What Is A Plant-Based Diet?

What Is A Plant-Based Diet?

Payal Shah

With changing times, one thing that has distinctly been evolving is the number of people opting for a plant-based diet for better nutrition. We are on a constant lookout for a healthy diet. A plant-based diet is an eating pattern which mainly or entirely focuses on plants or products derived from plants. It is not just a trend; it is a lifestyle. The main components are fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, lentils, nuts, seeds, and oil, which ensures nutrition. A plant-based is not the same as a vegan or vegetarian diet. It is a healthy diet, which means that a significant portion of your diet is plant-based.

It is observed that a plant-based diet is suitable for any and everyone, from athletes to cancer patients. Many athletes like Serena Williams, Sushil Kumar, and Vishwanathan Anand are also opting for a plant-based diet. It is quite obvious for us to doubt if one can sustain it, but it is entirely dependable and even more beneficial.

Research shows people who follow a plant-based diet are at a reduced risk of cancer. A study conducted by Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Canada, and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, USA, in 2018 revealed that a plant-based diet does not just prevent breast and colorectal cancer. Still, along with some lifestyle changes, it also regressed prostate cancer.

 does a plant-based diet prevent cancer?

We are always asked to include colorful vegetables and fruits in our diet as they prevent cancer. The science behind it is, plant bioactive compounds such as fiber, polyphenols, and carotenoids are well known for their anti-carcinogenic properties. Studies have shown that these phytochemicals are anti-inflammatory and have a protective effect against many infections and diseases, including cancer. Phytochemicals - meaning chemicals or components found in plants protect the cell in your body from damage.

Consuming 170gm whole grains each day has been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 21%.

A plant-based diet is also rich in fiber. A study conducted in the U.S showed that consumption of fiber prevented breast cancer in women.

Consuming 20gm fiber each day approximately reduces the risk of breast cancer by 15%

Apart from the anti-carcinogenic properties of plants and plant products, it is also observed that a plant-based diet keeps you at a healthy weight range. You feel light on your feet, which leads to an active life. This prevents lifestyle disorders and diseases like cancer.

Do you need to quit meat?

Red meat, when cooked, releases certain compounds that can be carcinogenic. In this era of processed foods, processed meat is also consumed commonly. But since it releases free radicals and has carcinogenic properties, it can lead to cancer if consumed regularly. Although, for all the meat-eaters out there, you need not refrain from eating meat, prefer white meat, and go for fresh meat in place of processed meat. Instead of having meat as a meal, try and consume smaller portions of meat and increase plant-based foods.