Plant-based diets have been around for thousands of years, and additional research is coming out on the benefits of eating more greens and less meat.
To some, plant-based eating means cutting out all animal products, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You can still eat a predominately plant-based diet while enjoying fish, eggs, and even some meat. It’s all about focusing on quality and getting more plant-based food items in your diet than animal-based products.
So, whether you are already on a plant-based diet or not, the research says it all. The more fruits and veggies we get into our diets, the better off we’ll be. This is even truer for those with diabetes. Why? Well, because plant-based foods have been shown to reduce your risk of some of the most common diseases associated with diabetes.
Here are three amazing reasons all people with diabetes should consider adding more plant-based foods to their diet.
Be warned; these reasons may shock you!
#1: Plant-based Diets Can Decrease your Risk of Chronic Disease
Yes, you heard that right. Time and time again, studies are showing that eating a plant-based diet can greatly reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. That’s excellent news for anyone with diabetes, as the risk for heart disease and memory decline is already higher. Here’s just one more reason to add more greens to your diet.
#2: Lose Weight & Reduce Your Cholesterol
A study published by Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, found that those with type 2 diabetes who followed a low-fat vegan diet or a moderate-carbohydrate diet lost weight and improved their cholesterol levels! There was even a greater decrease in A1C levels as well as LDL (the bad type of cholesterol) in those who ate a vegan diet. The proof is in the pudding: plant-based trumps most regimes when it comes to improving cholesterol levels and successfully losing weight.
#3: Improve Heart Health
Plant-based diets tend to be much lower in saturated fats, making it a heart-healthy diet choice. With diabetes, you have to take care of your heart even more than if you didn’t have diabetes. By eating primarily plant-based foods, you can reduce your saturated fat intake, which may even result in some weight loss. It’s a win, win situation.
If you’re nervous about going plant-based or you feel like your diet is already restricted enough, have no fear. No one says you have to jump feet first into a new way of eating. Taking baby steps and making subtle changes can make a long lasting impact on your overall health.
I suggest setting aside two nights per week where you eat a plant-based dinner. Think spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and roasted veggies for the cooler months. There are endless options. Make a plan and stick to it – one plant-based meal at a time.