How does Plant-Forward (Plant-Based) Eating Benefit Your Health?

How does Plant-Forward (Plant-Based) Eating Benefit Your Health?

Read below to learn more:

Whether you’re considering eating less meat or giving it up entirely, the benefits are clear: less risk of disease and improved health and well-being. Consuming less meat decreases the risk of:

Meat is often loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat, which have starring roles in poor heart health. And processed meats, including deli meat, bacon and sausage, often have too much sodium and other additives, and should be limited. However, if you want to include meat into your eating plan, choose lean meats. Be sure to include skinless poultry, seafood, fish, beans, nuts and legumes, too, because they are healthy sources of protein.

Diets or eating styles that do not or restrict meat include:

  • Vegan — entirely plant-based, excluding meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey and any product that comes from an animal.
  • Vegetarians — a plant-based diet, but may include dairy and eggs.
  • Flexitarian — a vegetarian diet that sometimes indulges in meat or fish but mostly sticks to plant foods.
  • Plant-based — a style of cooking and eating that emphasizes plant-based foods but is not strictly limited to them. Meat may be included, but it’s usually not the main feature of the meal.

Lean protein

Not eating meat does not mean you can’t get enough protein in your diet. In fact, many people eat more than enough protein, especially from animal foods. There are plenty of other foods that can provide you with protein, such as tofu, edamame, quinoa, sorghum, lentils, chickpeas and most beans and legumes. And there are many good sources of protein from vegetables, too, including artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, corn, peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes and turnip greens. Did you know that every plant we eat has some protein in it? So, the more vegetables you eat, the more protein you’ll consume.

Not all plant-based diets are healthy

Don’t replace meats with highly processed meat substitutes or “vegan junk food.” Instead choose high-quality, nutrient-dense plant-based foods. A recent study showed that eating primarily these types of food, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes and nuts, was associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases. The researchers concluded that even if you’ve eaten a poor diet for half your life, adding more healthy plant foods as an adult can help reduce your risk.

Making the switch

Going plant-based is not as difficult as you may think. In fact, getting started can be as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Search for some vegetarian recipes that are easy to prepare and sound appealing to you and your family.
  2. Choose ingredients and flavors you know your family will enjoy.
  3. Try meatless Mondays! Experiment with a meatless meal once a week, then add more days as you get used to it. 

Adapted from: