With Veganuary in full swing (over 600 000 global sign ups and counting), more and more people have decided to switch up their dietary preferences by swopping their meat for plant-based alternatives from time to time.
Sometimes it is out of concern for the environment, while other times, people choose plant-based over meat for all the potential health benefits. Well, whatever your reasons are for reducing your meat intake, in light of Veganuary, we thought we would share a few health benefits you could experience. Before we delve further, a quick reminder to always consult with your doctor or nutritionist before starting a new eating plan.
Helps support your immune system
People who reduce their meat intake tend to eat a greater variety of foods including vegetables. Plants have an abundance of essential nutrients that you won’t get from most of your traditional foods. Packed with vitamins and minerals such as phytochemicals and antioxidants, eating plant-based foods helps keep your cells and body healthy and balanced so that your immune system can function at its prime.
A healthier immune system is crucial in recognising and attacking mutated cells like cancer, bacteria and viruses. According to MD Anderson Health Education Specialist Adrea Murray, adding more plants to your diet can assist in giving your body what it needs to fight off infections, strengthening your immune system against germs and microorganisms.
Reduces risk of heart disease
Switching to a healthier diet could rescue your risk of contracting heart disease. Packed with plenty of fibre, little to no dietary cholesterol (plant-based foods are naturally cholesterol free), and a low amount of saturated fats, introducing plant-based foods is a great way to improve your heart health. Talk about a winning combination. While it may be easier said than done to avoid meat altogether, to ensure a road to a healthier heart, making sure you are eating a diet rich in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is always advised.
Improve your athletic performance
The secret’s out, more and more fitness enthusiasts are turning to plant-based foods to reach their optimal performance. Like most of us, these changes to our dietary preferences come with our own reasoning. However, there’s quite a bit of research that showcases that going plant-based is an excellent choice if you’re looking to improve your athleticism.
Foods such as legumes, whole grains, fresh veggies, and nuts are all hearty foods that are plant-based and offer plenty of benefit to people who are physically active and looking for quick recovery times and high performance.
Maintain healthy weight
Obesity is a big problem worldwide, and in South Africa. Recent stats show that 69% of women and 31% of men in SA are obese. With stats like this managing healthy weight becomes critical to keeping non-communicable diseases like heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers at bay.
While some diet plans suggest that you should be implementing more animal protein and fats into your diet, studies have shown that eating a balanced diet, rich in plant-based foods, healthy carbs and loads of fruits and veggies can assist in maintaining a healthy weight. Focusing primarily on whole foods and non-processed foods high in fibre, eating plant-based foods can make it easier to maintain your energy levels, sleep cycles and healthy body weight.
Since most plant-based foods are high in fibre, you’ll be able to improve your gut health too while also lowering your cholesterol levels.
Plant-based recipes worth trying:
Whether you’re new to going plant-based or simply looking to flesh out your dietary preferences, we’ve got three recipes that are worth incorporating into your meal plans. Using Fry’s selection of plant-based products, a delicious meal is only one dish away!
When you thought boerewors couldn’t get any better, the Big Fry Boerie steps in. Skip the basic boerewors and elevate your next boerie roll by adding some polenta and a chunky roasted red pepper salsa to top it off. Click here for the full recipe.
Avoid the office takeouts and get creative with your next lunch box prep. While takeaways offer convenience, you’ll be saving yourself not only time but money as well by prepping your lunch beforehand. Enjoy a tasty yet aesthetically pleasing lunch inspired with Fry’s chicken-style nuggets and no-meat balls. Click here for the full recipe.
Are you preparing for your next half marathon? Well, fear not. Using Fry’s pea-protein mince instead of beef mince, you might find you have even more energy at your disposal, and none of those afternoon slumps. Build muscle mass and boost your energy levels for your next race with this Fry’s lasagne inspired recipe.
How to get started
Making any lifestyle change can be daunting, especially if you’re new to it. Well, luckily, if you’re considering making the switch to a plant-based diet, you’re not alone. Join thousands of other enthusiastic plant-based explorers by signing up for FREE for Veganuary. You can also join the WeLoveVeganuary online community, where you’ll have access to various plant-based resources to help you along your health and wellness journey.