Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What exactly are the health benefits of whole foods, plant based diet?

I know you hear it all the time (or perhaps have heard it at some point) that there are so many health benefits from eating a whole food, plant based diet.  But what exactly are they?  It makes sense to add more produce to your diet, but how are all those fruits and veggies really going to take us to a  healthier place? 

I know that it's important to do everything you can to stay away from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, yadda, yadda, yadda, so let's put it into perspective.  I know that a lot of you readers are very possibly in my same boat.  I will be turning 30 in 2012, I stay pretty active (always have), for the most part I've always been (pretty) mindful of what I eat.  I don't have cancer, I don't have diabetes (nor am I on the road to get it), I don't have heart disease (although it is in my family history), so right now, how can this really benefit me? 

Diet has a profound effect on health. A properly balanced diet based on whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods is a healthy one and those who eat a healthier diet are—yes—healthier.

Healthier people are closer to their ideal body weight (I've now entered this range), boast more energy (yes, I've experienced this), suffer less joint inflammation (I used to have carpal tunnel so badly that I would sleep with braces on both wrists every night and wake up during the middle of the night due to pain), have stronger bones, recover more quickly from exercise and, quite simply, get more out of life.

Having experienced first-hand the power of consuming a whole, plant-based diet and I can tell you that even a small change—like adding some clean, quality superfoods to your daily diet—can help you achieve real benefits.

Add more plant-based whole foods and you will:
  • Decrease body fat (Awesome, right?!)
  • Diminish visible signs of aging
  • Boost energy without caffeine or sugar
  • Cultivate mental clarity (still working on this one, kids keep clouding it over!)  :)
  • Enhance mood (yes!)
  • Eliminate junk-food cravings (Didn't think this was possible, I have a real sugar tooth, but it's possible!  I've lost all cravings for junk food.  Doesn't even appeal to me anymore.)
  • Improve sleep quality (Yes!  When my kids let me get a full nights sleep.)
  • Build a stronger immune system (Can't remember the last time I was sick...knock on wood.)
  • Lower cholesterol (Yes! I wish I had done a before and after on this, but my brother did it, and after a month of being on a whole food, plant based diet, he cut his almost in half.  After just ONE MONTH!!)
  • Reduce biological age
  • Better skin and hair (Yes, my skin is so much better today then it was a year ago!)
Even if you’re not vegetarian or vegan—and never intend to be—you can realize better health simply by incorporating more plant-based whole foods into you routine.  And that just makes sense, doesn't it?! 

Tomorrow I'll discuss more of the health benefits of exercise!  (Don't we already know this?  Yes, well, I think it's always good to take a refresher course.)