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Health

Enjoy the health benefits of a plant-based diet

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Research shows that a more plant-based diet may help prevent, treat or reverse some of our leading causes of death, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

While you may not want to give up steak and chicken for good, you can still adopt a plant-based diet while consuming modest amounts of fish and lean meat.

Harvard researchers found that people who averaged eight-plus servings of fruits and vegetables a day were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke, compared to those who had less than 1.5 daily servings.

The main dietary staples of a plant-based diet include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These types of foods provide nutrient benefits because they are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Animal proteins can fit into the lifestyle, yet they serve as more of a supporting role to your veggies and whole grains.

High blood pressure creates a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. A plant-based diet can help lower blood pressure.

It’s never too late to change your diet. In one study, women over 50 who ate a mostly plant diet were 34 percent more likely to be free of chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, 15 years later than women whose diets included more meat.

You can adopt a plant-based diet with a few simple steps. First, increase your vegetable and fruit intake. Include vegetables in just about every meal – including snacks. Fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and decrease the serving size of your meat.

Consider starting with a “Meatless Monday” to start each day of the week with vegetarian eating.

Stock your pantry and make it easier to create healthy meals. Familiarizing yourself with the hows and whys of a plant-based diet, and pick up some new cookbooks or search online for recipes and ideas.

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