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4 Health Benefits of a Whole-food Plant-based Diet

17 Jun 2020

@abillion profile image

three slices of bread with veggie toppings

Many feel that a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet and the vegan diet are the same since both are plant-based. However, this isn't true. A WFPB diet focuses on whole, natural, and unprocessed foods, while a vegan diet includes everything that doesn't contain animal-derived products. So, if a vegan's daily diet consists of highly-processed food, their diet would be unhealthy as processed food tends to spike your blood sugar and hunger levels, leading you to overeat.

How does a whole-food Plant-based diet help maintain our health?

carrot healthy gif

Better immune system, less inflammation

"Plants give your body what it needs to help fight off infection," says Andrea Murray, MD Anderson health education specialist. According to MD Anderson Cancer Center, some essential nutrients can only be plant-based. These essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, help maintain our health. Day by day, these elements work to resolve inflammation in our bodies by getting rid of free radicals, neutralizing toxins from pollution, processed food, bacteria, viruses, and more. With less inflammation, there is a lower chance of inflammatory diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and heart diseases. Further research from The China Study shows that "a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and other major illnesses."

Some examples of anti-inflamatory food

Help with weight management

Being in a healthy weight range is crucial for good health. Excess weight may cause inflammation and hormonal imbalance that leads to higher risks for type 2 diabetes and 12 different types of cancer. The high fiber content from plants ease digestion and help our bodies get rid of the waste. With proper bowel management, it's easier for us to digest and absorb the nutrients from our food better. This will in turn help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar in our bodies. Consider adding fiber-rich foods like artichoke, black beans, and coconuts to your diet.

Healthy Skin

As mentioned earlier, WFPB foods help regulate your blood sugar levels. As stated on the American Academy of Dermatology, blood sugar spikes cause your body to produce more sebum (an oily substance) in your skin and may induce inflammation. Both may result in acne if this occurs regularly. WFPB diet can help reduce this by regulating your blood sugar levels. Additionally, abundant antioxidants and other plant-derived nutrients from WFPB helps maintain healthy and clear skin. Antioxidants such as Vitamin E, C, and A as well as minerals such as magnesium, copper, and selenium can help repair damaged cells and improve skin elasticity. Your water intake increases on a WFPB diet (most plant foods have over 70% water content). High water intake does wonders for your body, including your skin, as it becomes less vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.

Sources of anti-oxidants

Wellness

Certain foods cause inflammation in our bodies. Such inflammation comes with a variety of disorders and can cause feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. The high amounts of antioxidants and phytochemicals in WFPB foods help to repair worn brain cells and reduce overall inflammation. It can help manage your emotions and promote a sense of well-being. Some plant-based foods can act as effective natural antidepressants as they contain a phytochemical called quercetin that can only be found in plant-based foods. Quercetin increases the production of "happy chemicals" serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. Some good sources are apples, kale, berries, grapes, onion, and green tea.

  Wellness

How do I start?

Try these 5 simple ways to start your WFPB diet:

1. Try having a plant-based meal once a day like Oprah Winfrey

 

2. Eat fruits or nuts for dessert and snacks

 

3. Substitute any refined and processed food products with natural products

 

4. Eat more vegetables when you get the chance

 

5. Drink more water instead of sugary drinks

 

How to make a healthy WFPB meal?

1. Use raw and organic whole foods

 

2. Avoid oil, added sugar, and any refined foods

 

3. Be mindful of the portion and amount

 

Lastly, the choice is yours to make. It doesn't hurt to try a WFPB or vegan diet, especially with the increased convenience and availability of plant-based foods in the market. You can also use this as a way to be more conscious of what you put into your body.

Let us know in the comments if you've any tips that you'd like to share if you're on a WFPB diet.

. . .


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Responses

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@choyyuen profile image
choyyuen1 YEAR AGO
Thanks for the article! It's a great reminder! 😄 I'm taking 80% whole food & 20% processed. I use electric lunch box which helps me to prepare simple & healthy vegan meals. It's easier to control my oil, sugar & salt consumption with more frequent home-cooked meals.
REPLY
@georgejacobs profile image
georgejacobs1 YEAR AGO
I really like the idea of fruits for dessert. Satisfies my sweet tooth and is so healthy too.
REPLY
@izchula profile image
izchula1 YEAR AGO
Great article! Hoes hand in hand with the book How not to die & nutritionfact.org he is 100% plantbased medical doctor.
REPLY
@kec profile image
kec1 YEAR AGO
It’s of course best to be full WFPB, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Health can be improved by merging closer to a WFPB diet.
REPLY
@gitavegana profile image
gitavegana1 YEAR AGO
love it!! great tips for people who are transitioning to a vegan diet!
REPLY
@amazinganne profile image
amazinganne1 YEAR AGO
Great article! I hear that processed meat alternatives were made to ease non vegetarians into vegetarians, but over time, it has become so popular. We can find plant substitutes such as monkey head mushrooms or tofu instead of soy nuggets & processed cheese. But may not be easy unless we cook at home.
REPLY
@adouk profile image
adouk10 MONTHS AGO
It's all about experimenting and finding what works for you
REPLY