Plant-Based Diet Benefits
There are many benefits when it comes to a plant-based lifestyle. If you are looking to go plant-based it is important to connect to the benefits it has to offer.
Here we will deep dive into the many benefits of a plant-based lifestyle that can help you understand and sustain this lifestyle.
Let us dive into the common benefits and reasons others on this journey connect to, which typically fall under 3 categories:
Better health is a major benefit of a plant-based diet.
Here is a list of possible benefits of a whole food plant-based lifestyle:
Lower Blood Pressure + Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the US and is a man-made disease caused by lifestyle choices. High blood pressure (hypertension) puts stress on the blood vessels, heart and kidneys. Which can increase the risks of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and type 2 diabetes. Medication is often the "fix" suggested, but some doctors are realizing taking medication is not always the only option. Health experts now recognize the correlation between heart disease and diet. Former President Clinton is a prime example of someone who reversed heart disease with a healthy plant-based diet.
Prevent + Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
A plant-based diet has helped people prevent, manage and even reverse type 2 diabetes. "In a 2003 study funded by the NIH, we determined that a plant-based diet controlled blood sugar three times more effectively than a traditional diabetes diet that limited calories and carbohydrates."
Reduce Risks of Cancer
Processed meats, red meat, alcohol, processed foods, and sugary drinks have been classified as carcinogens, which means cancer-causing. Foods that are consistently labeled as cancer-fighting are foods that make up a whole food plant-based diet, like fruits and vegetables.
Foods can directly impact the body causing an inflammatory response and leading to a chronic condition. Foods linked to causing inflammation are foods with added sugars, trans fats, processed meats, red meat, processed and refined foods, dairy, and oils.
Animal products contain hormones that can harm our bodies. For example, they can affect fertility, be linked to conditions like endometriosis, and contribute to early-onset puberty.
Improve Skin Conditions
Diary is associated with acne and inflammation. A healthy plant-based diet reduces inflammation and gives skin a chance for healing and health. Skin Health
Studies have shown a WFPB diet can prevent skin aging and contribute to younger-looking skin. Preventing and Reversing Skin Aging
A study done by Dr. Hana Kahleova, MD, Ph.D., shows eating more plants boosts the gut microbiome. The high-fiber diet promotes healthy gut bacteria and reduces inflammation. The high fiber also improves intestinal function.
Boost Mood + Aid Brain Function
Gut health and the brain are connected. Healthy gut bacteria mean better mood and behavior. Research shows a correlation between a plant-based diet and reduced feelings of depression, anxiety, and fatigue.
Aid Weight Loss + Increasing Metabolism
Eating a low-fat whole food plant-based diet helps weight loss and boosts metabolism. Reference
WFPB diets result in a longer life span and end of life health. The blue zones are a great reference to show the power of a WFPB diet and lifestyle. These regions live the longest and healthiest lives without diseases (like heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes) and eat a predominantly whole food plant-based diet.
Improve Physical Fitness + Increased Endurance
"Plant-based diets play a key role in cardiovascular health, which is critical for endurance athletes. Specifically, these diets improve plasma lipid concentrations, blood pressure, body weight, and blood glucose control, and, as part of a healthful lifestyle, have been shown to reverse atherosclerosis." Cardiovascular Safety and Performance in Endurance Sports
Reduce Exposure to Bacteria, Viruses, Dioxins
Reduce Chances of Antibiotic Resistance
"One of the reasons we are increasingly plagued with new superbugs is the mass feeding of antibiotics to farm animals." Drug Residue in Meat
Another benefit of eating more plants, a healthier planet.
Reducing animal consumption can greatly impact our environment and climate for the better.
Inefficient Land Usage
Animal consumption takes a lot of natural resources to produce animal products. Half of the world's habitable land is used for agriculture. And 77% of agricultural land is used for livestock and livestock feed. Utilizing these resources in this way is extremely inefficient because they only contribute to 18% of the global calories. The remaining 23% of agricultural land produces 82% of the global calories which all come from plant-based foods. See the chart below. Resource
Prolonging World Hunger
David Pimentel a professor of ecology from Cornell University, said "If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million."
The large majority of amazon rainforest land cleared (estimates range from 70-90% of land) has been used for livestock purposes. This negatively affects the climate. Forest and plant life help cool the earth and filter out pollution. Deforestation also pushes animals out of their natural habitat which is causing species displacement and extinction.
Inefficient Water Usage
The amount of water it takes to grow feed and to raise animals is greater than it takes to grow plant foods fed directly to humans. Studies show that a healthy meat-free (vegetarian) diet reduces our water footprint by up to 55%. Water Footprint
Water Supply Pollution
Runoff from factory farms and livestock pollutes our waterways. This can spread viruses and bacteria which impacts the quality of life and health of nearby residents. These polluted waterways can result in the loss of aquatic life and their habitats, shellfish contamination, and seasonal dead zones. Agriculture Affects Water
Ocean Destruction + Pollution
The ocean plays an important role in the health and climate of our planet. Fishing supplies make up over 85% of the plastic pollution in the ocean. Commercial fishing destroys the ocean floor and coral reefs which are home to 7000's different species. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of ocean dead zones. Watch: Cowspiracy + Seaspiracy
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Livestock and their byproducts account for about 50-87% of all greenhouse gas emissions. They are also responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide. A greenhouse gas with 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and can stay in the atmosphere for up to 115-150 years.
Eating plant-based means less animal cruelty.
Removing animal products from your diet means no longer funding and participating in the inhumane practices of factory farms and slaughterhouses.
Unethical Treatment of Animals
Methods used in animal agriculture especially factory farms are often harsh, violent, and unsanitary, force animals into confined living spaces, and shorten animal life span. For example, dairy cows are artificially inseminated for milk-producing purposes. This is done over and over until they are deemed useless and then brought to the slaughterhouse. And their baby calves are separated from them either immediately or within a couple of days of being birthed. Unethical treatment also happens in commercial fishing which kills thousands of animals, like dolphins, sea turtles, and sharks who get caught in the finishing nets, known as bycatch. This industry also destroys coral reefs which are home to 1000s of sea animals. Many of the practices that occur are out of sight and therefore out of mind, these are just a few examples.
Animals Are Sentient
Which means they can feel and perceive. They experience fear and will fight for their life. They also grow strong bonds with each other and their offspring.
Going Against Nature
Farming practices and animal production is unnatural. Cows do not produce an endless supply of milk. They only produce milk all the time because of human interference due to artificial insemination. Cows are often injected with hormones to grow faster.
Less violence and harm to all beings makes the world a better place which means better humankind.
We can elevate how we live our lives and start paying attention to the energy that goes into everything we consume. Not just our physical body, but also energetically.