How a plant-based diet can help seniors this year

Elderwerks Educational Services

Is switching to a more plant-based diet one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, you might be wondering just what you are getting into.

Plant-based typically means a diet which focuses primarily on consuming plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. You can decide whether or not you want to include small amounts of animal products into your eating plan, such as eggs, dairy, fish/seafood, and meat. Of note: opt for lean cuts of meat over fatty ones.

How does the plant-forward style of cooking benefit older adults?

According to the American Heart Association, eating less meat decreases the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, and many cancers. That’s because meat is often loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat, which have starring roles in poor heart health, according to the AHA.

Another perk to eating a plant-based diet? The addition of those high-fiber foods can help boost metabolism and support weight loss.

Wondering where to start?

The American Heart Association recommends first experimenting with a meatless meal once a week, then add more days as you get used to it. (If you don’t want to give up your meat-based protein completely, consider reducing your plate proportions.) Additionally, seek out enticing vegetarian recipes that are easy to prepare and contain ingredients you know you will enjoy.

If you plan to adopt a plant-based diet in the new year, talk to your doctor first to make sure the meal plan can deliver enough calories, protein, calcium and vitamins your body needs.

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