Plant-based diets revolve around eating foods mainly from plants. This includes beans, legumes, whole grains, oils, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Unlike the common idea of being a vegan or vegetarian, a plant-based diet really means you are selecting more and more of your foods from plant sources as opposed to animal ones.

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There’s increasing evidence that plant-based diets may be the way to go for true health, and more and more people are looking for vegan bodybuilding meals and other plant-based options. If you haven’t yet transitioned to a plant-based diet, here’s why you should strongly consider doing so.

The research backs it

A lot of nutritional research has examined plant-based diets such as a vegetarian or Mediterranean diet, the latter of which centers on plant foods but also includes cheese, eggs, fish, poultry and yogurt a few times each week. The Mediterranean diet has been shown, in both small trials and large studies, to reduce the risk of depression, some cancers, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. It’s also been shown to decrease the risk of frailty in older adults, with improving their physical and mental functions.

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Vegetarian diets have also been found to support general health, giving a person a lower risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. This has led to evidence of more longevity in vegetarians.

While plant-based diets offer all the minerals, vitamins, carbs, fats and proteins needed for health, these diets are often higher in phytonutrients and fiber than other types of diets. However, some who are vegan and on the hunt for vegan bodybuilding meals may have to add a vitamin B12 supplement to make sure they are getting all of the required nutrients.

Which diet is right for you?

Plant-based diets are available in many different formats. Essentially, you’ll want to choose the diet which works best for you.

A flexitarian, or semi-vegetarian, diet includes dairy foods and eggs with occasional seafood, fish, poultry and meat, while a pescatarian diet includes dairy, fish, seafood and eggs but no poultry or meat. A vegetarian diet has dairy and eggs but no seafood, fish, meat or poultry. The vegan diet eliminates all animal foods entirely.

If you want to try a vegan or vegetarian diet but aren’t sure you’ll follow it, you can also try a slower transition to make it easier.