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Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Introduction

Healthy eating has been a point of concern for many people over the years. With a variety of social statuses, lifestyles, schedules, managing one’s diet is becoming increasingly harder. In the ever-changing world of today, taking care of the body and health is a necessity, especially when the other factors of life put a person under heavy stress. In this predicament, some people turn to regulating their diets in a certain way. The rejection of meat and the switch to plant-based eating is one such regulation.

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Vegetarianism and veganism are said to have a number of benefits compared to an omnivore diet, and a considerable amount of research has been done on the subject. It is said that an herbivore eating pattern helps to counter heart disease, obesity and diabetes. This document seeks to prove the health benefits vegetarianism and other plant-based diets have. The main aim is to discuss the benefits of this approach compared to the others, as well as analyze a number of studies and texts on the topic. The works describing disease prevention and treatment methods, peculiarities of the diet will be brought up and examined. The purpose of this paper is to prove that a plant-based diet is enough nutritious and is beneficial for preventing serious diseases.

Perceived Risks

Some misconceptions exist about the possible dangers of vegetarianism and veganism. The first thing that concerns many then switching to a plant-based diet is its nutritional values and benefits. People are usually under the assumption that a balanced diet should contain all kinds of food, and excluding some can lead to long-term health problems. While this claim is true, a switch to a vegan or vegetarian eating can provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals one’s body requires.

A person can construct a full diet by taking into account their biological needs and the composition of their meals. One needs the necessary plants containing an equivalent amount of needed vitamin to a non-plant alternative. A structured, regular diet guarantees good health. As reported by the Craig, Mangels, and American Dietetic Association (2009), well-thought-out, plant-based eating can provide all of the needed vitamins and nutrients to the body. They state: “total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits” (Craig, Mangels and American Dietetic Association 2009, 1266). This assessment notes, that, with careful consideration, a plant-based diet can be as effective, or even more effective than its alternatives.

Another point of concern for many is the dangers to the more vulnerable groups. Vegetarianism and veganism are sometimes thought to be detrimental or harmful to pregnant people, infants, and children. Some people think that maintaining a plant diet is taxing for the body and might affect the health and well-being of those still in development. However, such claims are also disproved by the American Dietetic Association. Their research shows that well-maintained diets “are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle” (Craig, Mangels and American Dietetic Association 2009, 1266). They elaborate that plant-based food contains almost all of the needed nutrients, and the missing ones can be supplemented. This analysis shows that as long as the diet is regulated, there are no harmful effects or downsides to vegetarianism or veganism.

Prevention

Discussing the benefits of switching to a plant-based diet, there are a number of advantages to consider. For example, vegetarianism and veganism can aid in the prevention of harmful conditions and diseases. An examination by Barnard, Levin, and Trapp (2014) shows that the consumption of meat has been consistently linked with the development of type 2 diabetes. Olfert and Wattick (2018) also present the idea of using a vegan diet to prevent the development of diabetes. This article states that with contemporary dietary fat and sugar saturation, plant-based food can reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes. Their collective research shows that eating meat can also be a risk factor for people susceptible to diabetes, and changes to one’s diet can be beneficial. In this situation, a switch to a vegetarian diet should bring a positive change to a person’s health.

Another area that a plant-based diet affects is guttural health. The presence of a certain bacteria in the human intestine is directly linked to diseases like obesity and diabetes (Glick-Bauer and Yeh 2014). A paper by Glick-Bauer and Yeh describes that an increased fiber intake can prevent the occurrence of such diseases and also protect against some form of cancer. This research helps to display the prevention benefits of a plant-based diet.

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Treatment

Furthermore, veganism and vegetarianism can also be used to treat various conditions as well. Plant-based diets are noted to be a good and effective option for weight loss and the treatment of obesity. Barnard, Kahleova, and Levin (2019) state that the limited intake of saturated fats and low-density lipoprotein associated with this type of diet can be beneficial to reducing weight, even with no physical activity. With a vegetable-based diet, the main factors responsible for cardiovascular disease and obesity can be negated.

The change of one’s dietary habits can bring both long-term and short-term positive changes. Evidence also suggests that a plant-based diet is sufficiently more effective than any other type in managing weight (Harland and Garton 2016). Vegetarianism and veganism help improve the overall quality of health and combat dangerous conditions. The effects of a vegetarian diet on people suffering from coronary heart disease and other types of cardiovascular diseases is noticeable as well. In a particular study, the group of people that changed their diet to a plant-based one saw a significant improvement to their health (Ornish 1998). The subjects were monitored over a period from 1 to 5 years, and the positive correlations started to appear during the first year (Ornish 1998). The results of this research show that adherence to a vegetarian diet can be effective in treating cardiovascular disease.

Conclusion

A plant-based diet has several significant advantages that cannot be underestimated. First of all, it is beneficial for preventing severe diseases such as cardiac failure. Secondly, it helps to get fewer fats: it is crucial for a high quality of life in modern society as people do not have enough physical exercise. Finally, it is possible to conclude that vegetarianism and veganism are necessary for the right functioning of the organism and its systems. What is more, in a long-term period, a plant-based diet is the best option to improve the level of well-being. Vegetarianism and veganism often become not only nutritional habits but also a way of living. They help to establish healthy habits and implement them into an everyday routine. The life of a person becomes more conscious; the state of health becomes better.

References

Barnard, Neal, Hana Kahleova, and Susan Levin. 2019. “The Use of Plant-Based Diets for Obesity Treatment.” International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention 1 (1), 12 pp. 

Barnard, Neal, Susan Levin, and Caroline Trapp. 2014. “Meat Consumption as a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes.” Nutrients 6 (2): 897–910. 

Craig, Winston, Ann Reed Mangels, and American Dietetic Association. 2009. “Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109 (7): 1266–82. 

Glick-Bauer, Marian, and Ming-Chin Yeh. 2014. “The Health Advantage of a Vegan Diet: Exploring the Gut Microbiota Connection.” Nutrients 6 (11): 4822–38. 

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Harland, Jan, and L. Garton. 2016. “An Update of the Evidence Relating to Plant-Based Diets and Cardiovascular Disease, Type 2 Diabetes and Overweight.” Nutrition Bulletin 41 (4): 323–38. 

Olfert, Melissa D., and Rachel A. Wattick. 2018. “Vegetarian Diets and the Risk of Diabetes.” Current Diabetes Reports 18 (11). 

Ornish, Dean. 1998. “Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease.” Jama 280 (23): 2001. 

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet." October 28, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/benefits-of-a-plant-based-diet/.

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