This is a hot topic these days, right? We’ve been seeing and hearing about plant-based diets on social media, TV, magazines, cocktail parties, at the gym, etc. So what are the benefits of a plant-based diet? Is it really all it’s cracked up to be? This dietitian thinks that it is! Let’s jump in and get right to the “meat” (haha) of the benefits of a plant-based diet (referred to as PBD) .
Benefits of Plant-Based
- Weight control – Individuals following a PBD tend to have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) than those that do not
- Decreases risk of cardiovascular disease – Studies show that eating a PBD reduces your risk of heart disease, including maintaining a healthy blood pressure and lowering cholesterol
- Lowers risk of diabetes – Consumption of a PBD helps increase insulin sensitivity, thereby decreasing your risk of getting type 2 diabetes
- Decreases risk of certain types of cancers -The nutrients found in plant-based foods including phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber show to reduce the risk of several types of cancer
How to Eat Plant-Based in a Healthy Way
How do you go about eating a PBD? You don’t need to go full-vegetarian or vegan (avoiding all animal products, even eggs and dairy) to get the best health benefits. The focus should be on eating more of the right plants, eliminating unhealthy foods, and moderating your intake of healthier animal products. For example white rice could be part of a PBD, however, it really doesn’t provide any of the health perks. A good option would be a whole grain like quinoa, farrow, or barley.
Below are ways of making your eating habits more plant-based:
- Eat lots of vegetables – Make your plate at lunch and dinner at least half vegetables.
- Change the way you think about meat – Use meat as a side dish rather than the main course. Choose lean, lowfat (or healthy fat) types of meat such as white meat chicken or fish.
- Choose healthy fats – Opt for olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, and avocados.
- Cook vegetarian one night a week – Create your own meatless meal using beans, whole grains and vegetables.
- Add whole grains into your breakfast – Try oatmeal, quinoa or barley and add some nuts and fruits.
- Go for greens every day – Eat leafy greens every day such as spinach, kale, or collard greens.
- Eat fruit for dessert or snacks – Make sure you are enjoying fresh fruit in season every day! A sweet orange, juicy melon, or succulent mango can help satisfy that sweet tooth while providing loads of nutrition!
The nutrition experts at Main Line Nutrition understand the PBD and can provide nutrition counseling, education and behavior modification techniques to get your on you way to healthier eating! We have an easy-to-use meal planner that includes a plant-based option, making cooking a breeze.
If you’d like to learn more about a PBD, set an appointment a dietitian at Main Line Nutrition.
Written by Jamie MacGibbon RDN, LDN, CHWC, our astounding dietitian in both the Wayne and Downingtown PA locations.