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The plant-based diet is on the rise, with more and more South Africans choosing to eat less meat and more plants and experimenting with the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. According to a Google Trends report, the country did the most searches for “vegan” among all other countries in the African continent.

The emerging popularity of a plant-centred lifestyle is a welcome development in a country with a robust meat-eating culture. A plant-based diet is best known for its physical benefits, but not many people know it can affect their overall well-being. This article will discuss how a plant-centred lifestyle benefits holistic wellness:

Physical wellness

Plant-based foods are often rich in essential nutrients, which can help reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. They also are effective in promoting weight loss. This may be due in part to their high fibre content, which helps people feel satisfied for longer. That said, the abundance of fillers and additives in pre-made plant-based products makes it more ideal to cook plant-based meals at home. This way, you’ll have control over the ingredients that go into your food. To start, discover cooking methods that are easy and quick. YuppieChef suggests investing in versatile and fool-proof appliances like rice cookers to help you prepare various healthy, meals. A rice cooker makes it easy to cook perfect rice every time and can also be used to conveniently prepare other plant-based foods such as greens, grains, quinoa, and oats, leaving no excuse to resort to processed meals. Similarly, pressure cookers are versatile appliances that you can use to make stocks, stews, and purees from scratch.

Mental wellness

A study by the International Journal of Molecular Sciences suggests that a plant-based diet could help prevent neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Because fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, are rich in nutrients that support brain health, they can indeed help with mental clarity. For example, regularly adding leafy green vegetables to your diet increases your folate and fatty acid intake, which is vital for brain development and function. One tip for incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet to support mental wellness is to start each day with a nutritious breakfast. For example, you could try oatmeal with nuts, seeds, and berries or a smoothie with leafy greens, fruit, and plant-based protein powder. This can help to ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need to ensure brain health and concentration throughout the day.

Emotional wellness

Adopting a plant-centred lifestyle may lead to increased self-esteem and self-confidence, as individuals may feel good about the positive impact their dietary choices have. It can also improve moods and positively impact one’s emotions. Healthy dietary patterns that are abundant with fresh fruits, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables are promising in reducing symptoms of depression and improving the quality of life of those who live with mental disorders. Plenty of chefs, such as author, food activist, champion of ancient grains and seasonal produce Chef Mokgadi Itsweng, continuously develop plant-based recipes to keep things interesting and help those in a depressive slump discover new flavours to satisfy their palates.

Social wellness

People who adopt a plant-based diet can feel a greater sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, especially when they feel that their dietary choices align with their values and are positively influencing the world. Adopting a plant-based diet also allows individuals to connect with others who share similar morals and interests, which can lead to stronger social connections. For instance, joining a plant-based support group or participating in plant-based cooking classes can provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals. Also, hosting plant-based potlucks or cooking classes brings people together and creates meaningful social relationships.

Whether you’re looking to improve your mental or physical health, feel better about your body, or reduce your environmental impact, a plant-based lifestyle can be a rewarding and nourishing choice. If you’re looking to transition to a plant-based diet, The Plant Powered Show has plenty of resources to help you get started, including recipes, meal plans, and tips for making the transition.

Authored by Jennifer Birch

Aimed at those looking to live and enjoy a healthier, more conscious and sustainable lifestyle, The Plant Powered Show features top chefs and mixologists presenting live demos as well as diverse and compelling talks by the health and wellness experts, premium and interactive experiences, exclusive industry networking and an expo marketplace filled with high quality and innovative plant-based food, drink and conscious living products.

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