image

Should you be eating more plant-based?

Yes, probably! It can make you healthier and happier. (No rabbit food required)

If, up until now, you’ve regarded the concept of plant-based eating as a fancy way of referring to vegetarianism, it’s time for a rethink. In fact, the term describes a phenomenon that’s gearing up to be the can-do food trend of the decade, due to the health benefits and fit-any-lifestyle flexibility. Plant-based eating – that’s basing your diet around pulses, legumes, nuts, vegetables and fruit – may mean eating a vegan diet until dinnertime, or you could go veggie five days out of seven, or simply commit to meat-free Mondays.

The power of plants 

‘People increasingly understand that a healthier diet involves upping their intake of plant-based foods,’ says nutritionist and medicinal chef Dale Pinnock (dalepinnock.com). He isn’t the only industry insider who’s aware of the shift. ‘More and more of my patients are becoming semi-vegetarian, cutting out meat and poultry, but still eating oily fish and eggs,’ says Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD, a nutritionist specialising in women’s health (marilynglenville.com).

And there’s good reason for it – the savings on your weekly shop (veggie meals are, on average, 60% cheaper than meaty dishes), less guilt about the environmental impact (farms breeding animals for meat and dairy produce 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions) and, of course, the added health benefits. ‘There is increased awareness about the association of meat with certain cancers, such as colon cancer,’ says Priya Tew, a British Dietetic Association-registered dietitian. Red and processed meats are high in saturated fat, calories and cholesterol, and are linked to conditions such as obesity and diabetes, while the risk of breast cancer rises the more red meat intake increases, according to a study of nearly 90,000 US women.

Eat veg, live longer 

As far as Pinnock is concerned, it’s simple. ‘Switching to a more plant-based diet gives you an opportunity to take in a broader spectrum of nutrients and phytochemicals that can have a beneficial effect on your health,’ he explains. But does going increasingly meat-free mean that we’ll miss out on all-important protein, or vital minerals such as iron? In short, the answer is no. ‘You won’t be deficient if you eat a good variety of grains, pulses, nuts, fruit and vegetables,’ says Glenville.

When it comes to health benefits, the evidence speaks for itself. ‘A study of 60,000 men and women found that the more fruit and vegetables people ate, the less likely they were to die of cancer, heart disease and stroke at any age,’ says Glenville. ‘The findings are incontrovertible: the more veg you eat, the better your chances of living a long, healthy life.’ An Oxford University study also found that eating meat no more than three times a week and replacing it with plant-based foods would prevent 45,000 early deaths a year in the UK. So give your diet an extra boost. Far from restricting what you eat, you’ll find stacks of health-boosting alternatives that are kinder to the planet, too.

Ensure your plant-plus diet provides the nutrients you need 

Pulses

IRON 

Essential for energy, digestion and nerve function Swap red meat for dried fruit, peas, lentils, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, nuts and tofu.

VITAMIN B12 

Needed for red blood cell formation and neurological functions. If cutting down on meat, fish and dairy, take a supplement to be on the safe side.

CALCIUM 

Crucial for healthy bones and teeth. ‘Dairy-free foods and drinks are often fortified with calcium – just check the label,’ says Tew. Also eat green veg, nuts or seeds.

Find more great health, lifestyle and fitness content in healthy magazine and at healthy-magazine.co.uk

Originally written by Laura Potter for healthy magazine

The following two tabs change content below.
Healthy is the UK’s top-selling wellbeing magazine, brought to you by Holland & Barrett.

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password
ElizabethA4
21st May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Eurovision we don't have a cat in hells chance especially because of Brexit

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!