Whole-foods, Plant-based Diet, and the benefits

There are many arguments about which diet is best for you.

Nevertheless, health and wellness communities agree that diets emphasizing fresh, whole ingredients and minimizing processed foods are superior for overall wellness.

The Whole-foods, Plant-based Diet does just that.

It focuses on minimally processed foods, specifically plants, and is effective at stimulating weight loss and improving health.

What is a Whole-foods, Plant-based Diet?

There is no clear definition of a what constitutes a whole-foods, plant-based diet (WFPB diet). The WFPB diet is not necessarily a set diet — it’s more of a lifestyle.

This is because plant-based diets can vary greatly depending on the extent to which a person includes animal products in their diet.

Nonetheless, the basic principles of a WFPB diet are as follows:

  • Emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods
  • Limits or avoids animal products
  • Focuses on plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, which should make up the majority of what you eat
  • Excludes refined foods, like added sugars, white flour and processed oils
  • Pays special attention to food quality, with many proponents of the WFPB diet promoting locally sourced, organic food whenever possible.

For these reasons, this diet is often confused with vegan or vegetarian diets. Yet although similar in some ways, these diets are not the same.

People who follow vegan diets abstain from consuming any animal products, including dairy, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and honey. Vegetarians exclude all meat and poultry from their diets, but some vegetarians eat eggs, seafood or dairy.

The WFPB diet, on the other hand, is more flexible. Followers eat mostly plants, but animal products aren’t off limits. While one person following a WFPB diet may eat no animal products, another may eat small amounts of eggs, poultry, seafood, meat or dairy.

It can help you lose weight and improve your health

Obesity is an issue of epidemic proportions. In fact, over 69% of US adults are overweight or obese.

Fortunately, making dietary and lifestyle changes can facilitate weight loss and have a lasting impact on health.

Many studies have shown that plant-based diets are beneficial for weight loss.

The high fiber content of the WFPB diet, along with the exclusion of processed foods, is a winning combination for shedding excess pounds.

A review of 12 studies that included more than 1,100 people found that those assigned to plant-based diets lost significantly more weight — about 4.5 pounds (2kg) over an average of 18 weeks — than those assigned to non-vegetarian diets.

Adopting a healthy plant-based eating pattern may also help keep weight off in the long run.

A study in 65 overweight and obese adults found that those assigned to a WFPB diet lost significantly more weight than the control group and were able to sustain that weight loss of 9.25 pounds (4.2kg) over a one-year follow-up period.

Plus, simply cutting out the processed foods that aren’t allowed on a WFPB diet like soda, candy, fast food and refined grains is a powerful weight loss tool itself.

Source: Healthline

It benefits a number of health conditions

Adopting a WFPB diet not only benefits your waistline, but it can also lower your risk and reduce symptoms of certain chronic diseases.

1. Heart disease

Perhaps one of the most well-known benefits of WFPB diets is that they are heart-healthy.

However, the quality and types of foods included in the diet matter.

A large study in over 200,000 people found that those who followed a healthy plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, legumes and nuts had a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease than those following non-plant-based diets.

However, unhealthy plant-based diets that included sugary drinks, fruit juices and refined grains were associated with a slightly increased risk of heart disease.

Consuming the right kinds of food is critical for heart disease prevention when following a plant-based diet, which is why adhering to a WFPB diet is the best choice.

2. Cancer

Research suggests that following a plant-based diet may reduce your risk of certain types of cancer.

A study in over 69,000 people found that vegetarian diets were associated with a significantly lower risk of gastrointestinal cancer, especially for those who followed a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy).

Another large study in more than 77,000 people demonstrated that those who followed vegetarian diets had a 22% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than non-vegetarians.

Pescatarians (vegetarians who eat fish) had the greatest protection from colorectal cancer with a 43% reduced risk compared to non-vegetarians.

3. Cognitive decline

Some studies suggest that diets rich in vegetables and fruits may help slow or prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.

Plant-based diets have a higher number of plant compounds and antioxidants, which have been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and reverse cognitive deficits.

In many studies, higher intakes of fruits and vegetables have been strongly associated with a reduction in cognitive decline.

A review of nine studies including over 31,000 people found that eating more fruits and vegetables led to a 20% reduction in the risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia.

4. Diabetes

Adopting a WFPB diet may be an effective tool in managing and reducing your risk of developing diabetes.

A study in more than 200,000 people found that those who adhered to a healthy plant-based eating pattern had a 34% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who followed unhealthy, non-plant-based diets.

