What Are Whole Plant Based Foods?
A plant-based diet is a healthy way to feed your body. It’s full of heart-healthy whole foods that can lower your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Plant-based eating also cuts out the need to raise animals for food, which is an inefficient use of land and water. Whole plant-based foods are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
A whole-food plant based diet avoids meat, dairy, processed sugar, salt, and added oils. Instead it focuses on healthy portions of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
The resulting diet is high in heart-healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and helps prevent or reverse heart disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help maintain a healthy weight and prevent, delay or treat cancers.
Plant-based diets have been linked to lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure and a decreased risk of heart disease. They can also help manage weight issues and reduce the risk of diabetes and other health conditions.
Fruits are one of the most nutritious foods on a healthy plant-based diet (also known as a WFPB diet). They’re high in fiber and provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They’re also low in calories.
A plant-based diet should include at least 6 one-ounce servings of grains per day, or about 1 cup of cooked rice or pasta. Ideally, half of these should be whole grain foods.
Grains are seeds of grasses like wheat, barley, rye and corn (maize). Eating whole grains can help prevent heart disease and diabetes, and may reduce cancer risk.
Legumes (beans, peas and lentils) are a major source of protein on a whole-food plant-based diet. They are rich in fibre and low in saturated fat. Eating legumes can help lower blood pressure.
They are also high in folate, iron, magnesium and potassium, and may offer some protection against cardiovascular disease. They are a staple in many cultures. They can be purchased fresh, dried or canned. Proper soaking and cooking methods reduce antinutrients that interfere with digestion and absorption, particularly phytic acid.
There’s a good reason why people who follow a healthy plant-based diet are significantly less likely to develop heart disease. These diets are rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
Nuts are a staple of the WFPB diet and provide essential nutrients that can be challenging to obtain when other foods groups are cut out. These include protein, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.
Seeds are the characteristic reproductive organs of angiosperms (flowering plants) and gymnosperms (conifers and cycads). A seed is a mature ovule with a miniature undeveloped plant, food reserves and a protective coat.
A whole food plant based diet avoids animal products and cuts out extra fat, which means you can easily meet your calorie needs while fueling a healthy gut microbiome. This low-calorie, high-fiber diet also helps you stay hydrated and decreases fracture rates with its calcium-rich foods.
A plant-based diet is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It also promotes healthy weight, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduces risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
Plant-based foods are free from salt, added fat, processed sugar and refined grains. The result is an anti-inflammatory diet that is naturally high in fiber to support a healthy gut and digestive system. The following recipes are examples of delicious whole food plant based meals.
A healthy plant-based diet isn’t complete without spices and herbs. They are packed with antioxidants and other plant compounds that have been shown to benefit health 1.
Try turmeric for its anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties, or cinnamon for its heart-health benefits. Many spices also come in blends that are vegan-friendly, such as curry powder, chili powder or Italian seasoning.
Eating a whole food, plant-based diet is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients while enjoying delicious meals. It can even help you manage your weight and improve your health.
Beans are a good source of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are commonly eaten worldwide and are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber.
Try edamame (green soybeans in their pods), a great snack or appetizer! Or, make a quick hummus dip with beans.
Beans are also a very good source of potassium, iron and calcium. They contain no cholesterol, and are high in phytonutrients and antioxidants that may prevent chronic disease.