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The Nutrition evidence is real, and true (more than ever) that eating more plant foods is the most effective way to ensure long-term health, and prevent chronic or short-term illness. Stunning evidence already proves to us that after 1 year of removing meat, and replacing with plant foods, heart disease can reverse itself.
The best news of all (for meat eaters) is that you don’t need to go 100% plant-based (avoiding all animal products) to get the health benefits. I’m sharing 7 must-read reasons to go plant-based so you won’t have any more excuses to NOT include more plant foods!
First, let’s address the “What is Blood Glucose” question. Maybe you’ve heard someone say “sugar levels,” or “sugar in the blood.” No matter how you say it, let’s all agree that blood glucose is EXTREMELY important for our health.
Glucose is the simplest form of sugar and every cell of our body uses it for energy. We get glucose from carbohydrates in foods, and then our digestive system breaks it down into sugar. Both our stomach and small intestine absorb the glucose into our bloodstream. Our bloodstream is responsible for transporting it to different places in the body.
Blood Glucose health is especially important to highlight because of Type 2 diabetes (T2D). We have an organ in our body, called the Pancreas. It makes a hormone called Insulin. Insulin helps to lower and keep our Glucose at a healthy level.
Regularly eating simple sugar foods, animal meats (whether lean or not), and other animal-based foods.
Your pancreas creates this hormone called, Insulin, which keeps your glucose levels from getting too high.
If your pancreas is damaged, then your body cannot manage glucose levels, which can turn into Diabetes. If it’s not treated and managed, it’ll affect almost every cell of your body.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that “plant-based diet with no or little meat may help to prevent and treat diabetes.”
Reasons being plant foods usually have more fiber, certain amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids (good fats), and anti-oxidants (prevent good cells from breaking down), as well as a special compound that helps to slow down the absorption of glucose.
I don’t believe the high blood pressure (HBP) topic is explained well enough in doctor’s offices such as why HBP is so dangerous, and the simple, but consistent steps to improve it. High BP means that your heart is pumping really hard and causing your arteries to have a lot of pressure and stretch, which hardens them. Then the hardening damages your blood vessels, heart, kidneys, brain, which increases your risk of heart disease.
The science is SO STRONG. Studies demonstrate that “Diets richer in plant foods are associated with lower blood pressure.” Plants are rich in potassium, low in fat, low in sodium and free of cholesterol, and all have incredible power to low and then maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Some of the strongest evidence for the health benefits of plant-based eating: improving your heart health. It’s stunning how scientific showed that when groups of people completely removed the meat from their diet for 1 year, they reversed SEVERE clogging of their arteries (also known as Atherosclerosis) and improved their heart disease
A great question to start with: What does it mean to have good heart health?
Every year more Olympic athletes are announcing they now eat strictly plant-based. Their most common reason for doing so? They feel better and perform better physically. It completely makes sense considering that an Olympic athletes’ career centers around how well their bodies perform physically.
Scientific research demonstrates improving physical fitness has so much to do with the plentiful fiber and polyphenol power in the plants. Polyphenols are just a fancier word for its special power to destroy bad stuff in your body!
Also, performing better physically has a ton to do with how well your body recovers especially healing your injuries.
Plant foods have INCREDIBLE healing properties.
For example, if you remove the juice from cherries and drink it, it has a compound (chemical structure) in it that fights away joint and muscle pain. The cherry juice also helps your body “bounce back” more quickly after physical activity so you don’t feel as sore. I’ll take that! Read more about cherry juice in a post I wrote here.
The science also shows that you become more efficient at using your food as energy. So that means you can perform a little harder and longer (that’s called endurance!)
The link between nutrition and your immune system is probably my favorite nutrition topic.
I want to open with an incredible fact about plant foods and fighting infections. Plant foods contain 2 compounds: Flavonoids and Carotenoids (compounds inside plant foods), which work together to create a stronger immune system. Now, it doesn’t mean if you consistently eat citrus, berries, legumes, and sweet potatoes that you’re fool-proof against getting sick. What it does mean, though, is that your building a stronger defense than someone who’s eating a lot fewer plants, and more animal foods.
