Currently, one of the most searched diets in the world is plant-based nutrition. According to the Lancet, one of the world's leading medical journals, eating more whole grains could potentially save 1.7 million lives a year. More vegetables? 1.8 million lives. How about nuts and seeds? 2.5 million lives. Fruit? Worldwide, if humanity ate more fruit, we might save 4.9 million lives. That’s nearly 5 million lives hanging in the balance, and their salvation isn’t medication or a new vaccine — it may be just more fruit.
Say Goodbye to Portion Control, Skipping Meals, and Counting Calories
The advantage of a whole-food, plant-based approach to weight loss goes hand in hand with eating real foods. You can say goodbye to portion control, skipping meals, or counting calories when you feed your body plant-based meals. What’s meant by eating real foods, is eating foods closest to their natural state, unrefined, minimally processed, or unprocessed. Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM., author of How Not To Die, defines a whole food as one with “nothing bad added, nothing good taken away.” He explains that, although the science behind food is complex, the good news is that you don’t necessarily need to understand the dynamics behind it. All you simply need to eat is real food.
Weight loss goes hand in hand with eating real foods.
The Secret to Anti-Aging and Reverse Aging Is…
Fruits! This rich source of high fiber and antioxidants is the secret component of anti-aging and weight loss. Fiber is the substance that gives structure to the cell walls of plants in the same way that bones give structure to the bodies of animals. Because of this, high fiber intake is one of the benefits of eating a predominantly plant-based diet.
Earlier researchers, including T. Colin Campbell and Denis Burkitt, concluded in their findings, “The China Study,” that fiber plays a critical role in feeding our good gut bacteria. We may not digest it, but they do! It also performs a cleansing or scrubbing function to your intestines. Fiber makes everything work better and move better as well. It improves digestion, stabilizes blood sugar levels, detoxifies, keeps our pH low, and helps with the excretion of unwanted substances from the body.
Don’t Fear the Fruit!
Our bodies are made up of 70% water. Fruits and veggies are 80-90% water. Eat a variety of bold and bright fruits. The more colorful the fruit, the more antioxidants and anti-aging benefits. There's been a misguided fear over the years that eating fruit will cause diabetes and weight gain. When it comes to whole fruits with plenty of fiber, water, and other nutrients, fructose has a different effect on the body than it does in its isolated, highly processed forms such as high-fructose corn syrup, sodas, candy, and cookies. So don't fear the fruit.
When it comes to whole fruits, fructose has a different effect on the body than it does in its isolated highly processed forms.
As a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist and wellness coach, I highly recommend that you eat at least one serving of berries regularly. Berries are high in antioxidants and great for your brain and heart. Some recommended berries are blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, cranberries, and currants. Also, include a variety of other fruits such as mangos, papayas, citrus, melons, and so on.
Shed Fat by Eating More Vegetables
Leafy Greens are packed with fiber, protein, and antioxidants, as well as a list of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. When you eat whole fruits and veggies, you fill yourself up with low-calorie, fiber-rich, nutrient-rich foods that will leave you less hungry for processed foods or animal foods.
Eat the rainbow. Colorful vegetables tend to contain the most antioxidants.
Eat the rainbow. Colorful vegetables tend to contain the most antioxidants, and where antioxidants go, health tends to follow. Eat a rainbow of spinach, zucchini, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, green beans, onions, eggplants, celery, asparagus, and so on. Eat the rainbow, but don’t neglect the less colorful ones. For example, mushrooms, garlic, and onions are packed with beneficial nutrients. All are potent immune-supporting and anticancer foods. Dr. Joel Fuhrman advises cooking mushrooms to avoid potential toxins in raw form.
The Cruciferous family of vegetables, also known as brassica vegetables, includes broccoli, radishes, cabbage, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, artichokes, arugula, and kale. Not only are these diverse foods all related, but they also share extraordinary health benefits, particularly for preventing cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables are the most micronutrient dense of all vegetables.
Dr. Fuhrman points out that cruciferous vegetables are the most micronutrient dense of all vegetables, and calls them “the most powerful anti-cancer foods in existence due to a substance known as glucosinolates.” Glucosinolates are responsible for the pungent aroma and bitter flavor of many cruciferous vegetables. When these glucosinolates are broken down, either during food preparation or through chewing and digestion, they form compounds called isothiocyanates and indoles that have been shown in numerous studies to inhibit the development of cancer.
Here’s Why Whole Grains, Starchy Vegetables, Beans, Nuts and Seeds Are So Health-Promoting
Whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds provide fiber, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and numerous phytochemicals, including carbohydrates that give us the energy we need. They have been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, and mortality from all causes. Eating whole grains also improves bowel health by helping to maintain regular bowel movements and promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
They have been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, and mortality from all causes.
Carbohydrates are the best energy source humans have available, and through evolution, our bodies have adapted to metabolize them efficiently. However, not all carbs are created equal. Choose whole carbohydrates, like whole grains and starchy vegetables, instead of highly processed, refined carbohydrates, like white bread or sugary cereals. Carbs in the form of whole grains and starchy vegetables help you lose weight, by leaving you feeling fuller and satisfied, thereby preventing snacking and overeating. Sweet and earthy yams, winter squashes, corn, potato, steel-cut oatmeal, and a variety of satisfying whole grains can be included on the whole foods menu. Grain like seeds — such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, and teff — are nutritionally similar to grains.
Nuts and Seeds
Given that nuts and seeds contain the energy to create an entire plant or tree, you can now understand how essential these foods are for longevity and for reducing risk of heart disease and diabetes. For weight loss, eating a handful of nuts and seeds daily leaves you feeling fuller while providing you with a good, rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Don't forget to sprinkle, mix, or blend some nuts and seeds into your favorite food dishes.
Did You Know That There Are More Than 13,000 Varieties of Legumes in the World?
The possibilities for eating legumes are endless, and you can select your choice from around the world. The legume family includes a variety of dried or cooked beans such as black, pinto, navy, cannellini, kidney, garbanzo (also known as chickpeas), peas, lentils, soybeans, and so on. Legumes are generally low-fat, high-protein, starchy foods packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidant compounds, and dietary fiber.
These highly satiating foods are a great replacement for some of the meat you’re accustomed to eating. They offer many of the same beneficial nutrients without the cholesterol and saturated fat and with the added fiber and other micronutrients found only in plant foods. Almost all varieties of legumes provide iron, zinc, B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium, among many other nutrients. Most legumes also contain significant amounts of fiber and resistant starch, which help to regulate bowels, remove toxins, and keep blood sugar levels in check. Beans lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
Almost all varieties of legumes provide iron, zinc, B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium, among many other nutrients.
Peanuts are classified as a legume, but nutritionally, they behave more like a nut, so we group them with nuts and seeds and recommend consuming them in moderation.
There's no miracle weight-loss pill. You can naturally sculpt your body when you transition to plant-based food. If you want optimal health and longevity, you must eat a diet of predominantly unrefined foods that are nutrient and fiber-rich. There’s a wealth of evidence that those who eat more fruits, berries, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds live longer and healthier lives. A plant-based diet is the secret to avoiding chronic disease at higher rates. It’s never too late to start implementing these life-saving foods into your daily habits.