It is a common misconception that hedonistic individuals are less likely to adopt a plant-based diet. But this is not a problem restricted to individuals within certain inclinations. Kathy Freston, a New York Times bestselling author was once quoted saying that “though I’m vegan and advocate that others eat a plant-based diet, I know that many people aren’t quite ready to take that step in whole”. Not so many people are adamantly ready to adopt a new lifestyle. And, this is where people run into trouble, wanting to see big results but making little efforts.
Now, we have all (probably) heard the saying that “you are what you eat”. This saying could not have come at a better time! There is a wide range of diets to choose from, especially if you are looking to hit a certain set of fitness goals. You will bear witness that some of these so-called “healthy diets” will not provide you with all the nutritional requirements needed to stay healthy because of the many restrictions. Fortunately, with thorough research and coordinating with your nutritionist, some foods will provide you with all that your body needs. While this is the case, our bodies may sometimes fail to take out of our diets the most crucial nutrients and vitamins needed to maintain healthy body functions. This is when doctors and nutritionists will prescribe supplements. While you have the option of choosing between synthetic supplements and plant-based supplements, the latter option will help to connect you with nature and it is also good for your mind, body, and soul.
Below are (some of) the undeniable benefits of plant-based supplements.
1. Helps with Weight Loss
Since childhood, some parents taught that meat and dairy products are good for our health. Growing up, we probably did not have much of a choice to dispute this. But in this day and age, especially in this era of information, we are learning that some of the age-old eating habits and practices could have contributed to changes in our DNA structures, altering the very essence of disease prevention and healing abilities. For starters, meat and dairy products are rich sources of high proteins and calories. You do not need to eat meat to be healthy. All the protein and calcium you need is freely available in plants in different varieties and flavours!
In addition to this, you will also get to enjoy the different smells and aromas contained in each bottle of a plant-based supplement like Garcinia Cambogia. This is one of the most popular weight loss supplements out there today, owing to its effectiveness in producing the desired results. Some of its benefits include appetite suppression, blocking fat production and boosting your body’s energy levels. Earl Hailey from PatchMD.com says that it is these benefits that increase your motivation for exercise to shed off those extra calories. Considering that it is a natural supplement, you also do not have to worry about unpleasant side-effects unless you are pregnant, have had liver or kidney problems in the past or you are on diabetes medication. Other popular plant-based and herbal supplements for weight loss include green tea, hoodia, ma huang, guar gum, and green coffee extract, just to name a few.
2. Improved Bioavailability
Bioavailability can be defined as the ability of your body to absorb certain nutrients. With this in mind, there is a lot of evidence indicating that plant-based foods are the foundation of a healthy diet. This could include plant-based supplements used to maintain healthy body functions. Of importance though, you need to learn the various nutrients that are more likely to take long before they are absorbed by the body. This will allow you to make a sound decision on choosing a natural supplement that is best suited for your needs. For instance, since iron has a lower bioavailability, it is imperative for individuals following a plant-based diet to ensure that they are taking plant-based supplements containing enough iron.
3. Additional Co-Nutrients and Co-Factors
Individuals following a plant-based diet benefit from a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. But our bodies’ ability to absorb all these nutrients differs from one person to the other. Some of the most important supporting nutrients are not absorbed by our bodies. These supporting nutrients are known as co-nutrients and co-factors and found in most, if not all, plant-based supplements. One thing to note is that synthetic supplements do not contain some of the most important co-nutrients your body needs for healthy body functions. These include:
- Aromatic compounds: Thymol, allicin, and carvacrol.
- Polysaccharides: Pectin, cellulose, and hemicellulose.
- Flavonoids: Polyphenols.
- Vital plant pigments: curcumin, lutein, flavonoids, and chlorophyll.
- Alkaloids: Piperine, caffeine, and theobromine.
4. Low Toxicity
Proper nutrient absorption is not about getting more of the right stuff. In most cases, when particular minerals are taken in excess, various health problems may result. The thing is, the most toxic plants are considered inedible, but the same cannot be said about the toxicity of certain animal-sourced supplements. Now, if we refer back to iron, animal-sourced iron supplements can be toxic when taken in excess. Nonetheless, it is important that before taking any dietary supplement, you consult with a medical professional first. Most people take mineral supplements to increase longevity or prevent diseases with the idea that supplements are harmless. But cases of adverse effects have been reported as a result of overdosing on some supplements. So, only take what your doctor tells you to!
5. Plant-Based Supplements Promote Overall Physical Health
Almost all cultures have been recorded in history as having used plants for therapeutic purposes, such as to prevent diseases, promote health, and heal ailments. Most medicines and therapeutic products are derived from herbs, vegetables, and other plants. This, therefore, means that eating plants may provide you with a range of preventive and healing benefits. But while you may not get all your vitamins and nutrients from a plant-based diet, taking various plant-based supplements will help you to achieve a healthy gut and overall physical health.
Finally, plant-based supplements are minimally processed, meaning that they contain no additives (or low amounts). But, before investing in just any plant-based supplement, it is important to ensure that your medical professional recommends it and that you are purchasing it from a trusted manufacturer. It is also very important to pay attention to how the ingredients are sourced and processed. Some manufacturers will sneak in non-vegan and animal byproducts, which is why you need to check the label and carefully read the ingredients’ list before taking any supplements.