Only one out of every 10 adults does not eat enough fruits and vegetables, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? This is a huge problem -- especially given how important fruits and vegetables are to human health. In fact, experts agree that one of the best ways to enjoy optimal health is to move to a plant-based diet. Here’s a closer look at six ways a plant-based diet can help you live a longer, healthier life.
1. It supports better heart health.
A growing body of evidence points to the value of a plant-based diet for cardiovascular health. Take research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, for example, which links a plant-based diet with a 41 percent reduced rate of heart failure.
Concluded researcher Casey M. Rebholz, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “There might be some variability in terms of individual foods, but to reduce cardiovascular disease risk, people should eat more vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fruits, legumes, and fewer animal-based foods.”
2. It defends against diabetes.
As the diabetes epidemic continues to rage, a plant-based diet can be an invaluable defense against developing the condition. Research published in JAMA reveals that eating a mostly plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 23 percent. Concludes the study’s senior author, Dr. Qi Sun, an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “A plant-based diet is very helpful in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.”
3. It cuts your cancer risk.
A plant-based diet has been associated with protecting against the world’s 15 leading causes of death, according to research published in the Journal of Unexplored Medical Data. Many of these are cancer, including breast, prostate, colon, pancreas, ovary, and uterine endometrial cancers.
“With the unsustainable nature of current cancer treatment regimens, focus on prevention, especially through diet and lifestyle changes, presents an important paradigm shift with the potential to make a marked impact on the burden of disease,” concludes the study.
4. It helps with weight loss and management.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight or simply make managing your weight easier, a plant-based has also been proven to be an effective strategy for overweight and obesity prevention and treatment, according to research published in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology.
Not only do people who consume plant-based diets have lower BMI’s than those who don’t, but the adoption of a plant-based diet is also an effective weight loss tool. As such, say researchers, plant-based diets “should be considered a viable option for patients who are interested in losing weight and improving dietary quality consistent with chronic disease prevention and treatment.”
5. It lowers the risk of mortality.
Research published in The Journal of Nutrition reveals that eating a plant-based diet is associated with a five percent lower risk of all-cause mortality. Again, it’s important to note that quality matters. People who eat healthy plant-based foods containing fiber, minerals, antioxidants and other nutritious ingredients come out ahead of those who eat processed foods and foods with added sugar, such as white bread and pasta, breakfast cereal, chips, and cookies.
6. It can help with the treatment of psoriasis.
Currently, there’s no cure for psoriasis, a systemic inflammatory disease that causes red, itchy, scaly skin. Rather, multiple treatments are required to control its systems. According to research published in Alternative Medicine Review, a diet consisting primarily of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoidance of red meat, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates is “an effective medical nutrition therapy for the complementary treatment of psoriasis.”
One last thing to keep in mind? Despite an abundance of compelling evidence, there remains a significant gap between knowledge and application. In other words, while most people are aware that a plant-based diet is better for them, few are actually making the changes needed to reap the benefits. Committing to a plant-based diet can help you take control of your health while looking and feeling better in the process.