The Nutritional Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet – Summary

There ís a common misconception that a plant-based diet is not as good as a balanced diet, which usually involves eating a combination of meat and vegetables. The truth is quite the opposite. 

A plant-based diet is more beneficial and has a higher nutritional value than a diet that includes meat.

It is an undeniable fact that in the long run, a plant-based diet is healthier and will cause fewer problems as you age. While meat is considered a whole protein and is rich in all of the amino acids, this is not necessarily a healthier, better way to consume our protein. In fact, we know that consuming too many animal products leads to inflammation, high cholesterol, and many other health issues, which are mentioned in detail in my book The Guerrilla Diet & Lifestyle program.

Inflammation alone is a silent culprit that causes most of the modern-day diseases that cause mortality. High fat and cholesterol levels found in meat and dairy lead to stroke and heart disease. This is the most researched aspect of nutrition, so all of the fad diets stating that it is not the fat that is the problem, but rather the sugar that causes these diseases, is quite misleading. Excess fat and protein from animal products, as well as excess refined sugar, are the cause behind most of these diseases.

Meat contains many toxins leading to the formation of inflammatory compounds, including TMAO, heterocyclic amines, heme iron, neu5GC, endotoxins, and AGEs.

These compounds inflame the body and wreak havoc in the long run.

A plant-based diet is much more suitable for humans. It accrues considerably more nutritional benefits than an omnivorous one.

Lets quickly go into the reasons for going whole food plant-based:

* Vitamin Content

Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins. Cabbages, papayas, etc., are rich in vitamin A. 

If you consume peas, potatoes, bananas, leafy green vegetables, oranges, tomatoes, lemons, legumes, spinach, and assorted nuts, you’ll get vitamins B, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.

Just the foods listed here are enough to give you all of the 13 essential vitamins. There are so many more vegetables and fruits to choose from, and the wider the variety of plant-based foods in your diet, the easier it is to provide your body with all of the vitamins you need.

* But what about protein?

Don’t panic. You can get all the protein you need from plant-based foods. You do not need meat to meet your protein requirements. The need for meat is a misconception that has been paraded around for decades. You can hear about this in brief in my TEDx talk here: https://youtu.be/2wG3b3ql34A, and in more detail in my book, The Guerrilla Diet & Lifestyle Program.

Plants contain plenty of protein. You just need to know what to eat. Nut butters, hemp seeds, edamame, tofu, chia seeds, quinoa, almonds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, chickpeas, beans, broccoli, spinach, etc. are extremely rich in protein.

56 grams of protein is required by the average male to meet their daily requirements, and 46 grams per day to meet the average woman protein requirements. 

Even for athletes, a plant-based diet is healthier as it prevents the thickening of the arteries which allows the blood and nutrients and oxygen to reach the muscles more readily. This helps in both athletic performance and shortens recovery time after exercise.

One cup of lentils has 17 grams of protein. One cup of boiled peas provides 8.5 grams of protein. One cup of soybeans contains 28 grams of protein.

As you can see, it is straightforward to meet your protein requirements for the day with plant-based foods alone.

* Rich in Minerals

People often worry that they’ll not get enough iron or other minerals without meat. Once again, this is an unfounded worry.

Want potassium and magnesium? Eat tomatoes, bananas, yellow peppers, and eggplants.

Want iron? Lentils, nuts, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, sesame seeds, and mushrooms are your answer, especially when consumed together with vitamin C rich foods.

Want calcium? Just eat the collard greens, spinach, kale, broccoli, arugula, sesame seeds, and okra.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are enough minerals in fruits and vegetables to keep you thriving in peak health.

* Now let’s mention the Health Benefits

Besides giving your body the nutrition it needs, a plant-based diet will reduce inflammation, reverse obesity, reduce cholesterol levels, prevent strokes, migraines, dementia, and diabetes. A plant-based diet will help your blood supply your tissues with the nutrients they need more readily than a diet rich in animal products. 

Your hormones will be under control, and so will insulin sensitivity. The fiber in the vegetables will promote better digestion, and your skin will have a healthy glow.

A plant-based diet has all the nutritional requirements your body needs. What matters is that you get a wide variety of plant-based foods in your diet so that your body gets all the protein, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and other nutrients it needs to thrive. 

You’ll get your healthy fats from the nuts and seeds you eat, or you could consume avocados. There is a plant-based alternative for every single macronutrient and micronutrient you need. Although, for people emphasizing washing their foods well, I would recommend consuming a vitamin B12 supplement when going completely vegan. This is important for keeping the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. 

Bacteria produce vitamin B12 in nature. Some bacteria also produce it in the gut flora in humans and other animals. But humans cannot absorb this vitamin from our guts since it is produced in the colon, which comes after the small intestine, where the absorption of most nutrients occurs. More on nutritional deficiencies in vegans here: https://www.theguerrilladiet.com/5-nutritional-deficiencies-most-common-in-vegans-and-how-to-overcome-them/

To conclude, 

You can put your faith in the plant-based diet and give it a try. Once you see and feel the change within you, you’ll wish you had made the change sooner. It is not only healthier for you, but also for the world at large. See my talk at the United Nations for more on this subject here: https://youtu.be/8Iioixvdxo8

Wishing you health and happiness!

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Thank You, 🙂

Dr. Galit Goldfarb