By Richa Gupta, Founder, Good Food For Good
Hello friends, my guess is that if you are reading this blog you are interested in adding more plants to your diet. Perhaps you have heard that UN has declared 2021 the year International year of fruits and vegetables. Whether you are thinking of just trying to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet or switching completely to a plant based diet, you have come to the right place.
Too many vegetables are bad for you – said no one ever. This right here should be the reason enough to eat more plants, but if you are still not convinced continue reading and I hope by the time you reach the 8th reason you are ready to start a new lifestyle.
Fight Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of premature death not just in US but around the world. Scientific studies led by Dean Ornish, MD, Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., MD, and others have confirmed that low fat, plant based diet combined with regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can prevent, delay and even reverse heart disease. Plant based diets benefit heart because they are rich in fiber and very low in fat. High fat and cholesterol rich diet causes plaque buildup in the arteries, eventually leading to heart disease.
Reducing The Risk Of Diabetes
Plant based diets have been linked to reducing the risk of Diabetes. Diabetes is one of the top ten reasons people die prematurely and it has been on a rise. According to WHO deaths linked to Diabetes grew over 70% between 2000 and 2019. Type 2 Diabetes is most common form of diabetes in adults. Type 2 Diabetes is caused when our cells stop responding to insulin (Insulin Resistance), leading to elevation of blood glucose levels and increase in insulin production from pancreas This leads to gradual exhaustion of pancreas leading to reduced production of insulin that results in elevated blood glucose levels. Scientific studies indicate a plant based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts and whole grains is very effective in managing type 2 diabetes. Consumption of animal products is associated with fat deposition in cells which interferes with the normal function of insulin – transporting glucose from blood into the cells. This ends up increasing the glucose levels in blood leading to development of hyperglycemia and type2 diabetes. Since plant based diets have very little saturated fats prevalence of type 2 diabetes is 2.9% among vegan and 7.8% among people who eat animal products.
Hypertension or High blood
Hypertension or High blood pressure affects roughly 30% Americans and it is often known as a silent killer as it has almost no significant symptoms until after it has already done major damage to the heart and arteries. A plant based diet rich in potassium is known to improves blood pressure. High blood pressure is also known to increases the risk for heart diseases, stroke and diabetes. Hypertension develops when heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body – main reasons are excess body weight and too much fat in cells. Fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium that helps lower blood pressure they are also low in fat and sodium and are free of cholesterol. Plant based diet is also linked to an effective way of managing weight. Avoiding meat and dairy and added fats also reduces the blood's viscosity which makes the blood easier to pump that helps bring down blood pressure.
Excess weight or obesity is linked to many diseases mentioned above. Even though plant based diets are not the only way to lose weight they do come with a lot of other benefits like improving heart health, reducing blood sugar and improving hypertension to make it the top contender for the spot. People on plant based diet tend to lose weight as whole food plant based diet is rich in fibre and people tend to consume fewer calories when eating plant based.
Improve Gut Biome
Plant based diet helps maintain and improve healthy gut biome. Our guts have nearly 3 trillion microbes and they differ drastically from one person to another. An imbalance in gut microbiota has been linked to many gastrointestinal conditions and even some systemic conditions such as obesity, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Diet appears to have a long term and acute effect on the gut ecosystem. A plant based diet promotes the development of more diverse and stable gut microbial system that is beneficial for human health. It is the fibre and polyphenols in plant based food that help with developing and maintaining healthy gut biome. High Fibre intake also encourages the growth of species that ferment fibre into metabolites as Short-chain fatty acids. Short Chain Fatty acids have many positive health effects including improved immunity against pathogens. Want to boost your immunity – Eat your vegetables! Wondering if fibre supplement will get you your 25g a day, think again. It’s not just the fibre it is also the variety of fibre and polyphenols that plant based food is abundant in that is needed for healthy gut microbiome. Next time you are thinking of what to eat, think of the 3 trillion guests you have in your gut and think of what would make them happy.
Accessible Way To Be Healthier
Eating Plant based is healthier not just for you but for your wallet too. If done write eating whole foods plant based will save you a good penny on your grocery and restaurant bill in the short term and health care in the long run. Doing plant based right involves purchasing more ingredients vs. processed food. This also allows you to add variety of plant based food to your diet. For example instead of purchasing same meat alternative week after week buying a variety of legumes (beans & pulses), seeds and nuts will give you a wider range of nutrients that is essential for a healthy gut. Buying seasonal fresh produce and incorporating it in your diet with other plant based nutrient rich ingredients like legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds will leave you and your wallet healthy for life.
Better For Environment
Eating plant based puts less stress on the resources like water and land. For example it takes about 660 gallons of water to produce 1 hamburger, this is equivalent to showers for 2 months. This includes water used to grow the feed for livestock, water that they consumer, water that gets used in the process of converting a cow into a hamburger. In US alone 55% of water is used for animal agriculture and only 5% for domestic use. If you live in California and have gone through a draught where you got asked to take fewer showers or not water your lawn, you know you could prevent it in the future by changing what’s on your plate.
Now let’s talk about land. Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land. Imagine if that land was available, what the housing market would look like? On a 1.5 acre land you could either farm 37,000 lbs of plant based food or 375lbs of meat that is 1000 times more food from the same piece of land.
Cut Your Carbon Footprint
Last but not the least, it is a common knowledge now that plant based diet helps cut your carbon footprint by 50%. As Livestock and their by-products are responsible for contributing 51% to the global greenhouse emissions whereas transportation (including air, road, rail and marine) contribute only 13%. You can make a bigger impact by changing what’s on your plate vs. what you drive.
Hope some of these reasons would inspire you to consider plant based diet or just adding more plants to your plate. There are way more benefits not just for you but for your wallet and the planet too. At Good Food For Good we are here to help you in this journey by making it easy and delicious for you to eat plant based food.
About Good Food For Good
Good Food For Good sauces are made with wholesome organic vegetables and spices without the use of any additives, sugars or preservatives. Good Food For Good is on a mission to make it easy for people to eat well and do good and donates a meal to people in need with every purchase through our Buy One Feed One model.