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There are good reasons to eat more plant-based foods. Here are 3 of them.

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Even if you don’t adopt a completely vegetarian diet, here are some good reasons to increase the amount of plant-based foods in your diet:

  • Heart Disease – Fewer vegetarians die from heart disease than non-vegetarians. That’s because plant foods tend to be extremely low in artery-clogging saturated fat. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are also rich in fiber and vitamins like C and E that may provide a heart-protective benefit.
  • Hypertension – Vegetarians tend to have lower blood pressure and a decreased incidence of hypertension than non-vegetarians. This appears to be independent of body weight, sodium intake, exercise habits and dietary fat intake. A higher intake of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables seems to play a role.
  • Diabetes – High-fiber, plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and are linked to improved blood sugar control.

“Vegetarian diets would be the most ideal way to eat. However being in Louisiana and being surrounded by different types of meats, avoiding it can be difficult to do. Just remember that there are good sources of healthy protein like fish, chicken, and turkey. Limit your red meat intake because it is high in cholesterol. “

Adrian P. Landry, MD, Internal Medicine

You don’t need to become a vegan or a vegetarian to reap the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Increasing the amount of plant-based foods you eat and reducing meat and dairy consumption is a solid step in the right direction and may even help you lose a few pounds in the process.

If you’re trying to lose weight and improve your health, it can be hard to make sense of all the health claims of different diets – especially since some seem to be completely at odds with one another.

Take, for example, the vegetarian and keto diets. Vegetarian or vegan diets are plant-based diets that eliminate most or all foods that come from animal sources. This eating style relies mostly on vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. The keto diet, on the other hand, emphasizes rich sources of fat, like those from meat and dairy. It limits foods containing carbohydrates, such as fruit, whole grains, beans and some vegetables.

Although both types of eating styles may lead to weight-loss (as can many other eating plans), plant-based diets offer a number of health advantages. They tend to result in a lower intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, found primarily in animal protein. They also include foods that contain fiber and powerful disease-fighting vitamins and minerals.

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Date Last Reviewed: April 25, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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