What’s So Healthy About A Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet Anyway?
August 27, 2020
According to research, a whole-food, plant-based diet improves health and longevity because it focuses on plants and minimizes processed foods.
But, it’s more a lifestyle than a diet.
Basic Principles of a Whole-food, Plant-based Diet
- Focuses on plants and plant products – you eat mostly vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
- Limits or avoids animal products – red meat, chicken, fish, dairy, eggs.
- It minimizes processed foods.
- And avoids refined foods – white flour, refined sugars, processed oils.
- Food quality is prioritized to promote locally sourced organic foods.
The advantages of switching to a plant-based diet is that it tends to prevent illness by reducing the risk of certain diseases.
A diet high in animal-based products and processed foods leads to weight gain and metabolic issues; it also increases one’s risk of heart disease and cancer, to name a couple.
However, these lifestyle diseases can be prevented, reduced, or reversed by switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet.
Here are some proven benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet:
Promotes better nutrition: Plant-based foods are nutrient-rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, and they are delicious when prepared the right way.
Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels: According to research, blood pressure is significantly lowered in people who switch to a plant-based diet because of its unrefined sugars, fiber and healthy fats.
Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and its complications: A whole-food, plant-based diet is high in fiber, has unrefined carbohydrates, is a good source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats compared to saturated fats in the typical diet, making it easier to manage blood sugar. One of the reasons is because sugar enters your blood stream more slowly on a WFPG diet.
Prevents obesity: A significant challenge of the modern lifestyle is obesity, which is linked to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and many cancers. It’s easier to manage weight and maintain a healthy BMI on a whole-food, plant-based diet.
Heart disease prevention: Plant-based diets lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which benefits heart health, and significantly reduces cardiovascular disease risk.
Lowers the risk of cancer and slows its progression: The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the consumption of red meat as a “likely carcinogen” (Harvard Medical School, 2018).
A carcinogen has the potential to cause cancer. Increased consumption of red meat is linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancers. Plants contain antioxidants and disease-fighting phytochemicals that protect against cancer.
Improves Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: Consuming plant-based foods reduces inflammation and related symptoms such as pain, swelling, and joint stiffness in patients with Rheumatoid arthritis.
Improves quality of life: The nutrients in a plant-based diet boost immunity while the antioxidants fight the effects of aging. Fiber helps with digestion and prevents constipation.
Increases longevity: A whole-food, plant-based diet increases longevity because it reduces premature death from many non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancers.
A whole-food, plant-based diet boosts health and longevity and increases the quality of life.
But even if you’re not ready to fully adopt a WFPB diet now, start adding whole-foods to your diet to begin enjoying at least some of its health benefits today.