The human body is constantly renewing itself. It's a beautiful idea when you think about it: You can leave the old you behind and become a completely new person every seven years.
Unfortunately, it's just not that simple.
Even though we have around 37 trillion cells dying off and renewing continuously, not every body part regenerates or changes. For example, your hair is constantly growing, but your brain stopped growing at birth.
Our bodies have the potential to regenerate, but it’s up to our chosen lifestyle if we live sick or age well.
“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 sound nutrition. Obviously, this is a given - better nutrition is where a healthier body always starts. It’s what fuels our body which becomes our defense against long-term chronic and avoidable lifestyle diseases that plague the world.
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.
INTERPRETATIONS OF A PLANT-BASED LIFESTYLE
Like most things in life, we have more than one understanding of something as simple as a plant-based diet.
1. Vegetarian Diet. People who are vegetarian usually eat cheese, eggs, and milk, but they do not eat animal meat, such as chicken, pork, and beef.
A vegetarian will substitute their meat for plant-based protein.
2. Vegan Diet Consists of foods made only from plants therefore, people on a vegan diet don’t eat dairy, eggs, seafood, meat, poultry, and honey.
3. Raw Vegan Diet This is even more extreme to the Vegan diet with the rule to include only eating plant-based foods that are raw or heated at temperatures below 104–118°F (40–48°C).
4. Flexitarian Diet The people that follow this diet are more flexible with their meat, poultry, and seafood intake. They primarily eat foods from plants, but with some animal products here and there. They are not strict on the cooking procedure.
BETTER 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, Cardiovascular disease, 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 but how much you eat per serve and how often you eat red meat may need to be addressed.
Occasional consumption of meat, including red meat, is allowable by some WFPB diets like the Mediterranean diet. Still, increased consumption of red meat and processed meats from the deli has been directly linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease 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 discovered 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 prevent some cancers.
LOWER RATES OF OBESITY
One of the main challenges of our modern lifestyle is obesity.
Have you noticed that since the 1980’s when fats were taken out of a large number of everyday foods, that the world obesity rate has exploded – so much so that today it is considered a pandemic?
Could it be because when fats are removed from foods, the foods taste bland and disgusting?
Could this be because sugar is now added to foods so that they are enjoyable again?
Could sugar in foods and drinks be making us fat?
There are various methods of fighting obesity at our disposal, however, the most effective method of battling this debilitating chronic illness is with your daily food choices, complemented with daily physical activity.
Choosing to change your eating 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 illnesses like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
There are 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.
Health and Wellbeing Coach For Women 40+
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/