The power of plants! 4 amazing benefits of adding more plants to your diet.
Updated: Mar 15, 2022
Over the past 30 days, Be Well Health Coaching has run a social media campaign to try to encourage people to each more vegetables. If you missed it, please check out the posts on Facebook (@bewellwithdianna). The campaign featured a variety of vegetables, highlighted the amazing health benefits, and provided delicious recipes to experience the vegetables in different ways. My hope is that you read the posts and were inspired to try a new vegetable or experiment with a new preparation method.
Now, just to be clear, adding more vegetables to your plate doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian. In fact, let’s define some common plant-based dietary terms in case there is any confusion:
A vegan diet is completely plant-based and avoids anything that comes from an animal. This means no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or dairy products.
Vegetarian diets are plant-based, but sometimes people will also consume eggs and dairy.
Pescatarian means a person follows a vegetarian diet but will also eat fish or seafood on occasion.
A flexitarian diet is even more broad and consists of primarily plant-based foods but sometimes adds fish, meat, or poultry.
Finally, plant-forward diets emphasize plant-based foods, but do not restrict meat, poultry, fish, or other animal products. In this way of eating, meat may be included, but it not usually the main component of a meal.
If you aren’t used to eating vegetables on a regular basis, I encourage you to try implementing a more plant-forward approach and see how you feel. Still not convinced? Here are 4 amazing benefits of adding more plants to your daily diet.
1. Eating plant foods is good for your health
There are tremendous health benefits associated with increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. Plant-based foods are full of vitamins and minerals, high in fiber, and low in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat. People who follow plant-based diets have lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, lower risk of developing certain cancers, and improved cognitive functioning.
2. Eating plant foods is good for your waistline
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, research shows that people who follow a plant-based diet tend to weigh less and gain less weight over time compared to people who don’t follow a plant-based diet. In general, plant-based diets are higher in fiber and less energy dense, resulting in a lower calorie intake. It is important to remember though that not all vegetarian or vegan foods are “healthy” and that many non-meat options can still be heavily processed and calorie dense. Therefore, it’s important to stick to whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and plant-based proteins such as tofu to truly reap the weight loss and weight management benefits of a plant-based diet.
3. Eating plant foods is good for your wallet
Plant-based diets can also be more budget friendly. For example, according to a study in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, switching to a plant-based diet can save approximately $750 per year. Whole plant-based foods such as dried beans and lentils, whole grains, fresh/frozen/dehydrated fruits and vegetables, seeds, and nuts are inexpensive options at any grocery store. Additionally, cost savings can be realized through decreased medical costs associated with the improved health benefits of a plant-based diet.
4. Eating plant foods is good for the environment
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), indicates that not only are plant-based diets good for our health, but also for Earth’s health. Specifically, shifting more towards plant foods instead of animal foods could reduce carbon emissions and waste byproducts, as well as reduce water use by at least 50 percent!
Plants sound pretty great, right? If you are not sure where to start, check out my blog on 5 easy ways to get more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. I’m also available for a free initial consultation so that we can work together to make sustainable dietary and lifestyle changes to help you feel your best.
Until next time…Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.