Another study demonstrated that plant-based diets (vegan and lacto-ovo vegetarian) were associated with nearly a 50% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes compared to non-vegetarian diets.

Plus, plant-based diets have been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.

Adopting a WFPB diet is good for the planet

Switching to a plant-based diet not only benefits your health — it can help protect the environment, as well.

People who follow plant-based diets tend to have smaller environmental footprints.

Adopting sustainable eating habits can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and land used for factory farming, which are all factors in global warming and environmental degradation.

A review of 63 studies showed that the largest environmental benefits were seen from diets containing the least amount of animal-based foods such as vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian diets.

The study reported that a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and land use and 50% less water use could be achieved by shifting Western diet patterns to more sustainable, plant-based dietary patterns.

What’s more, reducing the number of animal products in your diet and purchasing local, sustainable produce helps drive the local economy and reduces reliance on factory farming, an unsustainable method of food production.

Foods to eat on a WFPB diet

Animal products are the focus of most meals for many people. When switching to a plant-based diet, meals should center around plant-based foods. If animal foods are eaten, they should be eaten in smaller quantities, with attention paid to the quality of the item. Foods like dairy, eggs, poultry, meat and seafood should be used more as a complement to a plant-based meal, not as the main focal point.

A WFPB shopping list:

  • Fruits: Berries, citrus fruits, pears, peaches, pineapple, bananas, etc.
  • Vegetables: Kale, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, peppers, etc.
  • Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.
  • Whole grains: Brown rice, rolled oats, farro, quinoa, brown rice pasta, barley, etc.
  • Healthy fats: Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut, etc.
  • Legumes: Peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, black beans, etc.
  • Seeds, nuts and nut butters: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter, tahini, etc.
  • Unsweetened plant-based milks: Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, etc.
  • Spices, herbs and seasonings: Basil, rosemary, turmeric, curry, black pepper, salt, etc.
  • Condiments: Salsa, mustard, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.
  • Plant-based protein: Tofu, tempeh, plant-based protein sources or powders with no added sugar or artificial ingredients
  • Beverages: Coffee, tea, sparkling water, etc.

If supplementing your plant-based diet with animal products, choose quality products from grocery stores or, better yet, purchase them from local farms. Choose animal foods that are pasture-raised, free-range, grass-fed, wild-caught or organic when possible.

Foods to avoid or minimize on this diet

The WFPB diet is a way of eating that focuses on consuming foods in their most natural form. This means that heavily processed foods are excluded.

When purchasing groceries, focus on fresh foods and, when purchasing foods with a label, aim for items with the fewest possible ingredients.

Foods to avoid:

  • Fast food: French fries, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc.
  • Added sugars and sweets: Table sugar, soda, juice, pastries, cookies, candy, sweet tea, sugary cereals, etc.
  • Refined grains: White rice, white pasta, white bread, bagels, etc.
  • Packaged and convenience foods: Chips, crackers, cereal bars, frozen dinners, etc.
  • Processed vegan-friendly foods: Plant-based meats like Tofurkey, faux cheeses, vegan butters, etc.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Equal, Splenda, Sweet’N Low, etc.
  • Processed animal products: Bacon, lunch meats, sausage, beef jerky, etc.

Foods to minimize:

While healthy animal foods can be included in a WFPB diet, the following products should be minimized in all plant-based diets.

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Sheep
  • Game meats
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Seafood.

The bottom line

A WFPB diet is a way of eating that celebrates plant foods and cuts out unhealthy items like added sugars and refined grains.

Plant-based diets have been linked to a number of health benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, diabetes and cognitive decline.

Plus, transitioning to a more plant-based diet is an excellent choice for the planet.

Regardless of the type of WFPB diet you choose, adopting this way of eating is sure to boost your health.

Source: HEALTHLINE

About STELLA

Stellapharm is one of leading generics pharmaceutical companies and strong producer of anti-viral drugs in Vietnam. The company established in Vietnam in 2000; and focuses on both prescription drugs and non-prescription especially in cardiovascular diseases, antiviral drugs, anti-diabetics drugs, etc. and our products are now used by millions of patients in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The company is globally recognized for its quality through our facilities have been audited and approved by stringent authority like EMA, PMDA, Taiwan GMP, local WHO and others.

Additional information for this article: Stellapharm J.V. Co., Ltd. – Branch 1
A: 40 Tu Do Avenue, Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Park, An Phu Ward, Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam
T: +84 274 376 7470 | F: +84 274 376 7469 | E: info@stellapharm.com | W: www.stellapharm.com

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