The plant-based diet has seen tremendous growth over the years, as more and more people are starting to opt for a healthier lifestyle and better eating habits. Picture: Supplied

The plant-based diet has seen tremendous growth over the years, as more and more people are starting to opt for a healthier lifestyle and better eating habits. 

We spoke to International Health and Wellness expert, Maria Ascencao on why this is the case, besides people looking for a much healthier food option. Below is what she said. 

The plant-based diet has seen tremendous growth over the years, as more and more people are starting to opt for a healthier lifestyle and better eating habits. Picture: Supplied

  • Studies show that a predominantly plant-based diet may cut death from heart disease by a third. 

  • A largely plant-based diet, rich in nutrition, is not only good for heart health but may also counter obesity – one of South Africa's biggest health threats.

  • A UN report shows that a diet higher in plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods, is more health-promoting and associated with the lower environmental impact such as greenhouse gas emissions and energy, land, and water use.

  • Plant based-diets such as the flexitarian diet which encourages 70 – 80 percent natural, whole foods, including plenty of fruits, vegetables and plant-based protein sources including legumes and nuts, along with modest amounts of high-quality organic poultry, fish and red meat is more flexible than fully vegetarian or vegan diets and is more a lifestyle than a diet.

  • Over 3.5 million South Africans suffer from diabetes and it is the second most common cause of death in SA. Studies show that people who followed a mostly plant-based diet reduced their risk of diabetes by 23% while the risk dropped even lower, a 30% drop in developing type 2 diabetes, for people who ate healthy plant-based foods, including veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.

  • In addition to eating healthy, choose high quality, bioactive supplements such as Bio-Milk Thistle which contains organic silymarin. Studies show that milk thistle helps improve liver and brain function, promotes detoxification and helps reduce inflammation, the root cause of disease.