Plant-based meats are the new cool among vegetarian and vegan people; but are they healthy?
Plant-based diets may slow the progression of atherosclerosis, a risk factor for heart failure, and may even reverse the condition.
- With an increasing number of people turning toward vegetarian and vegan food alternatives, meeting daily protein requirements and having variety in diet is a challenge for some.
- No wonder there is an increase in the need to look for sustainable healthy alternatives which not only satisfy the taste of buds but also nourish your body.
- In truth, plant-based foods are rich in plant protein. However, they may contain fewer vitamin B12 and zinc unless fortified.
New Delhi: Be it lactose intolerance or love for animals, there are a number of reasons why people are turning to plant-based diets recently. Sometimes, people may even turn vegan or vegetarian to lose weight or to lower their risk of chronic diseases or to simply lower blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol levels. And now, several studies have started to stress on how making the right dietary choices can have a positive impact on heart health, metabolic functions and body weight to name a few.
What are the benefits of following a plant-based diet?
According to Harvard Health, following a plant-based diet – Mediterranean, vegetarian and vegan – has the following health benefits.
- Lower risk of coronary artery disease
- Lower risk of diabetes
- Better blood pressure management
Medical News Today states that these diet plans can also support weight management.
Amidst this, Times Now Digital is set to explore just how healthy plant-based diets are. Are vegan and vegetarian people getting their share of much-needed macronutrients like healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates from plant-based foods? To get answers, we connect with industry experts.
Dr Honey Savla, Consultant of Internal Medicine at Wockhardt Hospital, spoke about the foods one can rely on while following a plant-base diet and the eventual health benefits of doing the same.
“Plant-based diets are eating patterns that emphasize legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and discourage most or all animal products. Evidence from observational and interventional studies demonstrates the benefits of plant-based diets in treating type 2 diabetes and reducing key diabetes-related macrovascular and microvascular complications. Multiple potential mechanisms underlie the benefits of a plant-based diet in ameliorating insulin resistance, including promotion of a healthy body weight, increases in fiber and phytonutrients, food-microbiome interactions, and decreases in saturated fat, advanced glycation end products, nitrosamines, and heme iron,” Dr Salva said.
“Plant-based diets may slow the progression of atherosclerosis, a risk factor for heart failure, and may even reverse the condition. A plant-based diet may lead to a decrease in total LDL-C and LDL-C particles that are more resistant to oxidation,” Dr Salva concluded.
Sweedal Trinidade, HOD Dietary services at PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC, spoke about how plant-based diets do not deprive people of proteins and other nutrients required for wellbeing.
“With an increasing number of people turning toward vegetarian and vegan food alternatives, meeting daily protein requirements and having variety in diet is a challenge for some. No wonder there is an increase in need to look for sustainable healthy alternatives which not only satisfy the taste of buds but also nourish your body. In truth, plant-based foods are rich in plant protein. However, they may contain fewer vitamin B12 and zinc unless fortified. This is where reading food labels become extremely important. It is best to choose products with less additives, salts and saturated fat,” she said.
“Choose whole food-based products like nuts, beans, whole grains, vegetables, and seeds over products with fillers, additives, sugars, and saturated fats. If processed well plant-based meats are not only pocket friendly but also heart-healthy,” the expert concluded.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.