Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

The benefits of a plant-based diet and why you should consider it!

Plant-based — we’ve all heard it before. While some may consider it a “trend” in the diet culture, it’s so much more than that. There are many reasons why someone may choose to focus on eating more plants. A plant-based diet consists of minimally processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. This kind of lifestyle can do wonders for your mind and body. It has a wide range of fantastic benefits, from health, environmental, and ethical advantages. So, what might be some of those benefits, and why are they so impactful?

Health Benefits

The most widely-known benefit of eating a wholesome plant-based diet is its many health benefits. Choosing fruits and vegetables over their less-healthy counterparts can do amazing things for the body, even in small doses. One of which is lowering the risk of heart disease. Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death in America and affects 1-in-5 people? A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that following a plant-based diet can reduce cardiovascular mortality by up to 32%.

Eating a plant-based diet can even treat type-2 diabetes and can help reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, eating more plants can help in weight management. Its highly fibrous nature helps you stay fuller longer with fewer calories consumed and even helps support your gut’s natural microbiota. Not only does eating a plant-based diet aid in diseases, it dramatically improves your mental health! It has so many health benefits; we’re only touching the surface! If you’re interested in learning more about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, we recommend watching the documentary Forks Over Knives

Environmental Benefits

Choosing a plant-based diet affects not only our bodies but our environment as well. The National Library of Medicine studied the “Plant-Based Dietary Patterns for Human and Planetary Health” and came to some shocking conclusions. Approximately 83% of farmland is used to produce meat, eggs, fish, and dairy, but it only makes up 18% of our calories consumed. In addition, the meat industry is accountable for 67% of the deforestation caused by agriculture. The most significant factor causing extinction amongst our ecosystems is the destruction of land to make more pastures to support the ever-growing demand for animal agriculture.

Choosing a plant-based diet can also help curb the steadily inclining greenhouse gas emissions affecting our planet’s atmosphere. Plant-based diets also require less water and land than animal-based diets, making them more sustainable in the long run. But that’s not all. The meat industry affects our planet in many ways than just this. If you’d like to learn more about the meat agriculture industry and its effects on Earth, we recommend reading scholarly articles on Google.

Ethical Benefits

For many people, choosing a plant-based diet is also a matter of ethics. On top of all the human and planetary health reasons we stated above, the idea of animals suffering is enough to choose a plant-based diet. Many people believe that all sentient creatures have a right to a free life. This becomes more of an argument now that we have the resources to produce plant-based alternatives. The meat industry is becoming more exposed now that people are determined to find the truth about where our food comes from. Industrial farming has been said to be “one of the worst crimes in history.”

For some, it’s understandable that, as humans, it’s natural to eat meat occasionally. But, it’s less accepted knowing that these creatures, who have thoughts and feelings, are losing their lives in cramped, disease-ridden assembly lines, never seeing the light of day until it reaches the slaughterhouse. Knowing that you’re not contributing to this industry is enough to make this dietary change. If you’d like to learn more about the conditions these animals live in, we recommend watching the documentary Food, Inc. but keep in mind that it’s not for the faint of heart. 

If these reasons are enough to change your eating habits and you’d like to learn more about eating plant-based foods, be sure to read our Beginner’s Guide to Eating a Plant-Based Diet! You will find some of the most commonly asked questions and our top tips for transitioning to a plant-based diet there. The important thing is to understand that even small changes make significant impacts. Take one day at a time and find ways to change your diet sustainably. Let us know why you choose to eat a plant-based diet!

About Ciara Kehoe

Ciara is a writer and food photographer living in Pennsylvania. Her love of writing and food began from a young age and has continued to blossom as she’s worked with a variety of food and recipe companies. Everyday, she’s inspired to learn more in the health and wellness industry to become the best version of herself, and to help others along the way.

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