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Benefits of a Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet

Updated: Dec 18, 2021

What Is a Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet?

The definition of a whole-food diet is simple: it involves eating foods that either occur in nature or are minimally processed. Because it only avoids one type of food (heavily processed products), many people think of it as a lifestyle choice rather than a diet.

A plant-based diet is one in which vegetables form the largest portion of what a person eats. Examples include a vegetarian diet, which contains no meat, and the Mediterranean diet, which includes meat in small amounts but is based primarily on vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

A whole-food plant-based diet (WFPB) combines both of these approaches to meals in order to get the most of all health benefits involved.

What Are the Benefits of a Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet?

The benefits of eating whole foods are plentiful. Nutrition studies show that consuming whole foods can provide the following major health advantages:

  • Lower the risk of certain cancers, including breast and prostate cancer

  • Prevent heart disease (and in some cases, even reverse it)

  • Prevent and treat diabetes

  • Promote weight loss and increased energy

  • Extend lifespan

The benefits of eating plant-based foods are equally abundant. Studies indicate that consuming primarily natural, non-meat items (vegetarian, Mediterranean, or similar diets) helps people to lower the risk of:

  • Heart disease

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Diabetes

  • Cancers (colon, breast, and prostate cancers)

  • Depression

  • Weakness or frailty

Whole Food Plant-Based Grocery List

Eating a healthy diet always sounds good on paper, but it’s also important to prepare for one—which means planning meals, then making a grocery list based on the ingredients (and ideally, not grocery shopping while hungry). Here are some WFPB items to consider on your next trip to the farmer’s market or grocery store:

  • Vegetables (a wide variety, including mushrooms)

  • Whole grains (barley, brown or wild rice, quinoa, whole wheat, or steel-cut and rolled oats

  • Legumes (any dried or canned beans, chickpeas, peas, or lentils with minimal salt)

  • Greens (kale, collards, spinach, lettuces, parsley or cilantro, bok choy)

  • Roots (potatoes, onions, leeks, turnips, carrots, parsnips, radishes, beets, garlic, or ginger)

  • Fruit (a wide variety, as low in natural sugars as possible)

  • Seeds (flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds)

  • Spices

  • Healthy beverages (water, plant-based “milks,” herbal or green teas, decaffeinated coffee)

Healthy Diet Resources for Underinvested Young Adults

It can be difficult to navigate and maintain the logistics of a healthy diet and lifestyle, which is why educational resources on these topics are so valuable, particularly in underserved communities.

BeamUp offers programming to help underinvested youth succeed in every aspect of life. Our goal is to provide opportunities for youth and young adults of lower socioeconomic status to equip them with the necessary tools. By empowering them, they are better equipped to lift themselves out of poverty and violence.

At the core of BeamUp is access to quality education about a healthy lifestyle, professional education, plant-based whole foods, making climate friendly choices, and mindfulness. Donate today!

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