Ask the Doctors: Increase in Plant-Rich Foods Brings Health Benefits | Health, medicine and fitness
Dear doctor: In our family, some of us gained weight in quarantine. I thought maybe now was a good time to try a more plant-based diet. It’s supposed to be better for you physically, and I want to know if it’s true. We are meat eaters and are not interested in going vegans.
Dear reader: You are far from alone when it comes to putting on a few pounds during the last year of the pandemic. Often referred to as “quarantine 15” – or even “COVID-19 19” – weight gain is just one of the side effects many of us experience when we are squatting near the house, cooking and snacking. way through these strange and difficult days. Not only did shelter-in-place orders shut down gymnasiums, swimming pools, ball fields and recreation centers, they also separated millions of people from daily physical activities that they weren’t even aware of. they helped them stay in shape. Those flights of stairs you take to work or school, walks down the halls or parking lots or at lunch – it all adds up. And now, in slow motion at home, so carry on the extra pounds.
There is a lot of research on the health benefits of a plant-based diet rich in vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, and fiber. Fiber is especially important because it helps reduce inflammation, increase nutrient absorption, and feed the billions of microbes in our gut. Fiber also helps reduce the risk of cancer, especially colorectal cancers. Plant-based diets have been linked to improved heart health, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. In case that isn’t convincing enough, the results of a new study, published earlier this year in the journal Nature Medicine, indicate a link between the presence of certain bacteria in the gut microbiome and the ability to maintain blood sugar levels. healthy. After a meal. Other species of bacteria were associated with lower postprandial blood lipid levels and fewer markers of inflammation. Each of these so-called “good” germs has been found in greater numbers in people with a diet rich in a wide range of fresh fruits, vegetables and leafy greens.
We believe that a more plant-based diet is a great idea for the health of your family. As with all kinds of change, you have the best chance of success if you change gradually. You don’t have to give up meat, but if you start to think of it as a condiment, you will automatically reduce the amount you eat. Foods like stir-fries, kebabs, soups, stews and tacos are as much an opportunity to use a wide variety of greens and vegetables as salads. It might seem obvious, but find out what your family’s favorite fruits and vegetables are and start preparing your plant-based meals around them. Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter so it’s easy to grab a healthy snack. If time is a problem, frozen vegetables and bagged salads can save your life. And, as you make the transition and venture out, consider trying one or two meat-free days a week.