“Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Diet” is a term that can apply to refer to any number of different eating styles. The main difference here is that WFPB is characterized by what it includes rather than what it excludes.
Numerous studies have proven time and again the benefits that come from eating a WFPB diet, and those benefits start with a baseline of better nutrition. Obviously, this is a given but better nutrition is where a healthier body always starts. It’s what fuels our body, and thus becomes our defense against long-term chronic and avoidable lifestyle diseases that plague our country.
Despite being a healthy source of nutrition, most of us still don’t consume nearly enough fruits and vegetables, let alone eat the recommended amounts.
After all, they’re nutrient-dense edibles rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Plus, they’re delicious. Children often get finicky with things like broccoli, and that’s okay. It’s acceptable to simply dislike a specific fruit or vegetable or to avoid fruits because you really don’t want to spend time cutting, carving, and cleaning them.
But, science has repeatedly shown us that better nutrition comes from a nutrient-dense diet filled with fruits and vegetables (Tuso, Ismail, Ha, & Bartolotto, 2013) than it does from a diet which consists of meats, processed meats, or even refined grains.
So, if you don’t like to carve your honeydews, then ask your produce department to carve it for you. Most grocery stores offer that service, but you have to ask. For children who like to avoid broccoli, just keep offering it. Eventually, your 5-year-old may surprise you and try something new after all.
Better health for your heart
Another main benefit of following a plant-based diet is that it significantly brings down the risk of Cardiovascular Disease because WFPB diets go a long way in lowering blood pressure, enhancing blood sugar control, and lowering cholesterol. Choosing a WFPB diet is one of the best natural ways to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases on the whole.
A WFPB diet can increase your longevity by reducing your risk of premature or early death due to suffering from untreated chronic lifestyle illnesses like high blood pressure, CVD, obesity, and some cancers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the consumption of red meat as a “likely carcinogen (Harvard Medical School, 2018).” That’s not to say that consuming red meat is inherently dangerous. Occasional consumption of meats, including red meat, is allowable by some WFPB diets like the Mediterranean diet. Still, increased consumption of red meat has been directly linked to increased risk of cardiovascular and some cancers like colorectal. A plant-based diet will not only help your body become healthier but also make you live longer.
Lower cancer risk
Research has it that there is a direct association between an increased risk of colorectal cancer and eating too much processed or red meat (Harvard Medical School, 2018). On the other hand, we have the discovery that eating fruits, legumes, grains, and veggies in recommended amounts on a regular basis can lower the risk of cancer and other chronic illnesses because plants contain disease-fighting phytochemicals that can thwart cancer.
Lower rates of obesity
One of the main challenges of our modern lifestyle is obesity (Tuso, Ismail, Ha, & Bartolotto, 2013). There are various methods of fighting obesity at our disposal, however, the most effective method of battling this debilitating chronic illness is with your diet.
Choosing to stick to a WFPB is an effective weight-loss strategy. Obesity is a risk factor associated with all of the chronic and lifestyle illnesses listed above, so addressing obesity with a nutritional approach kick starts your process to better health, having a healthier BMI, and stunting the formation of chronic illness like high blood pressure and CVD.
There is a plethora of studies that factor in WFPB diets in relation to health and longevity. This body of evidence provides merit to the theories which surround the WFPB diets and their many health benefits.
Harvard Medical School. (2018, January). The Right Plant-Based Diet for You. Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Men’s Health Watch: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-right-plant-based-diet-for-you
Tuso, P. J., Ismail, M. H., Ha, B. P., & Bartolotto, C. (2013). Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant Based Diets. The Permanente Journal, 61-66. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288/