A plant-based diet not only lowers the risk of heart disease but also ward off strokes. But it is also important to focus on the quality of the diet.

Plant-based diets are rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates and water content of vegetables and fruits. 

A recent study published on March 10, 2021, by the Journal Neurology. In this study, they assessed the self-reported health data of around 210,000 healthy people and periodically they asked diet-related questions for 25 years.

They compared these data with people who followed unhealthy diets such as pizza, white bread, potatoes and sugary foods. People who followed a healthy plant-based diet such as leafy greens, foods with added sugar and whole grain had up to a 10% reduction in stroke risk, particularly ischemic strokes which are similar to heart attacks and are caused by a blockage of a blood flow. It is proven that healthy plant-based foods can prevent people from having a stroke. This method also includes a lot of aerobic exercises, stress reduction, adequate sleep, blood sugar, controlling alcohol intake, weight management and quitting smoking.

At the same time, following a strictly vegetarian diet was not specifically linked with a lowered risk of stroke. The researchers wondered if this would happen then many people would eat plant-based foods. 

Their findings give importance to the quality of food. The co-author Kathryn Rexrode, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School stated that many people started increasing the amount of plant-based ingredients in their diet. These results prove that a high intake of a healthy plant-based diet can help decrease the long-term stroke risk and it is necessary to give importance to diet quality of plant-based foods.

Benefits of Plant-Based Diet

Plant-based food is a diet that includes foods that come from plants. It offers many health benefits.

For Weight Management

Studies have proved that people who eat plant-based foods have a lower body mass index(BMI) and lower risk of developing obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Other Diseases

A 2019 research from the Journal of the American Heart Associated discovered that middle-aged adults who followed high plant-based foods had a lower risk of heart disease.

As per the American Heart Association, consuming less meat can also reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, certain cancers, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Diabetes Prevention and Treatment

People with diabetes can eat plant-based foods as it improves insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin resistance. Around 60,000 people were examined in 2009, only 2.9% of people with type 2 diabetes ate vegan foods, compared to 7.6% of people who ate a non-vegetarian diet.

People who followed vegetarian diets including eggs and dairy had a lower rate of type 2 diabetes than those who eat meat.

Scientists analyzed whether following a plant-based diet helps treat diabetes. The 2018 review showed that vegan and vegetarian diets could help manage diabetes and even reduce their medications requirements, lose weight and boost other metabolic markers.

Foods to Avoid

A plant-based diet isn’t considered to be healthy by reducing animal products. You should avoid eating unhealthy foods including:

Sugary foods such as biscuits, cakes and pastries

Processed foods

Refined white carbohydrates

Processed vegetarian or vegan alternatives

Fatty, deep fried or greasy foods