Plant-based diets come with many benefits: Prevent and cure disease and reduce medication intake all through diet

February 21st, 2013 in Health /

Plant-based diets have received much attention recently, with more celebrities making the change, and countless books touting their benefits.  Recent research has shown that plant-based diets are associated with lower incidence of stroke, heart attack and many forms of cancer as well as increased life expectancy and fertility.

"More and more research is suggesting that one of the best things you can do for your heart and your overall health is to implement a plant-based diet," said Andrew Freeman, MD, at National Jewish Health.  "Many doctors do a great job of controlling disease but adopting a plant-based diet is a lifestyle you can make to not only prevent, but offer a chance at a cure of disease."

The two main types of plant-based diets are vegetarian and vegan.  A vegetarian diet is simply a diet that does not include any meat. A is a that also excludes eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Dr. Freeman follows a vegan diet.

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"While and soda would technically qualify as a plant-based diet, that is not what we're advocating," said Dr. Freeman.  "Your diet should be well balanced, with low-fat plant foods, including and plants."

On average, plant-based diets are lower in calories and more dense in nutrients.  The bulk of calories in a come from whole grain starches mixed with vegetables, some fruit and  legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, etc.). One caveat with plant-based diets is that they often lack B12 vitamins, but most soy and almond milks are supplemented with B12. Dr. Freeman says a sample daily plant-based diet could look like:

"Meals like this are satisfying, filling and very nutrient-dense," said Dr. Freeman. He recommends doing your research and checking with your physician before jumping into any plant-based diet. Make sure you understand how to get the right mix of vitamins and nutrients as well as  adequate amounts of protein. There are many resources available online and in books and videos that can help you plan a healthy, plant-based diet.

Provided by National Jewish Health

"Plant-based diets come with many benefits: Prevent and cure disease and reduce medication intake all through diet." February 21st, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-02-plant-based-diets-benefits-disease-medication.html