5 hard to ignore health benefits of plant based diets
Junk Food Crisis
How to sound like a stuck record: mention anything to do with modern society having a compulsion for junk food.
The problem is that we’ve not changed. It’s thought that half the food UK families buy is “ultra-processed”. This means it’s created with industrial ingredients, in a factory, and with a complex process.
Processing isn’t necessarily bad; milk for example is made safe by pasteurisation. The issue is that many ultra-processed foods are the ones with lots of salt, sugar, saturated fat, and additives. Usually they look appealing but lack nutritional value.
Culprits include, breakfast cereals, snack and chocolate biscuits, pies, pasties, sausage rolls etc. Think classic buffet food and you’ll be close.
It’s also these types of food contributing to heart disease, diabetes, depression, obesity, cancers, and ultimately shortened lifespans.
Luckily we live in a eutopia of dietary freedom and information—despite the above.
Health Benefits of Plant-Based Diets
You might find a plant-based diet the way forward, after reading these hard to ignore health benefits. Loosely, a plant-based diet is one based on vegetables, fruits, and wholegrains—though not exclusively vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian.
Helps Prevent Heart Disease
When we consume large amounts of salt, trans fats, and saturated fats we increase our risk of heart disease—all of which are included in junk food and many processed foods. The impact of poor diets on our hearts is well researched.
The biggest risk with high-fat foods, is coronary heart disease. This is where the arteries supplying the heart become clogged with fatty deposits. The risks of this don’t need explaining.
By switching to a plant-based diet, with vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and high levels of fibre you’ll be helping keep your heart healthy. You’ll be eating varied foods, low in salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Seems a no brainer.
Promotes a Healthy Digestive System
Eating a high fibre plant-based diet is what your digestion wants. Dietary fibre found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes lets you run on time (if you catch our drift). This in turns helps keep everything working smoothly.
Increasing your intake of fibre improves the overall health of your digestive system and even could protect against colon cancer.
Cholesterol is great. Didn’t think you’d read that? That’s because cholesterol has been, over the years, demonised by healthy living advocates. The reality is it’s a vital substance created by our livers for cell membrane and hormone production.
The issue surrounds how much, and what type of cholesterol. Low density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) is what causes fatty deposits in arteries—bad cholesterol. Processed foods that are high in saturated fats cause our livers to produce more LDL cholesterol.
However, foods included in a plant-based diet, like soy, seeds, nuts, and grains raise high density lipoprotein levels (HDL cholesterol). This is good cholesterol, which transports bad cholesterol to our liver, where it’s removed from our system.
Your Skin Will Thank You
Do you know your body’s largest organ? No, it’s not your brain. It’s your skin. Your protective barrier to the world.
Sugary processed foods and drinks are not kind to skin. The refined sugars they include cause blood sugar levels to spike, leading to glycation. This is where sugar molecules bond with the collagen in our skin.
This biochemical process is thought to increase the appearance of wrinkles and fuel outbreaks of acne. Generally, it worsens skin quality.
On the other hand, plant-based diets include fewer sugars, and mostly natural sugars—which if taken in moderation are much better that refined ones.
Sugar doesn’t only affect skin…
How Are Your Energy Levels?
You are what you eat. This phrase will always ring true. Having or not having energy, is for many, directly related to their diet.
One of the main problems is eating large quantities of simple carbohydrates. Carbohydrate is the scientific name for sugar. Simple sugars are found naturally in fruit and milk, but the main source in modern diets is from processed foods—
Examples include in, pasta, white bread, cakes, and biscuits. These sugars require no digestive effort, due to being refined. Hence the blood sugar spike above.
Ever eaten pasta and felt an energy crash afterwards? Sugar gives us energy, but we’re stuck in a quick fix habit. What our body desires are complex carbohydrates—found in peas, beans, vegetables, and wholegrains. These are fibrous, and need breaking down to extract their sugars and energy.
So, with a plant-based diet you’ll be eating slow release energy. This helps you feel energetic for longer periods of time.
Live Long & Prosper: Extra Health Benefit
Eternal life is a little way off, but a diet change isn’t. In any given moment we have the power to alter the course of our lives. No one can predict the future but making healthy choices in the present can only be positive for tomorrow.
At the Glass House we can start you off on a journey to complete wellness, and a big part of this is what you eat. Our raw food chef Miguel Gouveia, and his team, will take you to the frontier of plant-based cuisine and give you a new beginning.