At Upfit Training Academy in New York, NY, we focus on programs that help you become your healthiest and fittest. What you eat, exercise, how much you sleep and a broad range of other factors affect your health, but some are more important than others are. Diet is probably at the top of the list for good health. There are many philosophies on what type of diet is the best. Each choice should be individual, based on personal needs and preferences. A plant-based diet is one of those options. Is it the right choice for you? Investigating the pros and cons is the only way to decide.
What is a plant-based diet?
There are different levels of plant-based diets. Some allow only food from plant sources, while others focus on food mostly from plant sources, but allow eggs and/or milk products. Some include fish or seafood, while others include all types of food, but diet is primarily plant-based, such as the MIND or Mediterranean diet. What is most important in any plant-based diet is eating whole foods and avoiding over processed ones. White rice, bleached wheat products and highly processed food with chemical additives are not part of this type of diet.
There are benefits to plant-based diets.
Plant-based diets can lower blood pressure, which makes it heart healthy and lowers the risk of stroke. Studies show that a plant-based diet can also reduce the risk of developing diabetes. One hypothesis is that a plant-based diet is lower in saturated fat, which can increase the risk. While the jury is out on whether it definitively lowers the risk of cancer, plants contain many nutrients that help protect the body from it. Those include minerals, fiber and many plant chemicals. There is substantial proof it does help lower the risk for specific types of cancer. Weight management and improved cognitive functioning are also positives.
Are there any negatives to a plant-based diet?
One of the biggest functions of a plant-based diet is to get people to eat more whole food without additives, sugar and refining. If you go on this type of diet, but still opt for processed food, you’re defeating the whole purpose. Without proper planning, you could experience problems like low intake of quality protein, iron deficiency, leaching of calcium from the bone, B-12 deficiency and reduced intake of essential fatty acids.
- While it may be difficult to manage a nutritionally balanced plant-based diet, it could be a huge benefit for weight control. Just adding an extra helping of vegetables and reducing the amount of red meat can be a benefit.
- Plant-based diets can be far less expensive than traditional methods of eating. Just making one day a week a meatless day can significantly cut the cost of groceries over a year’s time.
- A plant-based diet may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s according to several studies. Just increasing your daily diet of fruit or vegetables by 100 grams lowered the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia by 13%.
- A major study showed that consuming a plant-based diet decreased the risk of death from all causes by 25%.
For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy