Plant-based diets, also known as vegetarian or vegan diets, are becoming increasingly popular. Not only for ethical or ecological reasons, but also because of the numerous health benefits.
Plant power for health
Plants are rich in essential nutrients that the body needs to function optimally. This includes vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. While meat is often loaded with saturated fat, plants contain unsaturated fat, which can have positive effects on cholesterol levels and heart health.
Protection against diseases
Studies have shown that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. The fiber in plants aids in digestion and may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Weight control and digestion
People who eat a plant-based diet tend to have a lower body weight. This is not only due to lower calorie consumption, but also to better digestion and metabolic regulation.
The environmental impact
In addition to the health benefits, a plant-based diet also has positive effects on the environment. The production of meat has a high carbon footprint and uses a lot of water and land. By reducing meat consumption, we can also contribute to environmental protection.
What should you pay attention to when following a plant-based diet?
- It's important to eat a balanced diet to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. This also includes consuming protein-rich plant foods such as lentils, beans, tofu and quinoa.
- Some people may need supplements, especially when it comes to vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron or omega-3 fatty acids.
- As with any diet, a plant-based diet should minimize processed foods and favor fresh, whole foods.
A plant-based diet not only offers ethical and environmental benefits, but can also provide significant health benefits. It can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve digestion and control weight. With a balanced diet and proper planning, it can be one of the healthiest diets.
Does this mean you have to go vegan immediately? No, but it helps your health and our planet if you incorporate plant-based meals into your diet more often. We will soon show you how with our myNUTRADO Coach.
Sources (among others):
- Appleby, P.N., & Key, T.J. (2016). The long-term health of vegetarians and vegans. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society , 75(3), 287-293.
- Dinu, M., Abbate, R., Gensini, G.F., Casini, A., & Sofi, F. (2017). Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: A systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition , 57(17), 3640-3649.
- Poore, J., & Nemecek, T. (2018). Reducing food's environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science , 360(6392), 987-992.