If you feel that you are throwing more herbal or whole foods — foods that come from a plant — into your shopping cart, you are not alone. Current data shows that the plant-food industry is now a $ 7 billion market, according to statistics from Herbal food association.
In fact, more than 71 million U.S. households, or 57% of all U.S. households, purchased plant-based foods by 2020 — an increase of 4% from the previous year.
Meals based on minimally processed, animal-free items — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans and legumes), nuts, seeds, spices, and oils — have been linked to a variety of health benefits. And now the American Heart Association (AHA) has recently released two research studies that provide additional evidence for enjoying more meat-free dishes.
Here are four reasons why you might want to consider adding some vegetarian / vegan / flexitary / Mediterranean / herbal specialties to your meal plan, and for even healthier diet tips, be sure to check out our list of the best and worst foods to eat. eat on an herbal diet.
They can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Following a plant-based lifestyle today can keep your heart healthy along the way. One of the studies published in Journal of the American Heart Association monitored eating habits in 4,946 adults between the ages of 18 and 30 over a 32-year period. Participants were asked to offer their detailed dietary history while the authors rated their food choices on a scale. Favorable foods (fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains) scored highest, while negative foods (high-fat red meat, fried foods, salty snacks, pastries and soft drinks) scored low.
After taking into account other risk factors (such as genetics, smoking and exercise habits), the volunteers who received the highest 20% on the long-term diet scale had a 52% lower chance of developing a cardiovascular condition three decades later. In addition, the adults who changed their food choices for the better somewhere between years 7 and 20 in the study were 61% less likely to be diagnosed with a subsequent cardiovascular disease compared with the participants who chose more negative foods.
“I’m not surprised that consuming more herbal foods would benefit cardiovascular health,” he says. Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, a certified diabetes care specialist and author of 2-day diabetes diet. She explains that a vegetable eating pattern not only means that your meals will be low in inflammatory-inducing saturated fats, but it will increase your intake of antioxidants and fiber.
“Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can cool inflammation – a driving force for chronic disease,” she continues. “In addition, high-fiber diets have been shown to have a positive effect on both blood fats and intestinal health, which in turn can reduce the risk of future cardiovascular disease.”
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They help lower cholesterol.
The second study from the AHA consisted of 123,330 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79 who did not live with heart disease. The females filled out questionnaires for food for 15 years where the authors scored based on how closely they followed the portfolio diet, a plan designed for cholesterol-lowering plant feeds (including plant proteins such as soy, beans and tofu, and soluble fiber such as oats, barley, okra, eggplant). , apples and berries).
The results, which were published in Journal of the American Heart Association, indicated that the women who frequently adhered to the Portfolio Diet were 17% less likely to develop heart failure, 14% less likely to develop coronary heart disease and 11% less likely to develop some type of cardiovascular disease.
“We also found a dose response in our study, which means you can start small, add one component to your Portfolio Diet at a time, and get more health benefits when you add more components,” said Andrea J. Glenn, MSc. , RD, lead author and doctoral student at the University of Toronto in a press release.
They can help keep your brain young.
Last month, the American Academy of Neurology announced that even minimal portions of colorful, plant-based foods – including strawberries, blackberries and oranges – may have the ability to reduce the risk of cognitive decline by 20%.
Thanks to certain types of flavonoids (a class of plant compounds that offer powerful antioxidant effects), cognitive impairment decreased by 24% (seen in those who consumed more red, purple and blue foods, such as cherries and blueberries) and by 38% – which is equivalent to three to four years younger than your actual age – among the volunteers who ate oranges and yellow fruits and vegetables.
“The people in our study who did the best over time ate an average of at least half a serving per day of foods such as orange juice, oranges, peppers, celery, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, apples and pears,” said study author Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, professor. in Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard, in a press release. “And it’s never too late to start because we saw the protective relationships about humans eating flavonoids in their diet 20 years ago, or if they started incorporating them more recently.”
They can improve your blood sugar level … and mood!
Researchers from the United Kingdom analyzed data from 11 clinical trials (each study lasted an average of 23 weeks) that examined the results of following a plant-based diet compared to other diets. According to their results, published in the newspaper BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, an herbal (or sometimes a vegan) plan had both physical and psychological benefits for those living with type 2 diabetes.
For example, “fasting blood sugar levels” dropped more sharply “among participants who ate little or no animal-based products while their symptoms of depression” improved significantly. “
“These findings are very meaningful,” said Palinski-Wade. “If you have elevated blood sugar levels, a plant-based diet can have a positive effect on intestinal health.” The reason: Many plant foods (such as onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus and bananas) are filled with prebiotic fiber, a form of dietary fiber that feeds the “friendly” bacteria found in the digestive system.
“The metabolism of these compounds releases beneficial short-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, along with improving insulin sensitivity, which ultimately improves blood sugar levels,” she explains.
And as a result, avoiding high and low blood sugar fluctuations will help keep your emotions in check as well. “Because blood glucose regulation and gut health can have a direct effect on mood, a diet that balances blood sugar can also lead to improvements in mood,” adds Palinski-Wade.
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