Plant-based diets have been making waves in the health and wellness industry, as more and more people around the world are ditching meat products for various reasons. And with Newsweek reporting that the plant-based food industry is now worth nearly $5 billion in the US alone, it’s safe to say that this diet is more than just a mere trend.
So, what exactly is a plant-based diet? And more importantly, how can you try it out?
What Do You Eat?
A plant-based diet is quite simple as it is exactly what it sounds like: You eat food from plant sources. This means you’ll need to stock your refrigerator and pantry with nature’s treasures — fruits and vegetables — which are all rich sources of nutrients. And while these two may be the most popular components, there are tons of plant-based food that you can incorporate into your diet too, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, healthy oils, herbs, and spices.
And if you’re concerned about your protein intake, there’s no need to worry, as registered dietitian Samantha Cassetty shares with NBC News that you can still have the right amount of protein in this diet. This can be achieved by consuming plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, and even peanut butter.
What Are the Benefits?
The key to a healthy life is eating nourishing food, as it opens the doors to good health and wellbeing, longevity, and even a lovely appearance. Bright fruits are rich in antioxidants that protect your cells, while vegetables like kale are filled with vitamins that can do a world of good for your health.
However, there’s more to a plant-based diet than just eating fruits and vegetables. Mercey Livingston writes on Parsley Health that herbs like holy basil and Schisandra boast a myriad of health benefits for you, too.
These lesser-known food items are not only super sources of energy, but also offer their own unique perks. Holy basil promotes mental wellness as it is chockfull of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties, while Schisandra can help fight off cancer thanks to its antioxidant lignans, which boost your immune system.
What’s more, taking up a plant-based diet can also lead to a leaner body. As our fitness and nutrition expert James Williams has previously shared, consuming healthy nutritious meals can help you lose weight because they boost your metabolism.
And although plant-based diets weren’t designed for weight loss, shedding some pounds is a direct effect, as you’re filling your body with the nutrients it needs instead of unhealthy substances like saturated fat or refined sugar.
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How Can You Get Started With Plant-Based Diet?
If you’d like to transition to a plant-based diet, the trick is to go slowly but surely. It’s important that you don’t completely ditch your previous diet, as this can cause your body to feel fatigued and confused. In fact, The Ascent notes that suddenly changing your diet can be extremely harmful to your immune and digestive systems.
You can carefully introduce your mind and body to a plant-based diet by gradually eating food from plant sources before you fully transition to one. While buying the items and cooking the meals for a plant-based diet might sound simple enough, it’s important to cultivate self-discipline for this diet to work. From there, you’ll not only get used to eating plant-based food, but you’ll also develop a deep appreciation for them.