The vast majority of people suffer from so many health issues without ever realizing that the key to restore or to maintain optimal health is just a change of diet. For instance, did you know that so many people suffer from sleeping disorders and that it’s in so many cases due to a digestive system that is forced to do “hours of overtime” because of an excessive consumption of animal-based products when the body is actually supposed to be sleeping? As a result, people wake up the next morning exhausted instead of fresh and full of energy. Read on to discover why this is so and to learn more about the matchless benefits of going vegan.
“Benefits such as prevention against heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer are all commonly known as being some of the top health perks of going plant-based. Though people choose to eat a vegan (or even vegetarian) diet for a variety of reasons, most everyone who consumes a large amount of whole, plant-based foods can testify that their overall health also improved when they made the transition away from animal-based foods. In fact, just the absence of red meat in a person’s diet has been shown to cut obesity risks, lower blood pressure, and even prevent early mortality. But that’s not all.
A plant-based diet can also do a number of other things for your health, small things you might not pay much attention to at first. If you’re considering the choice to eat less meat, dairy, eggs, fish, poultry, and consume more whole, plant-based foods, then you’re not just choosing to prevent the major forms of disease; you’re also choosing to improve these five, often overlooked, areas below.
1. Rockin’ Digestion
One of the major benefits of embracing a plant-based diet is the benefits it has on your digestive system. Animal-based foods are incredibly hard for the body to break down and process. This means it requires more effort from your digestive organs, which puts an unnecessary strain on your body. Since our digestive system controls our mood, energy, weight, and our overall health, taking care of it should be of utmost importance. When extra energy is needed to break down a food, a large percentage of the blood is diverted to the stomach to help the body cope. In the meantime, that means you have less energy and may also have indigestion, bloating, inflammation, or other digestion woes. A plant-based diet is made of mostly water, fiber, natural sugars, easier to digest sources of fats, and plant-based proteins. These foods are all naturally easier on the body and contribute to an overall healthier digestive tract.
It is important to note that the larger amount of fiber in a plant-based diet may take some getting used to. You might also need to moderate your servings of beans and legumes (andfor some, even grains) at first when adjusting to a plant-based diet. These are very healthy foods, but should be introduced slowly into the diet since they’re some of the most powerful on the digestive system. Consume plenty of easy-to-digest foods such as: leafy greens, ripe fruits (preferably not with beans or legumes!), more alkaline grains such as wild rice, soaked oats and quinoa, and as many vegetables as you enjoy. Nuts, seeds, nut and seed butters, tempeh, tofu, and plant-based protein powders, and natural fats like coconut and avocadosare also very helpful for digestion and reducing inflammation.
2. Mental Clarity
We need amino acids and protein for neurotransmitter function that fuels mental focus, but we need to be mindful of what sources we choose. Dairy-based foods containcasein and whey, two proteins found in cow’s milk that can contribute to brain fog for many people. Though whey is less controversial than casein (which the body can’t properly digest and has been linked to cancer), both can lead to brain fog shortly after consumption. Animal-based foods are among the most acidic forms of protein that you can give your body, so why not choose whole-food based, plant-based options that will give you energy, improve your mood, and be easier on your entire body? Hemp and pea protein are very easy for the body to break down, along with many protein and omega-3 rich seeds such as chia, hemp seeds, flax, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds (or tahini), along with almonds, quinoa, oats and even some vegetables like broccoli. Leafy greens are also a great source of amino acids and contribute to a healthier mood thanks to their high magnesium content.
3. Strong Nails
One of the main vitamins needed for healthy nails (along with skin and hair) is vitamin C. This vitamin helps the body efficiently produce collagen, and guess where it’s found? Plant-based foods! Plant-based sources of calcium such as chia seeds, oats, figs, oranges, beans, collard greens, and teff are also high in calcium that helps keep your nails strong. Other nutrients you need are zinc and iron, which you can easily find in plant-based foods such as beans, legumes, whole grains, greens, seeds, and some vegetables. To strengthen your nails and increase your body’s collagen stores through your diet, start by eating more mineral-rich foods and foods high in vitamin C as much as you can, which are largely found in fruits and veggies. Also focus on consuming good sources of fats such as nuts, avocados, seeds and coconut. And finally, be sure to opt for great sources of protein to help assist with collagen production such as seeds, greens, vegetables, legumes and beans (if you tolerate them), and some whole grains. Here’s a trick to try to incorporate these into your day without much hassle: Add 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 citrus fruit or pineapple, a small serving of healthy fats, and 2 servings of leafy greens or broccoli to your meals here and there throughout the day. In no time, you’ll see stronger nails, and possibly even stronger, longer hair and clearer skin!”
Read the full article at onegreenplanet.org!