Ask St. Eden: Can A Plant-Based Diet Help With Healthy Aging
Veganism and plant-based diets are on the rise. While many people are choosing plant-based living because they are concerned about the environment or averse to factory farming, many others opt for veganism for health reasons alone. Here’s why:
The health benefits of a plant-based diet are largely due to the fact that they are higher in fiber and lower in cholesterol and fat than an omnivorous diet. Recent studies have shown that a low-fat vegan diet can actually boost metabolism, and the low calorie-density of plant-based foods tends to decrease calories consumed overall. So basically, vegan diets can help deter health complications that arise from obesity like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
If you’re considering a plant-based diet and you’re concerned about protein intake, you’ll be relieved to know that there are many surprising sources of plant-based protein. Tempeh, tofu, and seitan are popular options, but whole wheat bread, pumpkin seeds, and spinach contain protein too. If you eat a diverse enough diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, you can get most of the vitamins and nutrients you need. You’ll just want to supplement with a B-12 vitamin and Vitamin D to keep your bones and your neurological system healthy and strong.
Certain areas of the world have demonstrated clearly that a plant-based diet can, in fact, contribute to a longer, healthier life. In cities like Loma Linda, California (where residents live ten years longer than other California residents) and Okinawa, Japan (which has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world), people tend to have mostly plant-based diets. In addition to living longer, they are demonstrated to be cognitively healthy for longer as well.
With curiosity continuing to grow around plant-based living, it’s a great idea to give it a shot yourself. It just may help you lead a long, healthy life.