Making the Switch to a Plant-Based Diet in 2021
The new year is here, which means it’s time for millions of Americans to evaluate their eating habits over the past year as they make the common resolution to eat healthier and more balanced diets. Unfortunately, the wide variety of unique and complex diets available means it can be difficult to know which option is the best for health and environmental benefits. Today, the best cardiologist in Tampa — Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC — is here to tell you that switching to a plant-based diet is single-handedly one of the best steps you can take towards preventing heart disease, boosting your energy levels, and improving your overall health.
Below, we’ll review some of the distinct benefits as well as how you can get started with a plant-based diet going into the new year. For more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to the best cardiologist in the Tampa Bay Area. As a patient advocate and nutrition-focused cardiologist, Dr. Popat will work to develop a tailored diagnostic and treatment plan for your unique circumstances, including diet and exercise recommendations.
Kick Start Your New Year With These Nutritional Benefits
A plant-based diet, in simplest terms, can be defined as any diet that centers on whole plant foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. In other words, you’ll be consuming a majority of natural, minimally-processed plant foods in your diet. This is especially beneficial for anyone with a family history or other risk factors for heart disease because sticking to a plant-based diet can help lower your risk for hypertension, reduce inflammation, and even reverse advanced-stage cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
If that alone wasn’t convincing enough for you, plant-based eating has also been associated with a lowered risk of certain cancers, reduced risk of mortality, and sustainable weight management. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, like those found in a plant-based diet, is associated with a 20 percent reduction in the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia as well. Add in regular exercise, and you’re on a path to complete and total wellness in no time.
Simple Strategies to Achieve Your Resolution With Ease
You know that starting any new diet requires a great deal of willpower, planning, dedication, and effort and that going cold turkey from day one is never a good idea, but you may not be certain of how or where to begin. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a number of simple strategies to help you transition to a wholesome, plant-based diet and achieve your resolution with ease:
Cut Out Red Meat
If you’re a meat-lover like many Americans, cutting out red meat entirely from your diet may seem impossible. However, research suggests doing so can have a profound impact on your health. In fact, one study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that eating just two servings of red and processed meat per week increased the risk of heart disease by 3 and 7 percent, respectively. A great way to forge the path ahead toward a plant-based diet is to simply cut red meat out of your diet altogether, even if it’s just for a month or so.
Ditch the Dairy
Next up, you’ll want to ditch the dairy from your diet as well. Not only will this free you from the numerous dangers associated with the consumption of dairy, like increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, but you’ll also rid yourself of common irritating symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Did you know eliminating dairy can also help clear up certain skin conditions like acne and eczema as well? With the wide variety of plant-based milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products available, it’s never been easy to make the switch going into the new year.
Substitute Plant-Based Products For Your Favorites
One of the most important pieces of advice going into a plant-based diet is to stick to the meals and foods that you love. If your normal dinner consists of a piece of meat with rice and green beans, this isn’t the opportunity to sit down with a plate full of only rice and green beans. Instead, try replacing the protein from your plate with a plant-based substitute like legumes or soy-based foods. Substitutions are a great option for enjoying the same meals and flavors you did previously without changing too much all at once. You can start by using products from companies like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods, and slowly transition to plant-based, whole food options over time, like tofu or beans.
Still Unsure of How to Proceed?
If you’re still feeling the slightest bit apprehensive or overwhelmed at the thought of transitioning to a plant-based diet, there’s never been a better time to get in touch with the top cardiologist in Tampa — Dr. Jesal Popat. When you partner with Dr. Popat, he’ll be by your side every step of the way as you discover the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle on your path to a healthier and happier life. If at any moment you feel insecure, frightened, or hopeless about the path ahead, he will be available to answer any questions you may have, provide any tips you may need, and encourage you to keep moving forward.
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