he benefits of following a plant-based diet are well documented. A whole host of studies have shown that eating more plants can help improve your health—from lowering your risk for heart disease and diabetes to reducing inflammation in your body.
Eating more plants is one of the best things you can do for healthy aging.
Eating more plants is one of the best things you can do for your health. The reason?
Plants are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals—and fiber!
Eating more plant-based foods helps keep everything from your heart to your brain healthy as well as reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes. It could also help you lose weight and lower cholesterol while lowering blood pressure. And eating a plant-based diet may even prevent Alzheimer's disease or dementia by maintaining brain health as you age.
When it comes down to it, there are plenty of reasons why a plant-based diet is ideal for healthy aging. Here's how to get started incorporating more plant-based ingredients into your diet:
Reduce your meat consumption by one serving a week.
Here are some alternatives you can try:
- Replace meat with plant protein: Add beans, nuts, tofu, tempeh or seitan to meals.
- Replace meat with beans: Try this recipe for black beans stuffed with cornbread and poblano peppers (pictured).
- Replace meat with nuts: Create nut-butter spreads that can be used on sandwiches or in sauces for tacos. For example, you can make peanut butter using whole peanuts in a food processor; then add cinnamon and honey to taste if desired. Or try this cashew cheese recipe from Oh She Glows!—it's great on crackers or served as an appetizer dip (pictured).
Include one more serving of fruit or vegetables a day.
You can easily add one more serving of fruit or vegetables a day to your diet. Here are some ideas:
- Add mango, pineapple, or banana to your morning smoothie.
- Add tomatoes, cucumbers, or celery to your lunch salad.
- Add sweet potatoes, carrots and/or avocado slices to dinner.
Try one meatless meal a week.
As with any dietary change, the best way to start is by making small changes and adjusting as you go.
For example, instead of eating chicken for dinner one night each week, try swapping that out for a vegetarian option like beans or tofu. After a couple of weeks of swapping out your chicken dinners for more plant-based meals, you’ll find yourself feeling healthier and more satisfied without missing the meat at all!
Meatless meals can be more satisfying. Studies show that people who eat no animal products at all (vegans) tend to have lower BMIs than those who follow other types of diets—and they can keep their weight down over time too!
Add plant protein to smoothies instead of dairy milk or yogurt.
Smoothies are a great way to pack in your daily dose of veggies, and they're also a perfect way to get more plant protein. Plant-based proteins—such as beans, peas, lentils, and soybeans—are complete proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids needed for health. They’re also easy on the environment because they don't require animal agriculture. Here's how to do it:
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of almond butter or peanut butter to your smoothie
- Replace cow's milk with rice milk or coconut milk (look for brands without carrageenan)
- Try adding hemp seeds or chia seeds as an alternative source of omega-3 fats
We hope this article helped you see the many amazing benefits of eating plant-based and how simple changes can help you get started!
To learn more about going Vegan, check out these additional articles:
Or watch this video to discover plant-based protein alternatives!