by Tanya Nandykazi
When it comes to eating a plant-based diet, the ethical treatment of animals is a one selling point to motivate individuals to create a diet change. I’m not here to give you the low-down on animal treatment – instead, I’m going to share some of the health, skin and behavioral benefits when it comes to choosing a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lentils, and beans.
So what are these benefits exactly?
Keep reading to get the inside scoop on the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Plant-based diets with high consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains are strongly associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (Patel, Chandra, Alexander, Soble, & Williams, 2017). Plant-based diets have proven effective in Type 2 Diabetes management while also decreasing insulin resistance, promoting healthy body weights, increasing fiber and phytonutrient intake, and influencing interactions within the microbiome (McMacken & Shah, 2017). In comparison with lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets, or vegetarian diets that include dairy and eggs, plant-based diets offer additional protection against hypertension (Le & Sabate, 2014).
Aside from the physiological benefits, plant-based diets have also shown to be effective in achieving balanced and clear skin. The etiology of acne has been linked to sex hormones and inflammation, and the struggle to find a cure can be tricky. Recent research has shown that a “low-glycemic load diet, one rich in plant fibers, and low in processed foods, has been linked to an improvement in acne, possibly through gut changes or attenuation of insulin levels” (Clark, Haas, & Sivamani, 2017).
Alongside these benefits for the skin, a plant-based diet has shown some impact on mood and behavior as well. A study conducted over the span of 12 weeks explored how a plant-based diet, exercise, and mindfulness techniques affected men and women who were diagnosed with chronic moderate to severe depression. Results showed that an intervention in diet accompanied with exercise and other lifestyle modifications provided substantial benefits, even showing improvements in depression and anxiety (Null & Pennesi, 2017).
While reading this post, you have probably understood the basics of what a plant-based diet can do for you. If you have decided that a diet change in your life is a possible option, where do you start? Here are a few tips to jump onto the plant-based train:
Clark, A. K., Haas, K. N., Sivamani, R. K. (2017). Edible plants and their influence on the gut microbiome and acne. International Journal of Molecular Science, 18(5). doi:10.3390/ijms18051070.
Le, L. T. & Sabate, J. (2014). Beyond meatless, the health effects of vegan diets: Findings from the Adventist cohorts. Nutrients, 6(6):2131-2147. doi:10.3390/nu6062131
McMacken, M. & Shah, S. (2017). A plant-based diet for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, 14(5):342-354. doi: 10.11909/j.issn.16715411.2017.05.009.
Null, G. & Pennesi, L. (2017). Diet and lifestyle intervention on chronic moderate to severe depression and anxiety and other chronic conditions. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 29: 189-193. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2017.09.007
Patel, H., Chandra, S., Alexander, S., Soble, J., Williams, K. A. (2017). Plant based nutrition: An essential component of cardiovascular disease prevention and management. Current Cardiology Reports, 19(10):104. doi:10.1007/s11886-017-0909-z.
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