You probably know by now that switching to a whole food plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle is better for your health. What you may not know is just how much better.
Based on research from leading experts like Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. C.B. Esselstyn, and even the American Heart Association, we’ve put together a list of the top 9 health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Plus, we’ve included success stories from real people who have made the leap and reaped the benefits!
Is Plant-based Diet Good For You?
Here are the health benefits of plant-based diet based on science. With each health benefit, we’ve cited scientific studies on plant based diet.
Plant-based diets are consistently associated with a lower risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Studies have found that those on plant-based diets tend to have lower blood cholesterol levels than meat-eaters, as well as a reduced risk for high blood pressure and stroke. Research has even suggested that plant-based diets can reverse or prevent heart disease.
9 Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
1. Improved cardiovascular health
Studies show that eating a plant-based diet is linked to lower cholesterol levels, improved blood pressure, and a reduced risk of heart disease. By simply cutting back on meat (or better yet, completely cutting it out) and consuming more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, you can greatly reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.
Tony lived most of his life practicing an active lifestyle and abiding by the advice that eating “all things in moderation” would ensure a healthy, happy life. That seemed to work until one day he rushed to the hospital to find he was at serious risk of a major cardiac event. After making the switch WFPB eating, he began to see improvements in his health almost immediately! Read more about his story here.
2. Weight loss and maintenance
Losing weight sounds like a simple formula: move more and eat fewer calories than you burn, right? Yet, scores of people struggle every day with losing weight, and even more fight to keep it off.
So, what makes a WFPB lifestyle different from all the “diets” out there? Why does it actually work?
First, plant-based diets are generally lower in calories and higher in fiber than diets including meats and processed foods. But more important than just the number of calories we consume is the caloric density of those foods. Eating WFPB lets you eat more food because the food you’re eating contains fewer calories, like fruits and vegetables. You’re able to feel full from healthy, low-calorie food, and the result is lifechanging for people like Shauné. She ended a decades-long cycle of fad dieting by adopting a WFPB lifestyle.
3. Diabetes prevention and management
Participating in a plant-based lifestyle can also help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It does this by stabilizing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity. Many professionals are advising WFPB eating in order to treat T2 diabetes, and some patients even report that they’ve reversed the disease through plant-based eating! Read how Lauri did exactly that in her story at Forks Over Knives!
While there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, there are also a number of benefits of a WFPB lifestyle for those living with the disease.
4. Enhanced digestion and gut health
Unlike animal proteins which can actually damage our gut health, WFPB foods are great for our digestive systems! The high fiber content of plant-based diets promotes regular bowel movements and supports a healthy gut microbiome, reducing the risk of digestive issues such as constipation and diverticulitis.
Switching to a plant-based lifestyle was the key to Melissa kicking her gut issues for good! Now she’s thriving and educating her patients about the benefits of WFPB living.
5. Reduced inflammation
Inflammation is a normal, healthy bodily response meant to clear infections, repair tissues, and heal post injury. However, it shouldn’t be keeping you from living your best life on a regular basis. For many people, inflammation becomes a chronic, painful condition.
Plant-based diets are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
Studies have also shown that while plant-based diets are low in inflammatory triggers, animal products contain high amounts of fat, a likely cause of inflammation. After switching to a WFPB way of living, Brittany was able to go from bedridden to climbing rocks and running 4K’s, and she has never felt better!
6. Cancer prevention
There have been many studies done, including from the American Cancer Society, linking diets heavy in animal products and processed foods to an increased risk of cancer. In contrast, diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have been associated with a reduced risk of various types of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate.
But, that’s not all. Not only has WFPB eating been linked to a reduced risk of getting cancer, but there’s also some evidence that this lifestyle can also slow the progression of the disease.
Many patients, like Mallory’s mother, have credited their plant-based lifestyle as a major factor in their recovery.
7. Improved brain health
Exciting research shows that plant-based diets can help protect against cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's. Thanks to the high content of antioxidants and essential nutrients and low amount of saturated fat, living a WFPB lifestyle can help protect you against dementia and other neurological threats in the future.
As if that wasn’t reason enough to consider adopting a plant-based diet, it can also help with more present mental health concerns. Karen struggled for years with depression. She now feels better and happier than ever thanks, in part, to eating whole food plant-based.
8. Increased energy levels
It’s not a big leap to say that eating heavy, processed foods can make you feel sluggish. And having low energy makes it difficult for us to make other healthy choices, like exercise. It’s easy to get stuck in an unhealthy loop when you’re not fueling your body with the healthiest options.
Consuming nutrient-dense, plant-based foods can lead to increased energy levels and reduced fatigue. They provide the body with essential vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients.
Take it from Aurelija, who noticed an almost instant change in her energy levels when she switched to a plant-based lifestyle.
9. Enhanced skin health
We all want to look our best, right? Luckily, the high intake of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in a plant-based diet can contribute to improved skin health, promoting a clear, radiant complexion. Feeling confident in our appearance is certainly a big factor to good mental health.
But poor skin health doesn’t just include acne. Many people struggle with chronic, sometimes painful skin conditions that medication can only lessen the symptoms of. Check out a WFPB lifestyle helped Emery say goodbye to painful eczema outbreaks.
How to easily improve your health with a plant-based diet?
At Whole Harvest, we offer a wide variety of whole food plant-based recipes and meals designed to help you enjoy all of these incredible health benefits!
Our chef-prepared, ready-to-eat meals are delivered right to your door. All of our meals are shipped fresh (never frozen) ensuring you receive the highest quality and healthiest food possible.
Whole Harvest is and industry leader in innovation and creativity in oil-free, whole food plant-based cooking. Featuring a mix of reimagined comfort foods and international flavors, we provide our members with incredible variety and vibrant flavors throughout the week. We’re passionate about making it easier for people around the nation to enjoy the myriad health benefits of WFPB living.
Whole Harvest is based out of North Kansas City, Missouri and Denver, Colorado, and we ship to almost everywhere in the U.S. for your convenience.