The buzz surrounding plant-based diets continues to grow, and so does the curiosity around what it really means to eat this way.
What are the rules? Is it the same as being a vegetarian or vegan? If you jump on board with this trend, do you have to swear off your favorite cheeseburger or tacos de carnitas recipe forever?
The quick answer is no. Plant-based eating, or plant-forward eating, simply means you are proportionally choosing to eat more whole foods that are primarily from plants. This includes fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
What is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet doesn’t mean you can’t eat eggs, dairy, fish or meats. It just means that you eat less of them. They become accents, not the main part of every meal. Some people do choose a vegan diet that excludes all animal products, but plant-based eating doesn’t have to be that strict.
There is a lot of room for choice and for your favorite foods – you’re just filling your plate with many more vegetables and fruits.
Great examples of plant-forward diets include the popular Mediterranean and Blue Zone diets. Research has shown there’s some huge health benefits to switching to a plant-based diet. Let’s look at some that could have the biggest impact on your body.
Plant-based diet benefit 1: Improved nutrition and fiber
Because plant-based diets are typically packed with whole grains, beans, nuts and legumes, they provide all the needed protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates a body needs, studies have shown. The emphasis on fruits and vegetables make them naturally high in fiber, vitamins and phytonutrients.
For many people, red meats, poultry and fish are the main source of B vitamins in their diet. If you’re transitioning to a plant-based diet, you may want to consider a vitamin B supplement.
If you do, try one like Nutrilite™ Vitamin B Dual-Action. It’s two-part design releases vitamins B2 and B12 from one side, while the remaining six essential B vitamins are steadily released over an eight-hour period from the other side.
Plant-based diet benefit 2: Potential weight loss
Plant-based diets can also make a visible difference in your waistline. Studies have shown that people who put plants and whole foods at the center of their diet have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) compared to those whose meals are mostly meat focused.
One long-term study that followed a group of people over 5 years found that meat-eaters had the highest BMIs, while vegetarians and vegans had the lowest. Plant-based eaters have also been shown to keep weight off better once they lose it, according to research.
Plant-based diet benefit 3: Lower risk for some diseases
Studies have shown the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer, including breast, colon and prostate. Research also links it to a decrease in depression symptoms.
Vegetarian and vegan diets have shown the same results, including the ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They’ve also been associated with longer lifespans.
Plant-based doesn’t mean junk food
Cutting back on steaks and barbecued ribs doesn’t mean you can flip your focus to plant-based “junk foods” like mounds of french fries, white pasta smothered in alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese sticks or donuts.
It simply means making good choices about what you’re eating while putting whole foods, fruits and vegetables at the center of your meal.
Need some tips on upping your intake of fruits and vegetables? Read 4 Ways to help your family eat more colorful meals on Amway Connections.
And to learn more about Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual-Action and other Nutrilite supplements, visit Amway.com.