The benefits of eating a plant-based diet isn’t all hype; it can be a wonderful step toward better health. If you want to add animal-based protein from time-to-time, that’s okay—this isn’t a hardline vegetarian lifestyle. Plant-based living refers to a way of eating where the overwhelming majority of your calories come from unprocessed plants. And there are numerous benefits to it. The whole concept of a “plant-based” diet is appealing to many people who would normally shy away from becoming a vegetarian.
A plant-based diet is flexible and ultimately allows you to eat animal products if you choose them. But it treats those animal products as an occasional treat or even a condiment, added for flavor but not for a main source of calories. This is in sharp contrast to the standard American diet (SAD), where meat and white potatoes rule. There are many benefits to adding more plants to your regimen.
Here are 3 great reasons to adopt a plant-based diet.
1. It’s Good for Your Heart, Brain, and Overall Health
Eating meat is associated with higher rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease. While about half of the population will develop high blood pressure by age 60, vegetarians experience relatively no increase in blood pressure with age. It is also easier to maintain a healthier weight on a plant-based diet, because plants are lower in calories than meat and processed foods.
A healthier body weight decreases your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other obesity-related health problems. Keep in mind, we aren’t only talking about removing meat from your diet, but also removing processed foods. These foods are similarly associated with disease and illness, problems that can be reduced or eliminated altogether by increasing plant consumption.
2. Save Money and Support Local Farms
Plant-based diets require you to eat more at home, which means you’ll be saving money by visiting restaurants less. Fast food and sit-down restaurants can be expensive and are most often harmful to your health, not to mention their supply of plant-based recipes are sorely lacking. You can spend less to gain far more with a plant-based diet involving home food preparation.
When you adopt a plant-based diet, you can get the most bang for your health buck by shopping at farmer’s markets. You’ll be eating local, in-season, and supporting the smaller family farms that this country was raised on. The fewer dollars you contribute to the processed foods industry, the more you are contributing to local farmers.
3. Help the Environment
Factory farms produce 100 times more waste than every single person in the United States combined. The amount of waste produced by these factories is in such mass quantities that it is virtually impossible to clean up properly. Much of this waste is dumped into the water supply, drastically increasing overall water pollution as well as contributing to the pollution found in drinking water. By going more plant-based, you’ll be helping to move toward a healthier planet and reduce the ‘need’ to cruel factory farms.