Why Plant-Based Foods Belong On The School Lunch Menu

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Plant-based eating has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. There are many benefits to eating a plant-based diet that can help you feel better, look better, and improve your overall health. A California teen now proposes to introduce an option of plant-based foods on the school lunch menu. 

Let’s take a closer look into why she says we should consider incorporating more plants into students’ diet. 

Health Benefits of Eating Plants 

Eating a plant-based diet has numerous health benefits. Research suggests that plant-based diets may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. This is due to the high amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in plants. These nutrients can help reduce inflammation in the body, promote healthy digestion, and boost the immune system. Additionally, many plant-based foods are low in calories but still provide essential nutrients the body needs to stay healthy. 

Mental Health Benefits 

In addition to physical health benefits, eating a plant-based diet can also be beneficial for mental health. Studies have linked vegetarian diets with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to non-vegetarian diets. This could be due to the fact that many plant-based foods contain compounds that have been shown to have antidepressant properties such as omega 3 fatty acids and magnesium. Additionally, some research suggests that vegetarian diets may increase levels of serotonin—a hormone associated with mood regulation—in the brain.            

Environmental Benefits 

Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t just benefit physical and mental health; it also helps protect the environment too! Animal agriculture is responsible for 14%–18% of global greenhouse gas emissions—more than all forms of transportation combined! By reducing or eliminating animal products from our diets, we can drastically reduce our environmental footprint while still meeting our nutritional needs from plants instead. Plus, plants use significantly fewer resources than animal products do; so when we switch to plant-powered meals we’re helping preserve precious water sources and land too!          

Read the full article about this high school girl’s mission on our sister site, Irvine Weekly, here.

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