If you want to add more plant-based foods to your diet, the flexitarian diet may be perfect! A flexitarian diet is a plant-based diet that includes occasional meat consumption. This type of diet has many health benefits, including weight loss and better mental health. This guide will teach you the basics of the flexitarian diet and provide tips for following it successfully.
The Basics Of The Flexitarian Diet
The flexitarian diet is a plant-based diet that includes occasional meat and fish. The term “flexitarian” was coined in 2009 by registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, and the diet has been gaining in popularity ever since. The central premise of the flexitarian diet is that plant-based foods are better for our health and the environment, but that occasional meat or fish is still permissible. The diet is relatively flexible, as its name suggests, and there are no hard and fast rules about what you can and cannot eat. However, there are some general guidelines that flexitarians typically follow.
For example, most flexitarians aim to eat mostly plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. They also limit their intake of animal products, eating meat and fish only occasionally. In addition, flexitarians often choose environmentally friendly meat and fish options, such as grass-fed beef or wild-caught salmon. By following these guidelines, flexitarians can enjoy the health benefits of a plant-based diet without feeling restricted.
Designing Your Flexitarian Diet
While there are many benefits to a flexitarian diet, it can also be tricky to design one that meets all of your nutritional needs. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
First, consider what type of foods you typically eat and how often you eat them. If you find that you typically eat meat or animal products several times a day, you may want to cut back to just once or twice a week. Alternatively, if you only eat meat or animal products on rare occasions, you may want to increase your intake slightly. Either way, the key is to ensure that your diet is mostly plant-based.
Second, focus on getting a variety of nutrients from plants. This means eating various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. To get the most benefit from these foods, aim to eat them in their natural form rather than processed forms. For example, choose whole grain bread over white bread and beans over french fries.
Third, don’t forget about protein. While plants can provide some protein, they don’t provide all the essential amino acids your body needs. As a result, it’s important to include some animal-based protein in your diet. Good sources include eggs, dairy products, poultry, and fish. You may also consider supplementing if you find it challenging to get enough protein from food alone.
By following these tips, you can design a flexitarian diet that meets your nutritional needs while being primarily plant-based.
Benefits Of A Flexitarian Diet
If you are still on the fence about whether this diet is proper for you, it can be helpful to understand some of the different benefits it offers. Here are some reasons people choose to follow a flexitarian diet.
Many diets claim to be the best when it comes to weight loss. However, the flexitarian diet is one of the few that has been backed by science. Studies have shown that flexitarian diets can lead to significant weight loss, as well as other health benefits. One of the reasons for this is that plant-based foods are typically lower in calories than animal products.
In addition, they are also rich in fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied after eating. Furthermore, plant-based foods are often packed with nutrients that can boost metabolism and help with weight loss. So if you’re looking to slim down, a flexitarian diet may be worth considering.
Meat production requires a lot of lands, water, and energy, generating large amounts of greenhouse gasses. In fact, following a flexitarian diet is one of the most effective things an individual can do to reduce their carbon footprint. This type of diet has become increasingly popular in recent years as people have become more aware of the environmental impact of meat production.
By contrast, plant-based foods require far fewer resources to produce. As a result, flexitarians often have a smaller ecological footprint than people who consume animal products daily.
Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease
Though it is not as restrictive as a vegetarian or vegan diet, following a flexitarian diet has offered similar health benefits. One of the essential benefits of adhering to this form of eating is reducing the risk of heart disease. A plant-based diet has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, risk factors for heart disease.
Furthermore, a flexitarian diet is typically rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are suitable for heart health. While there are no guarantees in life, following a flexitarian diet may help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Improve Mental Health
If you have been struggling with mental health issues, following a flexitarian diet may help. This diet has been shown to have numerous benefits for mental health. For one, it can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation has been linked to various mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. In addition, a flexitarian diet is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are all essential for maintaining a healthy mind.
Studies have also shown that following a flexitarian diet can improve cognitive function and memory. Lastly, this diet can help promote gut health, which is crucial for mental well-being. Having a healthy gut helps by reducing stress and anxiety levels. So if you want to improve your mental health, following a flexitarian diet may be a good start.
Reduce Diabetes Risk
As you can see, this approach to eating has been shown to offer several health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes. One study found that participants who followed a flexitarian diet for 16 weeks had significantly lower fasting blood sugar and insulin levels than those who didn’t change their eating habits. Additionally, the flexitarian group also had higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lower levels of triglycerides.
These changes are believed to contribute to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the flexitarian diet provides all the nutrients essential for managing diabetes. So if you have diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition, this diet may be worth considering.
Is The Flexitarian Diet Right For You?
Using this guide, you can easily follow a flexitarian diet that meets your needs and preferences. This diet has been shown to offer several health benefits, from reducing your risk of heart disease to helping the environment. So if you are considering changing your eating habits, a flexitarian diet may be right for you. Just be sure to speak with your healthcare provider before making any major changes to your diet. They can help you create a plan that meets your individual needs.