In the midst of the pandemic, it turns out that a positive trend has emerged among the people of Indonesia. Based on trends noted by Google, in 2020 there was an increasing interest in plant-based foods. This trend then continues to appear until now.

Plant-based foods deliver several health benefits for us. In addition, by consuming plant-based foods, we are also contributing to the preservation of this planet. Foods are categorized as plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

The following are various reasons why we need to switch to plant-based foods from now on.

1. Good for the Immune System

Various important nutrients that our body needs are found in plants. Nutrients that we can’t even get from other foods. Vitamins and minerals, as well as phytochemicals and antioxidants in plants, help keep our cells healthy. That way, the body is balanced and supports the immune system to function properly.

“Plants give your body what it needs to help fight infection,” says Andrea Murray, MD Anderson’s health education specialist. She adds, “A plant-based diet strengthens your immune system to protect you from germs and microorganisms.”

When the immune system is functioning properly, we will also be protected from various dangerous diseases. Consuming plant-based foods can even reduce cancer. This is because the body can recognize and attack mutations in cells before they develop into disease.

2. Maintain Heart Health

Based on research conducted in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2019, consuming plant-based foods can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 16 percent. The study also found that the death rate from cardiovascular disease was also reduced by 31 percent.

By switching to plant-based foods, we will automatically reduce our meat intake. Saturated fat contained in meat will increase the risk of several diseases, one of which is the heart.

3. Reduce Inflammation

Quoting The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, essential nutrients in plants work to overcome inflammation in the body. These immunity-boosting phytochemicals and antioxidants also travel around our bodies to neutralize toxins from pollution, processed foods, bacteria, viruses, and more. Antioxidants are also able to capture all the free radicals that disturb the balance of our bodies.

Various diseases can arise due to inflammation or prolonged inflammation. Among them is arthritis to cancer. Consuming plant-based foods is also able to eliminate those trigger these diseases.

4. Support Stable Weight

People who are overweight or obese are usually also advised to follow a vegetarian diet. This diet pattern prioritizes the consumption of plant-based foods thanks to the good nutrients that plants have. Other foods that have a major contribution to increasing weight can also be avoided.

As mentioned above, plant-based foods can reduce inflammation. While excess weight is one of the causes of inflammation as well as hormonal imbalances in the body. That is the reason the consumption of plant-based foods is recommended to overcome these conditions and make weight loss and remain stable.

Keep in mind that being overweight can increase the risk of various diseases. The risk of 12 types of cancer can also increase in obese people, such as breast, kidney, pancreatic, and uterine cancers.

5. Good for Environment

According to a report published in The Lancet in 2019, switching to plant-based foods is good for the earth. This plant-based diet is seen as playing an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The United Nations has also mentioned that animal products, both meat, and dairy, generally require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant sources. It is also supported by the WHO statement, “Reducing herd will also reduce methane emissions, which is the second-largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide.”

Good Ways to Consume Plant Food

Plant-based foods are indeed good for our bodies. Even so, its consumption must also pay attention to health factors. Make sure you use a cooking method that doesn’t use excess sugar or fat.

So, deep-fried vegetables are a no. As well as packaged foods and various types of desserts even though are made from plants. However, if it is not possible to process all types of plant-based foods, you can use products sold in the market. Just make sure it’s made from 100% plant-based sources, low in sugar, and produced in a safe way for the environment.