Top 5 Reasons to Switch to a Plant-Based Diet This New Year
Bacon may taste good, but there are literally hundreds of reasons why you should switch to a diet that is mostly plants instead of animal products. A plant-based diet is comprised primarily of vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits, with very little or no animal products. Here are the top 10 to make the leap this 2017:
1. Adopting a plant-based diet is the easiest way to incorporate more fruits and veggies into one’s diet.
87% of Americans don’t get enough daily veggies, and 75% don’t get enough fruit – rates alarming enough to make it onto NBC News.
2. A plant-based diet is the great way to get healthy and stay healthy.
Eating a plant-based diet provides a range of benefits. Just eating five daily servings of fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other conditions. On the other hand, eating red meat or processed meat, increases one’s risk of developing cancer – in particular, colon cancer – and eating processed meat further increases the risk of death from heart disease by 72 percent. In addition, eating plant-based diet increases the amount of fiber intake, which has benefits from lowering cholesterol to keeping the digestive track healthy.
3. Plants are a fantastic source of nutrients traditionally associated with meat, such as calcium and protein.
Calorie for calorie, kale contains more calcium than milk about 90 grams per serving — and is better absorbed. However, it is also one of the vegetables more likely to contain residual pesticides, so be sure to buy USDA certified organic kale, when possible. Also, while beans and legumes are famous for being high in protein, vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, and brussel sprouts are also great sources of protein.
4. Plant-based diets are better for the environment
The carbon footprint left behind in farming animals is on average, much larger than that of farming plants. According to the United Nations, Greenhouse gas emissions per gram of protein for beef and lamb are about 250 times those of legumes. Twenty servings of vegetables have fewer greenhouse gas emissions than one serving of beef!
5. Plant-based diets show more weight loss
Not everyone wants to lose weight, but if you do, studies show that vegan and vegetarian dietary patterns can result in more weight loss than those that include meat without emphasizing restricting calories. According to obesity.org, a recent study showed those who consumed vegan and vegetarian diets lost an average of 8.2 to 9.9 pounds over eight weeks compared to an average of 5.1 pounds by meat eaters.