Health aspects of a plant based diet.
There are and have been many adverse opinions around plant based diets and their benefits/flaws. Before getting deep into it, we need to understand that everyone is different. Specifically, everyone’s energy/intake requirements will differ or essentially need to differ depending on a range of an individual’s internal and external factors. Starting anywhere from background to lifestyle, beliefs, physical activity level and ability, personal preference (taste), the list goes on! So, whilst keeping this in mind, let’s understand the plant based diet a little more…
A plant based diet, defined, is a diet that consists of majority or entirely foods derived and found from plants. Ranging from vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and very little or no animal products. This differs from that of a vegetarian diet, as these diets can include foods produced by animals (eggs, cheese, milk etc).
A plant based diet, constructed and consumed correctly can be extremely beneficial. Depending on a person’s/athlete’s physical activity level, goals, aspirations etc. it has even been found to positively affect athletic performance! Furthermore, this diet can then be broken down and discussed in many, many ways. E.g. Effect on athletic performance, effect and possible energy enhancer, it’s effect on mood and wellbeing, etc.
For now, to simplify the main facts, below are the popular health benefits of a plant based diet:
- Lowering risk of heart disease
- Can reverse, manage and prevent type 2 diabetes
- Encourages weight loss without the particular need for exercise or calorie counting (due to replacing high fat foods with fibre rich foods, fruits vegetables, grains etc which generally compose of less calories)
- Can lower the risk of developing some cancers
- Increase cognitive functioning, resulting in reduced risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease
- Rich in antioxidants, folate, vitamins and minerals which offer a protective effect among the immune and physiological functions
- Can be cost effective
- Lowers risk of overweight and obesity
The health risks can include:
- Can lead to Inadequate protein, vitamin and mineral intake
- Some studies have discovered a possible risk of stroke to those who consume a plant based diet
- Those who consume animal protein can be found to be at lower risk of developing heart disease
To be quite frank, it is honestly hard to find a lot of information and studies around negative effects on the plant-based diet. There are some studies that go into the possibility of heart disease but these studies do not show an incredibly strong argument or evidence.
Overlooking the benefits and risks, from a personal view and standpoint I do find that the positive health aspects of a plant-based diets outweigh the negatives. So much so, I am considering giving a plant-based diet a go, to see what happens to my energy, performance, overall mood, etc.
I would love to know if you’d like to follow this journey and if you’d like me to further break down this topic as I go through the testing the diet!