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  • Writer's pictureYimin Xu

Whole-food plant-based: why should we adopt this high fibre diet?

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

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What is a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet?

A whole-food plant-based diet consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. The focus of WFPB is to embrace plant-based whole foods and avoid refined or highly processed foods. A whole-food plant-based is high in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, but low in saturated fat and has zero cholesterol.


Whole-food plant-based diet benefits

The Blue Zones are areas in the world with the longest-living populations, such as Icaria in Greece, Ogliastra in Southern Italy, and Okinawa in Japan. We observe that diet and lifestyle factors, as opposed to genetics, play the most important role in longevity. What the Blue Zones have in common, is that they all eat a primarily whole-food plant-based diet and very few animal-based foods. Their diet mostly consists of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.


Through evidence-based research, decades of studies have shown that the whole-food plant-based diet is the healthiest way of eating. A whole-food plant-based diet can prevent a number of diseases that we as a population have developed as a result of the Western diet that is high in saturated fats, cholesterol, sugar, and animal-based protein.


A whole-food plant-based diet is healthy not only for us but also for our planet. We could have a real impact on saving the future of our planet and reducing animal cruelty by just changing the way we eat. In fact, our Plantwise app can show you the contrast in water usage and carbon emissions between a plant-based meal and an omnivore meal.


Whole-food plant-based versus vegan

A whole-food plant-based diet is vegan, as it abstains from all animal-based foods, including eggs and dairy. However, it is important to note that veganism itself does not necessarily mean adopting a whole-food plant-based diet. One could be vegan but consume a lot of highly-processed foods, oily foods that are high in saturated fats, snacks loaded with sugar, and highly refined grains.


A whole-food plant-based diet takes a step further to ensure that we only consume the healthiest plant-based whole foods, that are low in saturated fats, minimally processed, low in added sugar or salt. This high fibre diet can prevent the development of chronic diseases and many cancers. Let's quickly look at some of the key components:


Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are full of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants that protect our health. However, only 28% of adults in the UK meet their recommended five portions of fruits and vegetables a day[1]. As a population, we are significantly behind on our fibre intake. Luckily, with our Plantwise app, you will be able to effortlessly find the best sources of fibre.


Whole grains

Whole grains include wholemeal pasta, brown rice, buckwheat (soba) noodles, wholemeal bread. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates and are rich in fibre, protein, and minerals. They have a kind impact on your blood sugar and digestive system. In contrast, refined grains such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta are higher in simple carbohydrates, with many important nutrients stripped away.


Beans and lentils

Beans, peas, chickpeas, tofu, and lentils are important sources of plant-based protein. The best part? They come without saturated fats or cholesterol which are bundled with high protein animal-based foods. There are many vegan athletes, such as Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams, who have sustained the highest levels of sporting performance on a plant-based diet. It is clear that a plant-based diet can provide enough protein for even the most intensive athletic needs. We can show you exactly how, through our Plantwise app.


But eating plant-based whole foods is too expensive…or is it?

The myth behind the “inaccessibility” and “expensiveness” of a plant-based diet mainly comes from an unfamiliarity with the diet. People often mistake plant-based eating for substituting meat with “fake meats” (not whole foods). In reality, a whole-food plant-based diet is very affordable and cheaper than an omnivore diet. Even better, you could track the food costs through our Plantwise budget tracker, using the latest prices from the UK’s leading supermarkets.


Stay tuned

In future articles, we will explore all the nutrients our body needs, and why a whole-food plant-based diet is an optimal way of eating through evidence-based research. We will also discuss the different plant-based foods and how to pair each other for tastier flavours in the kitchen.


Plantwise is a mobile app that helps you perfect your plant-based diet in just 5 minutes a day, without needing rigid recipes. Through smart food pairings, our recipe-free app helps you make tasty meals that are cheap, nutritious, and great for the planet! You could sign up today on our home page for absolutely free.


Reference: [1] http://healthsurvey.hscic.gov.uk/data-visualisation/data-visualisation/explore-the-trends/fruit-vegetables.aspx

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