Why making the switch to plant-based could be the best thing you’ve ever done? Taking care of yourself shouldn’t have to be hard. We know that it’s important to do things like shower, brush our teeth, and get some sun every once in a while. When it comes to a person’s eating habits, though, it seems like everyone is recommending something different. If you dig a little deeper into some of the diets out there, you’ll not only see that many of them are unnecessarily restrictive, but that they haven’t been proven to work long-term, and definitely aren’t backed by science.
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While these may be the weak spots for many diets, they’re actually the strengths of a plant-based diet. Rather than focusing solely on weight loss, a plant-based diet focuses on the tangible health benefits that every individual can enjoy while eating fresh, living foods. Not only do people enjoy these benefits for as long as they eat plant-based, but the results are backed by years of scientific research. All over the globe, study after study has supported the theory that the more unprocessed plant foods you eat, the heathier and happier you’ll be.
Why you should choose a plant-based diet
Don’t make this choice because you feel pressured to “get your act together” – instead, do it because you want to change your life for the better. A plant-based diet has been proven to improve just about every aspect of your health, from overall mood to energy levels. You can even expect to have lower levels of inflammation, as well as boosted immunity. Key biomarkers like glucose, cholesterol, and hormone levels will improve and eventually reach optimum levels as your body starts to thrive on plant foods. If you want to get started on this new lifestyle, but can’t find the time to learn everything on your own, then consider using a service like Base. They’ll help you figure out exactly what’s going on with your health with at-home or walk-in lab tests, and give you personalized solutions through the Base app on how to fix any problems with your vitamin, mineral, or hormone levels.
People who have made the switch say that they feel younger, stronger, and more vibrant than ever before, and there’s no reason why you couldn’t get the same results. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you would enjoy while eating plant-based.
Sleep harder, think faster, feel stronger
Once you start upping your nutrient intake with all those colorful foods, you’ll start waking up refreshed instead of still being tired. You should notice that you don’t need nearly as much coffee to get going in the morning, or that you’re no longer crashing during the afternoon. And energy isn’t the only thing that will make a comeback – with all the zinc and B vitamins that you’re consuming, you’ll probably notice your libido getting a boost as well.
Eat superfoods to feel superhuman
Alright, superhuman might be a tiny exaggeration…but you might end up agreeing once you’ve incorporated some superfoods into your daily diet! While most plants will have some vitamin or another that it’s especially high in, a superfood will have high amounts of multiple vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Do you want to improve your mood and brain function? Try out kale, or even moringa, kale’s Southeastern Asian cousin. They both provide quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant that’s so effective in improving brain function, it’s even been used successfully with Alzheimer’s patients. Are you concerned about your cholesterol or blood pressure? Try eating chocho, a white legume from South America that’s been shown not only to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, but regulate blood sugar as well.
You can even get superfoods locally, in the form of kale, spinach, broccoli, flax seeds, chia seeds, and more. With these nutrient-dense foods as a part of your daily diet, you can be sure that you’re pretty much flooding your system with all the nutritional support it could ask for.
Reduce your chances of ending up with cancer, heart disease, or autoimmune conditions
These might sound like tall tales, but the research backs it up – people who are plant-based are consistently less likely to get some of the most feared (and most common) diseases in the world. While most of the data is focused on preventing, rather than curing, there’s also some evidence that eating plant-based can cause at least a remission of symptoms in some autoimmune conditions.
The science behind the lifestyle
Since the science supports a plant-based diet so strongly, it’s something that’s definitely worth talking about. Some people think that it must be hard to get everything you need if you’re eating mainly plants, but that’s actually not the case – you just have to be smart about how you get certain things.
Plants have everything you need
Most people know that certain plants are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but what about things like protein and collagen? Just like with the essential nutrients, look no further than your local health food store or farmer’s market for the answer.
Before most people knew about the benefits of a plant-based diet, a common question for vegans and vegetarians was “where do you get your protein?”. Well, there are many sources of protein to choose from, and it turns out that most of them are plant-based! While these sources might not be as concentrated as most animal protein sources, it’s still easy to get the recommended amount each day. You could include things like legumes or seeds in your diet, or even get part of your daily intake from kale, with 3 grams of protein in each cup! Nutritionists recommend that for a healthy high-protein diet, at least 20% of the calories you eat should be from protein; with so many plant protein sources, that’s no problem at all.
Getting enough protein on a plant-based diet is easy, but one thing that’s not quite so obvious is how to get enough collagen. For some people, this won’t even be an issue until they start noticing signs of natural aging, and decide to do something about it. For others, they just don’t want to wait until it’s too late to start upping their collagen intake. While there aren’t any plant sources of collagen, there are still ways to get more than enough. Did you know that your body naturally produces collagen whether or not you’re eating it? It does this to keep your connective tissue smooth and flexible, to build up the lining of your internal organs, and to preserve the elasticity of your skin. With all these uses for collagen, it’s no wonder that we could use some extra help. Luckily, nutrients like lysine, manganese, zinc, and vitamin C all help us to boost collagen production naturally, eliminating the need for animal collagen or sketchy lab-grown supplements. Choices like tomatoes, avocadoes, citrus, dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, and lima beans can all contribute one or more of these nutrients – and these are just a few of your options for boosting collagen production.
A plant-based diet can be adapted to each individual’s needs
Everyone is different, whether you’re looking at their personality, their dress sense, or their metabolism. Descriptions of a balanced plant-based diet usually include recommendations to eat protein, minimally processed carbs and plant fats, and some natural sugars in the form of fruits. However, many processed and sugary foods are also plant-based – just because something lacks animal products doesn’t mean it’s healthy. A relaxed but balanced diet will work for most people, but not everyone, so it’s important to emphasize that even if you’re switching to a plant-based diet with a pre-existing health condition, there’s room here for you too.
Say for instance that you have problems managing your glucose levels. You probably already know to cut out things like refined sugar or decadent baked goods, but you might also want to avoid foods like fruit and most grains at first. Instead, get your carbohydrates from foods that are high in resistant starch, like beans or potatoes.
What if you want to go plant-based, but you know that you react badly to nightshades? Even though foods like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers have a myriad of health benefits, some individuals aren’t quite able to process some of the antinutrients properly. Just give yourself time to heal with other plant-based foods, and don’t force yourself to eat things just because other people say they’re healthy; chances are, you’ll actually be able to re-introduce some nightshades back into your diet as your immune system becomes stronger.
All this information is just an introduction to eating plant-based; there’s so much more to know. You’ll be finding out about a diet that can benefit everyone, but the goal of all that research is to help you live a better life. Being healthy shouldn’t be hard, and it doesn’t have to be; if the idea of managing this adjustment on your own is too much, then maybe using the Base app could give you the support you need. With the right knowledge – and maybe a little help on the side – you could be on your way to the best part of your life in no time at all.