More and more people are turning to a plant-based diet for a combination of health, ethical, environmental and animal welfare reasons. While only a third of our customers are on a vegan diet, increasing numbers of those on other an eat everything diet (33%), flexitarian (15%), pescatarian (8%) or vegetarian (13%) diet are going vegan or plant-based even if only for a few days a week. So what are the health benefits of a plant-based diet?
Health benefits of a plant-based diet
Plant-based diets are rich in fibre which has many benefits to the body. Fibre feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which in turn support digestion, bowel movements and the immune system. Fibre rich diets also lead to lower cholesterol levels in the body.
Well-planned plant-based diets are richer in Vitamin C, Folate, Beta carotene and Vitamin E, all of which are needed for the immune system and other functions in the body. Diets based on fresh whole foods such as fruits and vegetables will contain much higher levels than other diet types.
You may be interested in 'Top 6 foods every vegan should eat and why'.
Magnesium is essential for the production of many brain chemicals, for the onset of sleep and as an aid to relaxation. It's also essential for bone health and is generally not found in adequate quantities in other diet types.
Check out our blog "How do I know I'm deficient in Magnesium?"
Plant based diets are lower in harmful saturated fatty acids which can build up in the arteries and lead to cardiovascular diseases. Plant-based diets are also higher in mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are beneficial to the cardiovascular system and prevent the build-up of plaques in the arteries.
Plant-based diets contain a lot of antioxidants such as beta carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E and many other plant compounds with antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are essential for the immune system and for the protection of cells against DNA damage.
The antioxidants in plant-based diets are beneficial for the skin as they protect your DNA, which keeps the production of collagen going at a higher rate. Premature collagen loss can be due to not enough antioxidants in the diet.
Read our blog: 6 tips for healthy skin
Plant-based diets also contain much more fibre than meat-based diets. Fibre is essential for clear skin as it supports regular bowel movements - regular bowel movements transport toxins out of the body before they are reabsorbed and pushed out through the skin causing inflamed skin and acne.
In addition, plant-based diets are more likely to be low in saturated fats. Saturated fats are bad news for the skin. The fats you consume are incorporated into the skin cell membrane. Saturated fats are hard fats, and these decrease the flexibility of the skin cells, contributing to flaking and cracking. Mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are consumed in higher amounts on plant-based diets, are flexible and when incorporated into the skin cells allow them to be flexible and hydrated.
The increased fibre intake of plant-based diets feeds the probiotics in your gut. Probiotics produce over 200 digestive enzymes which help to breakdown foods and increase nutrient absorption. The greater fibre consumed in a plant-based diet ensures healthy pass bowel movements, preventing the production of foul-smelling gas and bloating!
Read our blog: How to look after your gut through your diet.
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