More and more fast-food chains, restaurants and stores are expanding their menus to now provide plant-based options. These additions are gaining traction not just from vegetarians and vegans, but also from just the increasingly health-curious general public. 

But what is a plant-based diet? It is a diet that focuses on the consumption of plant produce without necessarily excluding the intake of animal products. The focus is on utilizing plant-derived sources (fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils, grains, etc) instead of animal products as your primary source of nutrition. There is still the option to incorporate a limited intake of dairy products, meat, poultry, and seafood. 

Here are some of the top benefits. 

1) Eating and drinking plant-based foods have skin benefits

As plant-based food and drinks are sourced from fruits and vegetables, they in turn, provide vitamins like C and E that are known antioxidants, which are also known to reduce inflammation and result in clearer skin. 

2) Having a plant-based diet may help you detoxify your body

Research show's that switching to plant-based can have positive effects on one’s health, including increased metabolism, enhanced energy levels, balanced blood sugar levels, and possibly slowing down the progression of kidney disease. This is because plant-based foods are rich in fiber, minerals like calcium and magnesium, phytochemicals, and, of course, vitamins such as A and C. Plant-based items are also rich in prebiotic and probiotic nutrients leading to a healthier gut.

3) Eating and drinking plant-based promotes having enhanced mental health

Studies show through research that individuals that following a plant-based diet saw improvement in their mental health, specifically a positive decrease of their anxiety and depression. 

4) You can still enjoy a well-rounded diet

Eating and drinking plant-based does not require the switch to vegetarianism or veganism, unless that is your chosen path. At its core, the plant-based diet is a focus on using fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds as your primary nutrition source. You have the choice to still include meat or dairy if you so choose. Plant-based is about reducing the amount and portions of meat and substituting your diet with more plant-derived, nutrient dense whole foods. The goal is to eat a variety of foods to take in the widest array of vitamins and minerals. 

5) It's easier on the wallet and the waist

It is well known that fruit and vegetables cost less than meat and seafood per pound. The higher fiber content can also allow you to feel fuller on a lower volume of food and lower calorie density per ounce. This can be good for both your wallet and waistline.

As this blog started with, the transition to a plant-based lifestyle is more accessible than ever before. It seems almost daily that a new product hits the market providing a new source of plant-based protein or menu item. So whether you choose to start small by swapping vegetable items for animal products for some meals or dive in to fully removing all animal products from your diet, the benefits are plentiful. 

And just because you've gone plant-based, doesn't mean you can't have fun. Here is a list of the best beverages for plant-based meals

Content contributed by Katreena Sarmiento:

Katreena is a scientist and a life hack specialist. She's authored scientific journals on biotechnology and molecular biology. To take a break from scientific journals, she puts her mind into writing about lifestyle, health, and sustainability. She strongly believes that kindness makes the world go round.