As we approach the end of the pandemic, we’re seeing the large impact COVID-19 has had on our health and nutrition. A new or renewed focus has been placed on our health. While things seemed so out of control for so long, such as working from home, wearing masks, home-schooling our children, not being able to see loved ones, and so much more, this is one area many have focused on and gained control over. Now, more than ever, people are more concerned with having a healthy lifestyle, fighting off diseases and boosting their immunity. Nutrition is a critical part of our health system and it’s a key to good physical and mental health.
According to the US News & World Report, the best diet overall for 2022 is the Mediterranean diet. While weight loss may be achieved, the health benefits offered are overwhelming, such as lowered blood pressure, reduced inflammation, lowered cholesterol, improved insulin function, decrease of heart disease and stroke, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and so much more.
The Mediterranean diet ranked highest in diets overall, and number one in best diet for healthy eating, easiest to follow, best for diabetes, best for heart-health, and best for plant-based. Per a review published in September 2020 in Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, switching from an omnivore diet to a plant-based diet was found to help the majority of people lose weight, possibly because of the boost in fiber intake, as well as trading animal proteins for more plant proteins. Plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spice are the foundation of the Mediterranean diet.
Why are people switching to a plant-based diet? It’s not just for the health reasons and its not because people are vegans or vegetarians. More and more people are focusing on a healthy diet that paces plant-derived foods at the forefront of the meal without eliminating all animal products. The greatest sales in plant-based foods are coming from milk alternatives, such as almond milk, coconut milk, and from meat alternatives such as the soy-based Impossible Burger or wheat-derived seitan. Today, 1 in 4 Americans report eating more protein from plant-based foods like lentils, quinoa, and tempeh. It doesn’t look like this is a fad either. Restaurants and food chains are offering plant-based food items. McDonald’s has developed the McPlant burger with Beyond Meat. It features a plan-based patty on a vegan sesame bun with vegan cheese and sauce, and other toppings. The patty and cheese are made with pea protein.
In addition to improved health and nutrition, a plant-based diet is also good for the environment and sustainable for our future. Sustainable nutrition is mega-trending!
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