Compared to other countries, a typical diet in the US is based largely on animal based proteins and unhealthy foods that are high in fats and low in fiber. Eating this way leads to chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes as well as obesity. In order to prevent such diseases and poor dieting, we should consider incorporating plant-based proteins into our meals. Each meal we consume should consist of 50% vegetable/fruit, 25% whole grains and the remaining 25% of lean animal meat or plant-based proteins. By eating this way we will be able to fight off certain diseases, increase health and lose weight.
One of the most important functions of plant-based protein is its ability to protect against cancer. These foods have both antioxidants and lectins, which contain anti-cancer properties. The antioxidants found in plant-based proteins neutralize the free radicals that cause cancer. Lectins, which are found and transported by a variety of foods are internalized into cells blocking cancerous growth and improving immune function. Certain types of cancer such as colorectal, ovarian and breast are seen to have the highest level of prevention when switching to a plant-based diet.
Plants are high in fiber, rich in minerals and have no cholesterol. The high amount of fiber in plants absorb the sugars in the bloodstream fighting high blood sugar levels and help control hunger. Nuts, which are considered to be plant-based proteins have a high concentration of magnesium, calcium and potassium; these minerals improve overall health. Consuming a more plant-based diet will help lower cholesterol rates and heart disease since it reduces inflammation and oxidative stress. Other diseases that can be prevented include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other heart related diseases.
Weight loss occurs naturally when you begin to consume healthier foods that are cleaner and contain fiber, minerals and vitamins. All of these substances needed for an improvement in weight loss are found in plant-based proteins. Compared to meat products, plants contain a lower amount of calories. This means that one can consume a higher volume of plants without experiencing excessive weight gain. Individuals who consume their proteins from non-meat sources tend to have lower body weights than those who eat meat-based.
Switching to an all plant-based diet when you are not used to it can be difficult. A good place to start is to incorporate about 5 to 7 meals with no animal protein a week. Make sure you are still receiving nutrients found in animal based protein such as vitamin B12, zinc and iron. By doing this for a few weeks, you can begin to see and feel any changes in your body.