Author Name: StartRight
Did you know celebrities like Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Ellen Page, Alicia Silverstone, James Cromwell, Rekha, Kangna Ranaut, Anushka Sharma, Vidyut Jamwal, and Ellen Degeneres are few names among the many that opted to shift from eating animal-based food to a vegetarian lifestyle. This lifestyle is trending in celeb’s life. Due to the tough market competition and growing need of oneself to sustain in the industry and maintain work-life balance, it is necessary that the food we eat, should keep us healthy and strong.
Plant-based whole food is a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains and legumes. It excludes all animal-based diet including chicken, fish, dairy products, eggs as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar and oil.
Animal-based diet includes food items that come from an animal source such as meat, milk, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
Why should we stop consuming animal-based food?
Contrary to the belief, dairy products are not required for growth and development of bones. Infact they are the risk factors for various autoimmune diseases, diabetes, prostate and breast cancer. Consumption of dairy products influences the production of growth hormone and thereby increasing the risk of tumorous growth in the body.
Animal-based food lack in fiber where as whole plant foods are rich in fiber that regulates nutrients in the body.
As we know dietary protein plays an important role in prevention and cure of various metabolic dysfunctions. A systematic review is done to compare the effects of plants and animal sourced dietary proteins on various features of metabolic dysfunctions. It is evident that soy protein consumption, (with isoflavones) or other plant proteins like pea and lupine proteins, wheat gluten etc, decreases 3 % of both total and LDL cholesterol as compared to animal protein consumption, in patients with high fasting cholesterol concentration. So it is possible that soy protein with isoflavones may prevent the risk factors like hypertension, hypercholesterolemia etc, which is associated with cardiovascular diseases.
A proper combination of plant-based diet is helpful in prevention of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases due to obesity. It is also evident that in cancer patients, the reduction in animal-based food over plant-based has shown positive results.
Animal-based food is associated with burden of diseases that people needs to realize. Excess protein content in animal-based food increases carcinogenic activity which leads to chronic conditions like coronary artery disease, diabetes etc. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances) for protein is 10% of calories, which tend to gets double, if we consume animal based food.
In patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), the diet should help to slow the rate of disease progression, reduce uremic toxicity, decrease proteinuria, maintain good nutritional status and lower the risk of secondary complications like cardiovascular disease, bone disease and hypertension. National Kidney Foundation recommends vegetarian diet for CKD patients, as it is evident that plant protein has positive effects on blood pressure, proteinuria and glomerular filtration rate and reduces renal tissue damage as compared to animal proteins.
The refined food like sweets, pastries and processed pastas which lack fiber, vitamins and minerals, gets converted to sugar after digestion. This increases the risk for insulin resistance, colon cancer, vascular diseases and weight gain. It is also found that nutrient dense, plant rich (NDPR) dietary patterns proved to be effective at preventing and improving various chronic illnesses like cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Even the finest olive oil is 100% fat, calorically dense and poor in nutrition for people suffering from heart diseases.
Why should we switch to plant-based whole food diet?
Plant-based diets are known to improve plasma lipids, diabetes control, coronary artery disease etc.  We should accept that change is not possible overnight. It will be emotionally and socially challenging to break the chains of what we all are used to. At the same time we should always trust Mother Earth and believe that the most powerful medication is the food that we put in our mouth.
A healthy meal, high in fiber and complex carbohydrates balance of blood sugar levels in blood throughout the day. It keeps us full for a longer period of time with optimal alertness (prevents drowsiness and lethargy) and also prevents our desire for snacking. To lose weight or to reset the taste buds, eat vegetables for breakfast or any meals.
Advantages of Plant-based whole food diet over Animal-based food
Plant-based whole food diet controls high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar level) and lower risks of cancer and helps to reduce weight.
1. Lower Blood pressure: Plant-based whole food diet is rich in potassium content. This helps to lower the blood pressure levels that cause stress and anxiety. In whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and all fruits and vegetables, we get high amount of potassium and Vitamin B6 that decreases the blood pressure level.
2. Lower cholesterol: One egg has twice the amount of cholesterol as a hamburger and fish contains equal or even more cholesterol than meat or poultry, depending on the type we eat. Plants do not have cholesterol even in saturated sources like coconut and cacao. So plant-based diet is the simplest way to balance our cholesterol level.
3. Controls blood sugar: Diabetes or high blood sugar can be controlled by adequate intake of fiber. It reduces sugar absorption in the blood stream and thereby controls excessive hunger during the whole day. It also balances the cortisol levels that cause stress.
4. Lower Risks of cancer: Plant-based whole food diet are usually low in fat and the individual also avoids alcohol and smoking, so it improves our chances to avoid the risk of cancer. On the other hand, animal-based foods are found to be the risk factors for colon and breast cancer.
5. Weight Loss: Although cooked food may help in nutrient absorption but weight loss occurs naturally if we consume diet rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Wellness experts believe that most people loss 5 pounds within 2 weeks of starting a plant-based whole food diet without suppressing the feeling of hunger or deprived.
Changing a habit is difficult but not impossible. It demands commitments, willingness, planning and discipline. It should not be time consuming and expensive. Infact, it actually saves time and money, once we get into the habit of eating healthy.
Plant-based whole food diet is not just mere a diet plan for weight loss, it is a life style that we adapt for a better and healthier life. It does not necessarily have to be boring too. Experiment with the food and embrace a healthier life style.
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