All the nutrients your body needs, apart from Vitamin B12, can be sourced from plants such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses (eg. peas and beans), legumes (such as lentils), grains (such as oats, barley, buckwheat, millet, brown rice, etc.), tofu, tempeh and seitan.
It supports your immune system. Plants have essential nutrients that you cannot get from other foods. The vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants in plants help keep your cells healthy and your body in balance so that your immune system can function at its best. A healthy immune system is essential for reducing your risk for cancer.
Plant foods reduce inflammation. Plants’ essential nutrients work to resolve inflammation in your body. The same phytochemicals and antioxidants that boost your immune system also go around your body neutralizing toxins from pollution, processed food, bacteria, viruses and more. Prolonged inflammation can damage your body’s cells and tissue and has been linked to cancer and other inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
A plant-based diet helps maintain a healthy weight. Staying at a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk for cancer. If you are overweight or obese, your risk is higher for 12 different types of cancer including colorectal, post-menopausal breast, uterine, esophageal, kidney and pancreatic cancers.
Plants are high in fibre. Fibre is present in all unprocessed plant foods. It improves the health of your gut so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from food that support your immune system and reduce inflammation. Fibre can lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and is very important for reducing your cancer risk – especially colorectal cancer.
A plant-based diet reduces your risk for other diseases too. It has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some mental health illnesses.
The Protein Myth
Adequate amounts of protein can be found in plant foods. All plant foods contain some protein, but the following contain relatively high amounts: lentils, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, broccoli, beans, nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, peanut butter and quinoa.
A Western diet high in meat products actually provides an excess of protein, which may be harmful. You can read more about the Protein Myth here.
For more information on plant-based diets this link may be helpful.