disease.
Plant-based nutrition is one of the recent ideas put forward to improve our world and our health. Although food habits are not (yet) something that our doctor prescribes. Research shows that food has a lot to contribute to our health. It is also a less costly option for our society than to prescribe drugs.
You have a range of plant-based nutritional options at your disposal. Some are very strict (vegan diet) others are still adding animal products Such as dairy (vegetarian). Another end of the spectrum is those that still occasionally eat meat, poultry, and fish.
Whether you want to save the animals, become healthier, or simply feel better. Plant-based nutrition is a great option for those of us who want to be a better, healthier person.
Choosing plant-based eating does not have to be a complex undertaking. Not yet convinced?
Here are the 5 reasons to start eating plant-based nutrition now.
Improve your health
Additionally, an increase in vegetable, grain, and bean consumption will bring more fiber into your nutrition. It recommends consuming from 25 g (women) to 38 g (men) of fiber per day. Unfortunately, we consume an average of 15 g a day.
This is not enough for most of us and can have a negative impact on the intestines and cause constipation or hemorrhoids.
Research has shown that increased fiber intake can also help prevent and reduce heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer. Fibers reduce blood cholesterol levels. For most Americans, average daily protein intake is at 46 g (women) and 56 g (men). One cup of shredded cheese is about 26 g of protein and one cup of diced chicken is about 38 g of protein.
Plant-based nutrition can help us achieve our health goal without going beyond the recommended daily intake.
It is once believed that you need to add animal protein to your meals in order to increase muscle mass. Some studies and athletes have shown that muscle growth and fitness with plant-based nutrition is possible. For instance, one of the best runners of all time and an American ultramarathoner, Scott Jurek is known to be a plant-based eater!
While thousands of research shows the health benefits of consuming vegetables as a way to prevent illness. But, many still refuse to change their nutrition to improve our quality of life.
According to some research, plant-based diet eaters have shown fewer signs of depression and mental illness than omnivores. Much more research needs to be done, and certainly, some aspects need to consider (such as sugar intake) but these researches are very promising. The best way to know that is to try it out and see how you feel.
Plant-Based Nutrition for Weight Loss and Weight Management.
Plant-based nutrition means you have a large portion of your meal that comes from food based on plants. That said, fruits and vegetables are often the number one thing that comes to mind when we consider nutrition based on plants.
According to some studies, only 15 percent of our population can meet the minimum daily recommendation requirement for fruit and even less (10 percent) for vegetables.
Nutrition experts all over the world agree that insufficient fruit and vegetable consumption contributes to the obesity epidemic and chronic disease associated with poor nutrition, particularly in our country. While exercising is important, nutrition is probably the number one reason our nation has so much obesity.
Individuals who are on plant-based nutrition generally tend to consume fewer calories than those who consume animal protein. Because most of their calories come from healthier options and fewer calories per weight. Plant-based eaters tend to eat fewer processed foods and avoid meat-focused restaurants such as the fast-food chain that provide unhealthy meal options.
Prevent or manage a chronic disease
Research shows, as you’ll see in the next section, that plant-based nutrition individuals can prevent chronic disease, reduce obesity, and mostly promote healthily and quality of life.
A World Health Organization report recommended that a daily intake of 400 g of fruits and vegetables would help prevent chronic diseases. This includes diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity. To put this in perspective, 1 tomato is about 75 g whilst a potato of medium size is about 150 g. A medium apple is around 150 g for fruit and a small kiwi is about 75 g for fruit.
Additionally, studies show that individuals who had plant-based nutrition with reduced sodium consumption (2300-1500 mg a day) showed blood pressure reduction and increased weight loss. That being said, it is important to understand that food based on plants does not always mean healthy food.
Stop spending on supplements
Are you aware that people spend more than $30 billion a year on supplements? What if you didn’t have this money to waste? You are more likely to get all the nutrients you need from natural sources such as legumes, vegetables, and fruits with a plant-based diet.
While thousands of research show the health benefit of consuming vegetables as a way of preventing disease, many still refuse to change their nutrition in order to improve our quality of living.
Save our planet
Agriculture uses about 70 percent (globally on average) of our freshwater. That being said, meat production requires about 1000 percent more water (1 kg requires between 5000 and 20,000 liters of water) than some grains such as wheat (1 kg of wheat requires between 500 and 4,000 liters water).
Moreover, a lot of the grain is grown to feed the animals we eat, and if we start eating that grain and reducing our meat consumption, fewer water and resources would be used to produce animal feed.
For everyone, plant-based eating is not about “dieting” or removing something from your nutrition. But more about adding more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and legumes.
Now is the time to put your learning into action, pick a day to start your plant-based nutrition, select your meals (find breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes) and make a list of groceries, go shopping (get your food items) and implement the change! Plant-based eating is not a diet but rather a way of life. Just make it easy and have fun with it!