Is a Plant Based Diet Right For You?
Modern day diets are very often heavy on meat, dairy, seafood, eggs and preservatives. However, numerous studies have linked the consumption of animal products to the rise in chronic illnesses, from weight-related conditions to cancer. Because of this, some people have opted to reduce or eliminate their intake of animal products and go completely plant based. But as with many diets, there are advantages and disadvantages to this lifestyle.
A new study published in the Journal of Progress in Cardiovascular Disease adds to the growing body of research on the benefits of plant-based diets and heart health. Researchers have found that vegetarians have 40% less chance of developing coronary heart disease. The diet also helped an estimated 91% of patients reduce or completely clear blockages in their arteries as well as manage blood pressure levels. Experts explain that a diet rich in vegetables is also high in anti-inflammatory properties. On the other hand, animal protein is generally higher in unhealthy fat, cholesterol and environmental pollutants.
Consuming less meat and more vegetables also leads to a healthier diet overall and helps in weight management. Associated diseases such as diabetes and hypertension can be better managed, prevented, or even reversed in some cases. Many find that vegetarian or vegan diets help maintain better muscle-to-fat ratio. This helps prevent joint issues, fatigue and muscle soreness. These reasons have paved the way for athletes to eliminate meat from their diet, one example is Argentinian soccer player Sergio Agüero, who has significantly reduced his muscle injuries since going plant based. Ladbrokes reveals that Agüero is not the only top-level athlete to change his eating habits. Famous athletes like Venus Williams and Lewis Hamilton have become vegan to ensure they’re in the best condition possible. In fact, Williams adheres to a raw vegan diet to manage her autoimmune disorder that affects her joints.
However, as shared on the Dr. Bindiya MD blog regarding vegetarianism, it might not always be the healthier option. Many people seem to think that eliminating meat and animal products is enough to become more healthful and end up ignoring the quality of the food they eat. One of the disadvantages of plant-based diets is that they often entail more preparation which might not fit with people’s busy lifestyles. As a result, Insider noted how some vegans rely too much on processed food such as meat-free sausages and non-dairy cheeses. They are often laden with preservatives and are counterproductive to the goal of adopting healthier eating habits.
This also deprives them of consuming the required amount of essential nutrients such as protein and Vitamin B12. Bear in mind that the average sedentary person requires 46 to 56 grams of protein a day. A cooked chicken breast contains about 54 grams of protein while a homemade lentil burger only contains 12 grams of protein, so it may be difficult to reach the daily recommended amount. For this reason, some people find that a standard diet is much more convenient and accessible.
Lastly, plant-based diets tend to be high in fiber because of the abundance of grains, beans, legumes, vegetables and fruits. However, SF Gate noted that people with certain illnesses, such as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome, have fiber intolerance and may develop gastrointestinal symptoms. In that case, a plant-based diet may do more harm than good.
The evidence points to the fact that plant-based diets have many benefits that can help most people live healthier lifestyles. If you can maintain the quality of the ingredients you prepare, then it could be the right diet for you.