Following a plant-based diet has many benefits. Plants possess many nutrients such as minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants you cannot get from other food.
As such following a plant-based diet can help reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, maintain a healthy weight, increase fibre and lower your chance of getting diseases such as cancer.
Plant-based is becoming increasingly popular for that reason, with the number of Australians following a plant-based diet rising from 1.7 to 2.1 million in just four years.
But it’s not just Australia where plant-based is growing. The average annual growth in demand for plant-based foods grew 21% and 58% between 2015-2019, respectively.
Following a plant-based diet can help weight management. Studies have found substantial differences in BMI for vegans in comparison to meat eaters.
The averaged BMI for those following a plant-based diet was 23.6 while those following a carnivore diet had an average BMI of 28.8.
Another study found that 65 overweight adults, who followed a plant-based diet over one year lost on average 5kg.
“Reasons for weight loss is that whole grains and vegetables are low in GI and digested more slowly. Plants are also high in antioxidants and fibre which helps prolong feelings of fullness meaning you are less likely to snack on processed foods,” says Eimele Formulator Simon Hill.
Professor Liz Isenring, Director of LINC Nutrition adds: “Many studies, including those from the famous blue zones (where people live the longest and are healthiest), show that a plant-based diet has many health benefits including decreased risk of obesity and chronic conditions such as heart disease and type II diabetes.
“This is likely due to the high intakes of fibre, prebiotics, and phytochemicals. Plant-based diets are good for the environment with less greenhouse emissions and water consumption.”
That said, Professor Liz advises variety is important when going plant-based. “It is important to eat a wide variety of plant-based foods including fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds to ensure protein, vitamin and mineral requirements are met,” she adds.