Benefits of a Plant-based Diet: Boost Your Immune System

Many people are trying to improve their health. Some are joining a gym to get more exercise. Others are trying different diets. Some are looking at a plant-based diet. This article is the first of six. We will be looking at the different benefits of adopting a plant-based diet. At the end of the articles will be recipes for those that want to transition to a plant-based diet. This article will look at how we can boost our immune system.

What Does a Plant-Based Diet Consist of?

Plant-based diets include whole grains, legumes, fresh produce, seeds, and nuts.

Supports the Immune System

Plants provide the essential nutrients that boost our immune system. You don’t get these nutrients from other sources. Plants contain vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. These nutrients help your body fight infection. Therefore, the immune system can protect your body from germs and microorganisms. A healthy immune system reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases.

Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is when white blood cells fight invaders such as bacterial or viral infections, allergies, cuts, etc. Short-term inflammation caused by an injury resulting in localized pain, redness, swelling, etc. A bee sting is an example of a short-term inflammation. Chronic inflammation can last months or years. Chronic inflammation has been linked to atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attacks, type-2 diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease is when the immune system attacks healthy, normal tissue in the body.

Inflammation is when white blood cells fight invaders such as bacterial or viral infections, allergies, cuts, etc. Short-term inflammation caused by an injury resulting in localized pain, redness, swelling, etc. A bee sting is an example of a short-term inflammation.

Chronic inflammation can last months or years. Chronic inflammation has been linked to atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attacks, type-2 diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease is when the immune system attacks healthy, normal tissue in the body. Eating meat and milk products and highly processed food can cause elevated levels of inflammation in the body.

Diet and exercise can reduce inflammation. Plant-based diets are high in fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, which are naturally anti-inflammatory. Plants lower the inflammatory triggers of unhealthy fats and toxins from bacteria commonly found in animal foods and added sugars. Those who adopt a plant-based diet often see a dramatic reduction of inflammatory triggers due to the nutrients in fruits and vegetables.

Transitioning to a Plant-based Diet

Many websites and YouTube videos provide information about adopting a plant-based diet. Many new companies have been formed to provide plant-based “meats” that can be used in your favorite recipes. PAOW!™ is one such company that has produced meat-like plant-based products that can be adapted to your favorite recipes.  PAOW!™ uses just three simple ingredients: soy, water, salt, plus seasonings. It is a great choice for those that are transitioning from a meat-eating diet to vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based lifestyles. 

Below is a recipe for Vegetable Fajitas using PAOW!™ Pieces with Southwestern-style seasoning. 

Recipe: PAOW!™ Southwest Fajitas

Boost Your Immune System
PAOW!™ Southwest Flavored Pieces

Serves 4-6. Prep time 30 minutes. Cooking time 20 minutes

Ingredients:

8oz PAOW!™ Southwest Flavored Pieces

1 medium-sized onion, sliced

½ medium-sized sliced peppers each (red, green, and yellow) 

1 medium-sized Zucchini or Yellow squash, halved and sliced

1 cup sliced mushrooms

Oil or vegetable broth for sautéing

Instructions:

  1. Cook the PAOW!™ Southwest Flavored Pieces on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. 
  2. Remove the PAOW!™ from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the peppers, onions, squash, and mushrooms, and sauté for 5-7 minutes until tender.
  4. Return the PAOW!™ to the pan and mix well to coat the vegetables with the seasoning from the PAOW!™ pieces.

Serve on corn or whole-wheat tortillas with any of the following: Pico de Gallo, salsa, sliced avocado, plant-based sour cream, plant-based shredded cheese, and fat-free refried beans.

The PAOW!™ Southwest Flavored Pieces are tender and mild. Just right for me. You can always add a some red pepper flakes to spice it up to your liking. 

PAOW!™ Southwest Fajitas
PAOW!™ Southwest Fajitas

Benefits of a Plant-based Diet:

Weight Loss