Plant-based diets have been getting a lot of publicity in recent months, but how much do you really know about them? If you regularly bypass the fresh produce section in the grocery store or you can’t tell asparagus from an arugula, then you’ve probably already vetoed a totally plant-based diet, but you might be surprised at just how easy it is to incorporate more plant-based foods into your day-to-day life. 

To find out why consuming more whole foods is important, take a look at these six reasons to eat more plant-based foods now:

1. Plants Boost Your Immune System

A strong immune system is essential for fighting off viruses and infections, and plant-based foods can help to enhance the functionality of your immune system. The mix of antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals found in plants isn’t found in other foods, such as animal products, but they help to keep your body balanced and your immune system active. As a result, you may be better able to fight off infections and illness. 

2. Plant-Based Foods are Cheaper

If you want to make the most of your budget, you’ll certainly want to consider incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet. Whole foods, like fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes, are typically far cheaper than meat, dairy products and processed foods, which means you can drastically reduce your grocery bill by eating more plant-based, whole foods. 

3. They’re (Usually) Low Calorie

If you want to shed some pounds or maintain a healthy weight, you’ll be pleased to know that plant-based foods are typically nutrient dense and low calorie. This means you can get the nutrients you need, without exceeding the number of daily recommended calories you should consume. 

If you are planning to lose weight, you can find out how many calories you need to eat every day in order to keep your body functioning optimally by using an online TDEE calculator. Your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE, tells you how many calories your body uses each day, including the calories required to perform physical activities, like walking to work or showering. By using this as a guide, you can maintain a healthy weight while ensuring you consume enough calories for your body to function properly. 

4. Plant-Based Foods Can Improve Heart Health

Whole, plant-based foods tend to contain healthy fats, rather than the saturated and trans fats that are found in meat, dairy and processed products. While healthy, unsaturated fat should be an important part of your diet, saturated and trans fats can increase the amount of LDL cholesterol in your body and heighten your risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases. 

By incorporating more whole, plant-based foods into your diet and cutting down on the amount of trans and saturated fats you eat, you can potentially improve your cardiovascular function and reduce the risk of experiencing health problems, such as atherosclerosis and angina. 

5. It Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

If you’re committed to living a sustainable lifestyle and you want to reduce the negative impact you have on the environment, a plant-based diet is definitely the way to go. Animal agriculture accounts for a significant amount of the greenhouse gases that are damaging the environment. In contrast, plant-based foods tend to have a carbon footprint that’s 10 to 50 times smaller than that of animal products. 

6. Plant-Based Foods Help Your Body to Detox

The body has a natural, in-built way of removing toxins, but you need to consume the right foods to enable it to function optimally. Compounds found in plants, such as glucosinolates, can help to enhance liver function and, therefore, promote natural detoxification. 

In addition to this, studies suggest that glucosinolates and other plant-based compounds help to protect cells from damage and could reduce the risk of cancerous tumors developing and spreading. Due to this, eating more plant-based foods could be an effective way of maintaining optimal health and reducing your risk of illness. 

Eating More Plant-Based Foods

With so many benefits associated with plant-based foods, it’s easy to see why so many people are switching to non-processed, whole foods. While you may not be ready to embrace a completely plant-based diet just yet, incorporating more plant-based food choices into your diet can have a positive effect. 

What’s more – making small yet sustainable changes to your eating habits is likely to lead to positive results in the long-term. Whether you decide to cut out animal products for just one day a week or try eat a plant-based meal every day, including more whole foods is beneficial in a variety of ways.