• Consumer Health: What could a plant-based diet do for you?

a smiling middle-aged couple in a kitchen, cooking together, with many fruits and vegetables spread out on the counter

March is National Nutrition Month, which makes this a good time to learn about the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Investigators have studied the relationship between plant-based food intake and various ailments in many studies. Spoiler alert: Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains is good for you.

There are many reasons for following a plant-based diet, but perhaps the most common is health benefits. A plant-based diet can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and certain types of cancer.

A well-planned vegetarian diet is a healthy way to meet the nutritional needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them.

Another consideration is cost. It can be challenging to serve healthy meals on a tight budget. Meatless meals are built around beans, lentils, vegetables and whole grains. These plant-based proteins tend to be less expensive and offer more health benefits than meat.

If making the switch to plant-based meals seems daunting, here are recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts to get you started.

Connect with others talking about living well in the Healthy Living support group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online patient community moderated by Mayo Clinic.

Related articles