Benefits of a (More) Plant-Based Diet for Seniors

Thanks to documentaries such as The Game Changers, plant-based diets are getting more attention in pop culture.

Here are several benefits of adopting a more plant-based diet and how it can directly improve your health.

Plant-Based Diet for Weight Loss

A plant-based diet helps with weight loss in a few ways:

Vegetables and fruits are filling but they are lower in calories. This ensures that you will be eating less calories throughout the day but still getting plenty of vitamins and minerals.

A plant-based diet will support your digestion. Red meats and dairy are notoriously difficult to digest for older adults. A plant-based diet promotes good gut bacteria and digestive enzymes.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of plant-based diets for weight loss. One study found that subjects lost nearly five more pounds compared to their meat-eating counterparts. [1]

Other Benefits of Eating Plant-Based Foods

While weight loss is often the most discussed benefit of a plant-based diet, there are a few more reasons why you should consider eating more vegetables and fruits.

Inflammation: Unlike diets that are high in processed meats, fats, and dairy, plant-based diets can lower markers of inflammation. [2] 

Joint Health: With lower levels of inflammation, you may experience improved joint health. One study found that a plant-based diet alleviated the symptoms associated with arthritis. [3]

Lower Risk of Mortality: Studies show that eating more plant-based foods over animal-based foods can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. [4]

Plant-Based Recipe to Try at Home

Ready to add more plants to your diet in a tasty way? Try this roasted greens and pomegranate salad:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • Dash of cloves
  • ½ tsp Pink Himalayan salt

 

  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 pound of Brussel sprouts
  • 1 pounds of broccoli florets
  • 3 cups of spinach

 

  • 1 can lentils, rinsed
  • 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 oz. pecorino cheese, shaved
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat oven to 425°F.
  • While oven is pre-heating, combine the oil, spices, and pink Himalayan salt and warm them up.
  • Chop the shallot then combine it with half of the oil and spices.
  • Toss the greens with the remaining oil and spices, place them on a baking sheet, and roast for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • While the greens are cooking, combine the lentils and vinegar with the shallot mixture.
  • When the greens finish, combine everything with the cheese and serve.

Considering a More Plant-Focused Diet?

What questions or concerns do you have about plant-based diets? Have you already started eating more vegetables and fruits? What benefits have you noticed? 

 

References
  1. Huang RY, Huang CC, Hu FB, Chavarro JE. Vegetarian Diets and Weight Reduction: a Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Gen Intern Med. 2016;31(1):109-116. doi:10.1007/s11606-015-3390-7.
  2. Alwarith J, Kahleova H, Rembert E, et al. Nutrition Interventions in Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Potential Use of Plant-Based Diets. A Review. Front Nutr. 2019;6:141. Published 2019 Sep 10. doi:10.3389/fnut.2019.00141.
  3. Clinton CM, O'Brien S, Law J, Renier CM, Wendt MR. Whole-foods, plant-based diet alleviates the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Arthritis. 2015;2015:708152. doi:10.1155/2015/708152.
  4. Kim, Hyunju & Caulfield, Laura & Garcia-Larsen, Vanessa & Steffen, Lyn & Coresh, Josef & Rebholz, Casey. (2019). Plant-Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All-Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle-Aged Adults. Journal of the American Heart Association. 8. e012865. 10.1161/JAHA.119.012865.

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