Health + Wellness

9 Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

plant based diet

Growing up, we were always taught to eat our vegetables, and as we grow older that saying remains true. For years, registered dietitians and nutrition scientists have been sharing the perks of eating plants and cutting back on meat.

Here are 9 benefits of following a plant-based diet:

1. Lowers blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure, you’re probably aware that it can lead to heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. The good news is, however, that the foods you eat can do wonders for your blood pressure.

In fact, data from 39 studies show that people who followed a vegetarian diet had lower blood pressure on average than those who followed omnivorous diets, meaning those including plants and meat.

RELATED: This Delicious Plant-Based Diet May Be Key to Managing Diabetes

2. Prevents type 2 diabetes

If you want to prevent type 2 diabetes, take a look at what you eat. One study found that eating a plant-based diet filled with high-quality plant foods reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 34 percent.

So how exactly does a plant-based diet lower your risk? Plants are lower in saturated fats than animal foods, the American Diabetes Association notes. Consuming high levels of saturated fats increases your cholesterol levels and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

3. Keeps your heart healthy

Speaking of saturated fat, when eaten in excess, it can lead to heart issues. So it is wise to load up on fruits and vegetables.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating a plant-based diet may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 16 percent. A plant-based diet may also decrease your risk of dying of from cardiovascular disease by about 31 percent.

When building your menu, think of anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy vegetables, yellow vegetables, whole grains, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, fatty fish, tomatoes, and fruits instead of processed foods.

4. Helps you lose weight

It should come as no surprise that swapping out meat for plants will cause you to lose weight.

One small study found that 65 overweight adults who followed a whole-food, plant-based diet for one year lost

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