Any diet or nutrition plan that focuses on plant-based whole-foods while eliminating processed foods, dairy and meats has been widely proven to improve overall health, especially cardiovascular health.
What is a whole-foods plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet has many definitions because it varies according to how much dairy or animal products an individual consumes along with whole-foods. However, assuming you are following a fully plant-based nutrition plan that eliminates dairy and meats, then you are really adopting a lifestyle rather than a “diet”. Those who follow a plant-based lifestyle would describe consuming only whole foods as follows:
- Focusing solely on whole, minimally or zero processed foods
- Limiting all dairy and animal products
- Consuming only plants, fruits and vegetables along with grains
- Removing refined foods like white flour, sugar and processed oils
Benefits of a plant-based diet
Many studies have shown the positive health benefits of a plant-based diet that include weight loss, preventing heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline and even diabetes.
- Heart Disease: in a study of more than 200,000 people , those who ate a plant-based diet significantly lowered their risk of heart disease
- Cancer: a study of more than 77,000 people showed a 22% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer
- Cognitive decline: a study of more then 31,000 people found a 20% reduction in cognitive impairment or dementia
- Diabetes: a study of over 200,000 people found a 34% lower risk of developing diabetes for those who ate a plant-base diet
Given the significant and proven health benefits of a plant-based diet it is worth considering slowly implementing changes that help you move to a whole-food diet.
Plant-based shopping list:
- Vegetables: kale, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, bell peppers, peas, sweet potatoes, corn, red potatoes, butternut squash, other types of squash
- Fruit: all berries, oranges, pears, bananas, pineapple, peaches, apples, unsweetened apple sauce
- Whole grains: brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, hemp meal, chia seeds, barley, brown rice pasta
- Healthy fats: olive oil and avocados
- Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans
- Plant-based milk: organic soy milk (unsweetened), almond milk, or cashew milk
- Spices: turmeric, black pepper, sea salt, basil, rosemary
- Condiments: mustard, lemon juice, salsa sauce
- Protein: tempeh and tofu or plant-based protein powder
- Beverages: coffee, tea, water