If you have already started on cutting back on the amount of meat you eat and considering making a switch to a more plant-based diet, then you are part of a worldwide trend. There has been a growing interest across the globe for plant-based diets that skip or scale back on meat and other animal products. For any reason that you are still undecided if you should indeed hop on the bandwagon, here are some of the benefits of plant-based diets for older adults.
What Is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet offers plenty of benefits. Increasing servings of vegetables and fruits can help to improve overall health and wellness for older adults. This can in turn reverse the side effects of heart and immune diseases. A plant-based diet involves consuming whole, minimally-processed foods. It also centers around limiting or avoiding food products that are sourced from animals. It mainly focuses on foods that grow from the trees or ground and a list of these foods include:
- Fruits: Any type of fruit such as grapes, bananas, apples, avocado, citrus, and strawberries
- Vegetables: Leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, and carrots
- Legumes: Lentils, beans, and chickpeas
- Root Vegetables: Sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, and yams
- Whole Grains: Brown rice, oats, whole wheat, and buckwheat
There are several variations of plant-based diets. For some individuals, plant-based foods mean strictly vegan and they avoid any food products that come from an animal. This means that they do not take dairy, meat, fish, and eggs. Others consider themselves variations of a vegetarian like pescatarians who do eat fish in addition to a plant-based diet. There are also ovo-vegetarians who eat eggs but refrain from taking any dairy products whereas lacto-vegetarians do not eat eggs but they do consume dairy.
Benefits of Plant-Based Diets
Research shows that a plant-based diet can offer you results in just a matter of several weeks. Once you have cut down or fully eliminated animal products from your diet, you can look forward to the following changes:
- Heart Health
Your heart health will improve when you replace saturated fats with mono-unsaturated fatty acids from plants that provide you with an equal number of calories. They lower the risk of deaths caused by heart disease and death from any cause by up to 15 percent.
You will feel younger because of your youthful complexion. Plant-based foods are highly hydrating, leaving your skin feeling and looking younger.
You will forget less and foods like blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, chickpeas, and green tea reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as they lower the amount of cortisol which is often associated with stress.
- Weight Loss
Plant-based diets require you to replace sugar, cholesterol, and fat with proteins, fiber, and vitamins. This kind of diet can help you to lose weight as well as build muscle.
- Better Sleep
Foods like kale and banana are rich in tryptophan, vitamin B6, and magnesium. These are essential nutrients that boost melatonin levels which are necessary for a good night’s sleep.
- Raised Energy
Leafy greens, beans, and chia seeds are all great ingredients that increase energy levels.