How Your Body Changes on a Plant-Based Diet

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Samuel Anthony
Apr 28, 2023
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As more people become conscious about their health and the environment, plant-based diets have gained popularity in recent years. Unlike a traditional Western diet that heavily relies on animal products, a plant-based diet focuses on eating primarily fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. The shift towards plant-based eating provides numerous health benefits, such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. As well as this, following a plant-based diet can also result in changes to the body, both physically and mentally.

Lower BMI & Weight Loss

One of the most significant changes that occur when transitioning to a plant-based diet is weight loss. Studies have shown that people who follow a plant-based diet tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who consume a diet high in animal products. Plant-based foods tend to be lower in calories and higher in fibre, which can help you feel fuller for longer and reduce your overall calorie intake.

Improved Digestive Health

Another change that occurs when following a plant-based diet is improved digestion. Plant-based foods are typically fibre-rich, which helps regulate bowel movements and promote healthy digestion. Moreover, plant-based diets often contain probiotics, beneficial bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome improves immune function, mental health, and weight management.

Reduced Oxidative Stress

Additionally, plant-based diets are rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the body from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body's ability to neutralize them, which can lead to cellular damage and is associated with a range of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease. By consuming a diet rich in antioxidants, such as those found in plant-based foods, we can help to protect our bodies from this type of damage.

Reduced Inflammation

Another change that may occur when following a plant-based diet is reduced inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to protect the body from injury and infection. However, chronic inflammation can contribute to the developing of several chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

Studies have found that following a plant-based diet can help reduce inflammation due to the high levels of anti-inflammatory nutrients in plant-based foods, such as polyphenols and flavonoids. In addition, plant-based diets tend to be lower in pro-inflammatory foods such as saturated fats and processed meats.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Furthermore, following a plant-based diet may lead to improvements in cardiovascular health. Plant-based diets lower blood pressure, improve blood lipid levels and reduce the risk of heart disease due to the high levels of fibre, vitamins, and minerals found in plant-based foods, which can help to improve blood vessel function and reduce inflammation.

Improved Cognitive Function & Mental Wellbeing

Finally, following a plant-based diet may also have mental health benefits. Studies have found that people who consume more plant-based foods tend to have lower rates of depression and anxiety because of the high levels of nutrients found in plant-based foods, which can help to support brain function and reduce inflammation in the body.


In conclusion, a plant-based diet can lead to numerous positive changes in the body. The benefits of consuming a diet rich in plant-based foods are evident, from weight loss and improved digestion to reduced inflammation and improved cardiovascular health. Not only does this diet promote physical health, but it may also have mental health benefits. As more people become aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet, this eating pattern will likely continue to grow in popularity, improve health and reduce environmental impact.

Sources & References

  1. Tuso PJ, Ismail MH, Ha BP, Bartolotto C. Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets. Perm J. 2013;17(2):61-66. doi:10.7812/tpp/12-085
  2. Craig WJ. Health effects of vegan diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89(5):1627S-1633S. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736N
  3. Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Rimm EB, et al. Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies. PLoS Med. 2016;13(6):e1002039. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002039
  4. Dinu M, Abbate R, Gensini GF, Casini A, Sofi F. Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: A systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017;57(17):3640-3649. doi:10.1080/10408398.2016.1138447
  5. Burke KE. Inflammation and Mood Disorders: A Review of the Evidence, Mechanisms, and Implications for Treatment. Biol Psychiatry. 2015;77(12):1083-1091. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.05.007
  6. Yokoyama Y, Barnard ND, Levin SM, Watanabe M. Vegetarian diets and glycemic control in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2014;4(5):373-382. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2223-3652.2014.10.04
  7. Kahleova H, Levin S, Barnard N. Cardio-Metabolic Benefits of Plant-Based Diets. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):848. doi:10.3390/nu9080848
  8. Beezhold BL, Johnston CS, Daigle DR. Vegetarian diets are associated with lower risk of depression in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord. 2019;260:117-126. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2019.05.072
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