You have probably heard of the recent popularity of plant-based diets. Plant based diets offer many health benefits whether you are just adding more plants to your daily intake or completely cutting out animal products.
So, what is a plant-based diet and how is it different from a vegan diet? While vegan diets eliminate the consumption of animal products that does not necessarily mean healthy foods are being consumed. A plant-based diet in broad terms mean consuming more plants in general, which in turn can lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Not only does eating less animal products benefit your health, but it is also beneficial for the environment! More than half the water used in our nation is for animal agriculture. Animal waste emits methane and nitrous oxide which contributes to global warming. By incorporating more plants into your diet less water and land is used, it slows deforestation, and lowers pollution.
If you are considering a plant-based diet be sure to avoid highly processed foods. A food is processed when it is altered from its original state. For example, white bread is made with wheat that has been highly processed so that the outer layers of the wheat plant have been stripped, which eliminates most of the nutritional benefit. Most processed foods also have additives in them to lengthen their shelf life which can have negative effects on your metabolism.
Here of some examples of the nutrients different plants offer:
- Walnuts – high in Omega 3
- Spinach – high in magnesium and calcium
- Black beans – high in protein and fiber
- Quinoa – protein and magnesium
Sources: Shape, Prevention, healthguide. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.