The Perks of Plants
It’s not easy eating green, but the benefits are worth it. Following a vegetarian diet (no meat) – or even vegan (no animal product) – diet is a way to improve health.
A vegetarian’s plate is more likely to be filled with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and not with fried or sugary foods, says Baptist Health Paducah dietitian Beth Mueth, RD, who works with bariatric (weight-loss) patients.
Eating more plants and whole grains can reduce sugar consumption, which is a big plus for those with diabetes, Mueth said. And vegetarian diets typically feature low-fat, fiber-rich foods helpful for weight loss.
“You’re eating fewer calories because you’re getting full on fiber and bulk versus fat,” she said, which will help drop pesky pounds.
As with carnivores, vegetarians and vegans would be wise to bypass processed foods – such as cookies, crackers and baked goods – and reach instead for the vegetables and fruits. That helps lower salt intake, an important goal for those who struggle with high blood pressure.
Mueth said it used to be harder for vegetarians and vegans to get proper nutrients or enough protein. But now, food and beverages fortified with vitamins – such as almond milk – have become much more widely available, making eating green that much easier.