Something else, if you didn’t know, your digestive system is the central hub of your entire immune system, 70% to be more specific. That fact is not really common knowledge, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t know!
The other two places our bodies have bacteria are in our mouth, then on our skin. The bacteria are real and live organisms….. I know that’s really weird!
Scientists have already studied the human digestive system in so much detail. In fact, groups of people who ate strictly plant-based drastically increased their good bacteria and seriously lowered their bad bacteria. When the groups of people switched back to introducing meat and dairy, the good bacteria decreased. Wow! So, obviously, you want to have LOTS of GOOD bacteria in your gut.
So when we eat plant-based, the good bacteria rises to the occasion! Our good gut bacteria have a responsibility to our immune system, and there’s still a bunch of information we don’t know because we learn more every day.
The bacteria thrive or die depending on what you eat. There is so much evidence now that eating more plant foods actually changes the bacteria environment for the better, which helps you fight sicknesses and other chronic diseases. For example, the more we study diseases like cancer, researchers learn that the digestive system environment is very different from someone without cancer. Maybe one day it will help us discover cures for cancers.
When our bodies are extremely inflamed, every organ has a harder time working. And if our systems are stressed, and working overtime, we risk developing diseases and other health problems.
First, tying back to our discussion on the gut, eating plant foods, means we make good gut bacteria. When that happens, the bacteria can help limit or stop the amount of highly inflammatory things.
Now don’t blame inflammation as a cause, because it is only our body telling you there’s something wrong.
For example, it could be a red and swollen, twisted ankle, burning, and painful stomach ulcer, or coughing and pain in your chest during a respiratory infection. Red, swollen, burning, coughing, pain, are all words associated with inflammation.
Too much inflammation, or if we have it for a long enough time, create problems. But don’t fear, because our research gives major thumbs up to plant-based eating to fight the inflammation beast.
I’ve got 2 more big words coming. Another reason plant foods fight inflammation is from 2 of their incredible compounds: Carotenoids and Flavonoids. The richest sources are found in fruit, vegetables, and whole wheat.
The next statement is a stunner.
The American Heart Association published a study that in just 8 weeks, plant-based eating was better at reducing inflammation that even their own suggested American Heart Association eating plan!
Saturated and trans fats in dairy, meats, and other processed foods don’t do anything helpful for the brain. By the way, Trans fats are created in a lab to add more flavor to package foods and also extend their shelf life. Trans fats are commonly found in processed foods, fried foods, store salad dressings, pie crusts, muffins, chips, baked goods and more.
Also, Saturated Fats are mostly in animal-based foods. Yes, there are plant foods rich in Saturated Fat such as Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, and Palm Kernel Oil. Even Olive and Canola oil naturally have a tiny amount of Saturated Fat, but the fact that both of those oils are SO HIGH in the GOOD fats (unsaturated fats), that outweighs ANY concern you might have about the saturated fats.
Well, first of all, saturated fats and trans fats (bad fats) don’t have the same behavior in the body as the good fats in plant foods (for example Omega 3, Omega 6, and Unsaturated Fats).
The word “antioxidant” is the winner. There is a high volume of antioxidants in the above plant food list. An antioxidant is a compound, found most richly in plant foods, and has the power to fight off bad stuff that destroys healthy cells.
The reason plant foods are so good at improving our brain is because the plants have compounds that work WITH our body’s cells, not against us!
They help to transport important nutrients to the brain, operating systems to keep inflammation low or eliminate it, attack bad organisms, and even improve your emotional state.
I cover recipes to improve your memory in more detail in my post here + a few delicious recipes 🙂
As you have learned, if you feed your body with lots of plant foods, your inflammation goes down EVERYWHERE, immunity strengthens, your brain fires information better, and your physical performance improves. The end result: your entire organ system benefits! Start now, and benefit from plant-based eating with our 5 Day Plant-Based Weight Loss Plan!