Since I went 100% plant-based almost 2 years ago, I’ve noticed a much higher sense of well-being overall, along with other health benefits. I also haven’t suffered from a protein shortage or calcium deficiency either, in case you’re one of the many who worry about this issue. With athletes, celebs, and even political figures going vegan, why not the rest of us? When we consider that animal production has led to more problems in our world than solutions, it just makes sense.
Animal foods are also more processed than even some of the more processed plant-based choices people avoid at the store. Considering that animals are living creatures just like you and me, it makes no sense for us to spend our money on an industry that causes them suffering, destroys the environment, and causes us health problems. As rates of cancer and diabetes increase, one has to wonder if this has to do with the animal production being higher than ever and fast food restaurants serving up more animal foods that are cheaper per meal than whole, plant-based meal offerings. Though you and I can’t change this overnight, we can change our health by eating a plant-based diet. I’m under the belief that if more people chose the vegan route, they’d not only feel better, but animal production demand would significantly decrease.
A plant-based diet is more economical, especially if you eat in-season and eat local produce. Check out some of these health benefits of going getting plant-powered, and start eating more plants this week. By filling your plate up with the good stuff, there’s less room for the acidic animal foods that leave you sluggish and tired.
1. Lower Blood Pressure
Most people living a plant-based diet automatically have lower blood pressure due to a higher intake of potassium-rich foods. Potassium helps lower blood pressure that leads to stress and anxiety. Most all whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and all fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of potassium and Vitamin B6 (which also helps lower blood pressure). Meat and most all animal foods contain little to no potassium and actually raise blood pressure and cholesterol.
2. Lower Cholesterol
Speaking of lower cholesterol, it’s one of the main benefits you’ll receive from embracing plant-based foods. Most people don’t know that plants contain NO cholesterol, even saturated sources like coconut and cacao. While you should balance your fat intake no matter if you’re vegan or not, a plant-based diet is one of the simplest ways to lower cholesterol. Consider this: one egg has twice the amount of cholesterol as a fast food hamburger and fish contains almost or even more cholesterol than meat or poultry, depending on the type you eat. Plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can actually lower rates of cholesterol and heart disease. For more on taking care of your cholesterol, check out these great tips to take care of your cholesterol on a vegan diet.
3. Better Blood Sugar
The number one way to fight high blood sugar is to eat more fiber. Its slows down absorption of sugars in the blood stream and as a result can help improve how hungry you are all day long, not to mention balance your cortisol levels that cause stress. Animal foods have been found to raise blood sugar, despite the myth that they help fight it.
4. Lower Rates of Cancer
A low fat, whole foods plant-based diet is the number one way to improve your chances at avoiding cancer risks (while also avoiding smoking and alcohol, of course). Animal foods have been linked to cancer, especially colon and breast cancer.
5. Weight Loss
If you’re consuming a whole foods, plant-based diet (especially one that’s low in fat and processed sugars), you’re going to lose weight. A food high in raw, clean whole foods may improve your chances at losing weight even more, even though cooked foods may help with nutrient absorption. Weight loss naturally occurs when you consume more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than you do animal fats and proteins.Kathy Freston, vegan wellness expert, says that within two weeks of a plant-based diet, most people lose five pounds without going hungry or feeling deprived.
You’ll also likely also experience less constipation and better sleep on a plant-based diet, along with less inflammation and lower risks of diabetes, according to Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Be sure if you eat a plant-based diet you choose one from clean, whole foods to optimize all of these benefits. If you’ve tried it, what’s been the biggest health benefit you’ve received?