Plant-based diet: understand how to do it and what the benefits

Recently, a new type of diet is becoming popular: plant-based. This type of food focuses on the choice of natural products, rich in nutrients and capable of strengthening the body. Understand more about it and what the benefits are:

What is the plant-based diet?

The plant-based diet preaches the consumption of foods with flavors and nutrients in their purest form, that is, that come directly from nature. The term comes from the English Whole Food Plant-Based Diet , which can be translated as “diet based on whole plant foods”.

People who follow this diet plan to eat only with fresh ingredients, consume more vegetables and minimally processed foods. In addition to eliminating as much as possible industrialized , refined and ultra- processed products from the diet.

In addition, the recommendation is to exclude any foods of animal origin such as meat, eggs and dairy products.

It is worth mentioning that the plant-based diet arose from a movement that is concerned with health, the origin of food and also with the environment and the sustainability of the planet. The concept of “real food” is preached on the plate and it is necessary to peel more and unpack less to be healthier on a daily basis.

There is no contraindication to follow this food model. And it can be part of the routine of everyone with different age groups – from children to the elderly, even by athletes.

But it is important to pay attention to the deficiency of some specific nutrients such as proteins , vitamin B12 and D, iron, zinc, calcium and omega 3.

This is because vegetables do not always provide adequate amounts of these nutrients in isolation. Therefore, it is essential to follow the guidance of a professional before starting this type of diet and ensuring the maintenance of health.

How to make a plant-based diet?

To carry out the plant-based diet it is necessary to include foods that come directly from nature to the dishes. And whenever possible, give preference to organic foods to avoid excessive intake of pesticides, which can cause intoxication of the body.

It is worth mentioning that, according to the plant-based philosophy, the more integral the food is, the healthier it is. Therefore, it is necessary to exclude processed foods .

It is important to make changes to every meal and change your lifestyle as well. Therefore, the help of a professional may be necessary to know how to make a plant-based diet properly.

But, basically, it is choosing the foods that are easily found at fairs, which makes the diet very diverse and totally natural.

It is important to start little by little and include more vegetables and whole foods in your daily life. See below for some tips to start practicing plant-based.

  • Eat more vegetables: put more vegetables on your plate and opt for colorful foods;
  • Decrease meat consumption: it is important to avoid eating meat at every meal;
  • Eat a plant-based meal at least one night a week;
  • Include whole grains for breakfast. Worth oats, quinoa, nuts or seeds along with the fruits;
  • Eat fruit for dessert: the ideal is to avoid industrialized sweets such as chocolates and stuffed cookies;
  • Replace milk and dairy products with soy, rice or almond drinks;
  • Include all food groups in your meals: vegetables, fruits and grains.
Vegetables are an important part of the plant based diet. So the more colorful the dish, the better.

What to include?

All foods of plant origin and the most natural possible are released. Among them, the following stand out:

  • Legumes such as beans, soybeans, peas, lentils, chickpeas;
  • Whole grains such as brown rice, corn, wheat;
  • Vegetables in general;
  • Water;
  • Vegetable milks without sugar;
  • Herbal teas;
  • Decaf coffee;
  • Natural juices without sugar or strain;
  • Vegetables such as spinach, endive, almond, broccoli;
  • Fruits;
  • Mushrooms;
  • Basil, rosemary, saffron, curry, black pepper;
  • Tubers such as sweet potatoes, yams and manioc;
  • Oilseeds like chestnuts and walnuts;
  • Healthy fats like canola oil, olive oil or avocado;
  • Tofu.

But some foods cannot be eaten or should be eaten in moderation by those who follow the plant-based diet. Among them, we can mention:

  • Sugar and foods such as industrial cakes and sweets;
  • Refined white carbohydrates;
  • Excess salt;
  • Greasy food;
  • Ready snacks (fast-food) or French fries;
  • Soft drinks and artificial juices;
  • Artificial sweeteners;
  • Animal foods such as eggs, milk and meat.

Is the plant-based diet vegan?

Not necessarily. Plant-based preaches a more natural and sustainable diet. For this reason, it values ​​foods of plant origin and recommends eliminating or avoiding the consumption of industrialized and animal products. But it is not an obligation to leave those of animal origin.

In addition, the philosophies of those who follow plant-based or veganism are different. The first is aimed more at health and eliminating foods that can cause disease. Those who are vegan do not always pay attention to the nutritional quality of their food.

Therefore, it is common for vegans to consume more flour products, fried foods and industrialized products in excess. And plant-based does not allow or recommend the consumption of these types of foods.

It is worth noting that there are several plant-based variations, that is, it can be vegetarian, vegan, low in carbohydrates , ketogenic (very low in carbohydrates) and more flexible, when it allows the consumption of meat, milk and by-products in a moderate way, for example.

What are the benefits?

Several scientific researches carried out around the world prove that a diet based on vegetables and whole foods, such as plant-based, is good for health and promotes several benefits for the organism.

Consuming more natural foods offers more nutrients and antioxidants to the body, which considerably reduces the risk of disease.

The following are details of the benefits of the plant-based diet:

Good for heart health

According to a survey of 200,000 adults, those who adopted a healthy diet based on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts had less risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

That’s because a plant-based diet lowers the body’s bad cholesterol and blood pressure, both conditions are risk factors for heart problems.

Decreases the risk of some types of cancers

A survey of more than 60,000 people found that those who ate more vegetables reduced the risk of gastrointestinal tumors.

Improves brain function

A study of more than 30,000 people showed that consuming more fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementias like Alzheimer’s by 20%. That’s because plant-based diets contain a greater number of antioxidant compounds, which are beneficial to the brain.

Reduces risk of diabetes

A survey of 200,000 people showed that consuming foods like vegetables, fruits and vegetables more often reduced the chances of developing diabetes by 34% .

Can help you lose weight

Consuming minimally processed foods and the most natural possible helps to reduce the body’s inflammatory condition, which increases the risk of weight gain.

The high fiber content of the plant-based diet, along with the exclusion of processed foods, is a combination that helps to eliminate excess pounds.

The plant based diet can favor weight loss.

In addition, plant-based preaches the consumption of whole foods, which contain more fiber and help to increase satiety. Thus, the person consumes less and consequently loses weight.

Increases life expectancy

One study found that a plant-based diet reduces the risk of all causes of mortality by 25%. Consequently, the person lives longer.

Decreases stroke risk

Those who consume more fruits and vegetables had a 21% lower risk of having a stroke, according to a survey.

Is there a ready menu on the plant-based diet?

Yes. You can find some plant-based menu suggestions on the internet. However, beginners in practice should follow the recommendation of a nutritionist to make a change in the dietary routine and understand what the needs are individually.

It is worth mentioning that it is possible to make several different combinations to gain more flavor and increase the diversity of nutrients in meals.

Below is a suggested menu for a day:

  • Breakfast: green juice, rye toast with guacamole, sliced ​​apple with peanut butter (without sugar) sprinkled with cinnamon;
  • Lunch: a dessert plate of leaf salad; quinoa with parsley, chives, cashews, dried apricot and tofu grilled in cubes, black sesame, crooked peas. Dessert: pineapple grilled in coconut oil with honey;
  • Afternoon snack: yogurt made with green coconut pulp;
  • Dinner: zucchini spaghetti with tomato sauce, leafy salad with roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds and a dessert dessert;
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