When we are doing grocery shopping, we may aware that some products are labelled as plant-based burger, plant-based ice cream, plant-based sausage or even plant-based milk. What is actually plant-based and why are more and more people switching from animal products to plant-based alternative?

What is Plant-based Diet? 

A plant-based diet is a diet that emphasize foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts and healthy oil. Plant-based diet may completely eliminate animal products or just cut down the intake of food from animal depending on individual interpretations.

How Plant-based diet different from animal products?

Plant-based diet offer some nutrients that you may not found in animal sources. Plant-based diet are rich in:

  • Phytochemicals
  • Antioxidants
  • Fibre
  • Vitamins & Minerals
  • Low in saturated fats

What are the health benefits of plant-based diet?

1. May Reduce Risks for Heart Disease 

Journal of the American Heart Association found that adults who ate diet high in plant food and low in animal products had a lower risk of heart disease. According to Journal of the American College of cardiology, those who consume more whole grains and fruits had lower risk of atherosclerosis.

2. May Reduce Risks for Type 2 Diabetes

According to studies from JAMA Internal Medicine and PLOS Medicine, researchers found that eating a plant-based diet was associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes. This may be due to improvement of beta cells that produce insulin and better insulin sensitivity.

3. May reduce Cancer Risks 

The American Institute for Cancer Research stated that plant foods which contain fibre and other nutrients can reduce our risk of cancer. Phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables are protective against cancer.  Numerous studies have shown that diets high in unrefined plant foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide protection against colon cancer.

4. Better Weight Management 

Research found that people who eat plant-based diet tend to have lower body mass index. Plant based diet are rich in fibre, complex carbohydrate and protein which keep people feeling fuller and energetic. Another study published in Nutrition & Diabetes found that overweight adults who followed a whole-food, plant-based diet for one year lost 9.25 pounds on average.

5. May Help You Live Longer 

The Journal of American Heart Association found that plant-based diet reduces the risk of all causes of mortality by 25 percent.  According to a Japanese study published in the journal of JAMA Internal Medicine, people who eat plant-based protein tend to live longer and were less likely to die prematurely from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

6. Keep Your Brain Stronger 

Plant-based diet are rich in polyphenols which have been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer disease and prevent cognitive decline. Studies found that people eating more fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia by 20 percent.

7. Stronger Immune System 

A plant-based diet which is rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants strengthen your immune system to protect you against germs and microorganisms. Vegetarians have been shown to have more white blood cells when compared to non-vegetarian and these white blood cells are responsible to fight bacteria, virus and other invaders.

8. Improve Skin Health 

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals which have been shown to be beneficial for skin health, including reduce free radicals skin damage, reduce inflammation and promote collagen synthesis. Furthermore, the water content in fruits and vegetables, fibre in whole grains and the healthy fats of legumes, seeds and nuts hydrate and nourish for healthy skin.

Advantage of plant-based diet

Plant based diet is low in saturated fat and rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. According to researches, plant-based diet has the potential to reduce the risks for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Besides, plant-based diet may also improve brain health and plays a role in a better weight management.

In addition, switching from a meat-based diet to plant-based diet has a great impact to environment. It reduces water and land use, lowers pollution, slows deforestation and reduce destruction of topsoil.

Limitation of plant-based diet

Animal products like chicken, fish, egg and milk are complete source of protein because they contain all the essential amino acids our body needs. However, plant protein is lacking one or more essential amino acids. Besides, plant-based diet is lacking of certain nutrients like calcium, iron and vitamin B12. You may also need to change your eating habits and preparing most of the food by yourself.


Plant-based diet are generally safe and healthy. Regardless of the type of whole-foods, plant-based diet you choose, adopting this way of eating is sure to boost your health. You don’t have to fully convert to plant-based diet at the beginning, but adding plants is a great way to start. Make sure you are eating a variety of plant-based foods to get all the protein and nutrients your body needs.


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