3 reasons to try a plant-based diet

Plant-based diets are more than just a trend. There are many health benefits too to loading your plate with whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Here are 3 reasons to try a plant-based diet this year:

1. A plant-based diet may help prevent, treat or reverse some of our leading causes of death, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Harvard researchers found that people who averaged eight-plus servings of fruits and vegetables a day were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke, compared to those who had less than 1.5 daily servings.

The main dietary staples of a plant-based diet include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These types of foods provide nutrient benefits because they are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. A plant-based diet can help lower blood pressure too.

2. A plant-based diet can lead to weight loss.

Research shows that meat is independently associated with obesity. The standard American diet is called SAD for a reason: It’s loaded with processed foods that drive many of the standard American diseases, including obesity.

Veggies such as kale, cabbage, spinach, and lettuce are especially beneficial. A compound in dark green leafies called thylakoid can actually turn off your hunger switch and help fight cravings for unhealthy foods, while a pound of nonstarchy veggies has fewer calories than a tablespoon of olive oil.

3. Adopting a plant-based diet is good for the environment.

It takes about 15 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef and about 5 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of chicken. We grow a lot of grain to feed animals, but we would use less water and other energy resources if we ate the grain ourselves and reduced greenhouse gas.

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