Plant based has been on the rise these last few years, especially among the younger generations, as the health and environmental impacts of eating this way have become more well known. But the benefits of eating this way aren’t just for the young; research shows it’s never too late to eat plant based and reap the benefits. Here's how to get started with a plant based diet for healthy aging.
On this page
Did you know if you eat plant based you can boost your longevity? Here's how.
1. Increased telomere production (AKA a slowing of the aging process)
Telomeres are the parts of our chromosomes that affect aging. As we get older, the telomeres shorten. This shortening of telomeres has been linked to an increased risk of chronic disease. But studies show that telomere production can be increased, and the telomeres themselves can be lengthened, by lifestyle choices, like a plant based diet, exercise, and stress management (1).
2. Reduced inflammation (fewer aches and pains!)
Feel stiff and achy? Get bloated after dinner? Chronic inflammation might be a play. The Standard American Diet of processed foods and animal products is brimming with inflammatory triggers like saturated fat and endotoxins, which can wreak havoc on our bodies and health. Chronic inflammation isn’t just linked with aches and pains; it can increase your risk for diabetes, dementia, heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases, and other serious conditions.
A plant-based diet is not only low in both saturated fat and endotoxins, but it's also chock full of anti-inflammatory fiber. Not to mention, fiber is protective against high C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of acute inflammation.
3. Lowered cholesterol
Did you know a plant-based diet can decrease your blood cholesterol by up to 35 percent (2). Whole plant-based foods have very little saturated fat and zero cholesterol.
4. Healthier heart
Risk of heart disease can be reduced by 42% when folks move from a Standard American Diet to a plant-based one (3). And a plant based diet doesn’t just help prevent heart disease, it can actually reverse it, too.
5. Diabetes prevention and even reversal
Plant-based eaters have a 34% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but what about those already living with a diagnosis? It turns out, switching to plants can dramatically regulate blood sugar levels, as well...sometimes in as few as 24 hours!
6. Decreased risk of certain types of cancers
If you eat a plant based diet, you have a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer, especially colon cancer (4). Dairy consumption, in particular, is linked to increased risk for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.
7. Boosted immune system
You can boost your immunity naturally (aka create more antibodies) by adding more fruits and veggies to your diet! Diets that promote 5-6 servings of fruits and veggies a day are proven to boost your immune response and antibody production.
8. Better gut health and digestion
Speaking of your immune system, did you know our biggest barrier to the outside world isn’t through our skin, but through our guts? And a plant based diet plays a big role in improving gut health and digestion.
9. Weight loss
Want to lose weight? Eat plant based. Whole plant-based foods are packed with nutrients and are naturally lower in calories than animal-based foods, like meat and dairy. This is the perfect combo for your general health and weight loss. Plus, when we switch to a whole food plant-based diet we move away from processed foods, which are laden with refined sugar, extra salt, and saturated fat -- all contributing factors to overeating and unhealthy weight gain.
Need help getting started on your plant based weight loss journey? Check out the MamaSezz Weight Loss Bundle here and get ready-made meals for weight loss, delivered, ready to heat and eat.
10. Smoother skin and fewer wrinkles
Want smoother skin? Eat your fruits and veggies! A plant based diet is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals -- all of which reduce inflammation and boost collagen production, which means you get glowing, smoother skin, at any age.
Want glowing skin but not sure where to start? The MamaSezz Beauty Bundle is chock-full antioxidant-rich meals for healthy, beautiful skin.
The reason it's never really too late to start a plant based diet is because eating this way changes your body FAST. Really, really fast.
In just hours, your blood sugar levels will improve.
In days, your digestion will become more regular.
In a week, your cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight will be down.
In two weeks, your taste buds will adjust, making you less likely to reach for the salt shaker or refined sugar -- and in turn, truly enjoy whole plant-based foods more.
In three weeks, your energy will be up.
In a month, your skin will be smoother and more clear.
In a year, your arteries could be more clear.
1. Start with just one meal
If cold turkey just isn’t going to cut the mustard, that’s OK! Start by replacing one meal a day with plant based foods. Need some inspiration? Grab some plant based diet for beginners meal ideas here.
2. Make plant based versions of old favorites
If you’re worried you won’t like the food, try making simple vegan swaps in some of your favorite recipes. Use the same spices, but replace the meat and dairy with a plant based sub. This way you’re still enjoying the flavors you know and love, just minus the meat and dairy. Making tacos? Swap the meat for walnut taco “meat” or black beans. Make mac and “cheese” with cashew cream (try Mama’s Mac Sauce if you’d rather not make it yourself!).
3. Roast vegetables instead of boiling them
If you want to increase your veggie intake, you want them to taste good, right? So we say, skip the boiling, which can make veggies taste bland. Instead, roast your veggies for a more flavorful plant based feast. Here are our tips for roasting vegetables with oil, so they’re lower in fat and calories.
4. Choose plant based proteins (but don’t stress about protein intake too much!)
Yes, protein is essential for optimal health. And as you age, you do need to up your intake slightly. But getting enough protein on a plant based diet is actually very easy, at any age. Here are our favorite sources of plant based protein (plus you’ll find an easy protein calculator to figure out your specific needs).
5. Get support!
You don’t have to do it alone! It can feel isolating to eat plant based if you’re the only one in your family making this lifestyle change. The good news is there are plenty of places to get support and resources you need.
A great place to start? Join our free Facebook group, the MamaSezz Heart Beet Club, for daily inspiration, tips and tricks, and community support from plant based beginners and experts alike.
Skip the meal prep and make going plant based easy with the MamaSezz Get Me Started Bundle. You can reap the benefits of a plant-based diet by getting immunity-boosting, fresh, and delicious plant-based meals for beginners delivered to your door. No cooking required - just heat and eat. Get started today.
- It’s never too late to start a plant based diet -- it’s actually a great way to promote healthy aging in seniors.
- Benefits of a plant based diet for seniors include increased telomere production, reduced inflammation (fewer aches and pains!), lowered cholesterol, healthier heart, diabetes prevention and even reversal, decreased risk of certain types of cancers, boosted immune system, better gut health and digestion, weight loss, smoother skin and fewer wrinkles.
- Take these 5 steps to start a plant based diet as an older adult: start with just one meal, make plant based versions of your old favorites, roast vegetables instead of boiling them for boosted flavor, choose plant based proteins but don’t stress too much about getting “enough,” get support by joining the free MamaSezz Facebook group.
- Eat plant based without the meal prep with the MamaSezz Get Me Started Bundle and get immunity-boosting ready-made meals, delivered.