The Benefits of Eating a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet

Image of Vegetable Stir Fry
Many of the leading causes of death can be cured or prevented by switching from a traditional American animal-based/processed food diet to a whole foods plant-based diet. Diseases such as heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, Parkinson's and high blood pressure are the result of a high fat, high calorie, high sodium diet in addition to a sedentary lifestyle.
A whole foods plant-based diet can improve your health by lowering your cholesterol. Cholesterol is only found in foods of animal origin; those same foods also contain saturated fat and are higher in calories. Saturated fat and cholesterol can increase your unhealthy or "bad" cholesterol called LDL. Saturated fat can lead to plaque formation in your arteries and coronary artery disease. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain no cholesterol, are low in saturated fat and lower in calories. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains also contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals which protect your arteries. Foods that are high in fiber also help make you feel full with fewer calories, which means that you can eat more food while consuming fewer calories aiding in weight loss.
Foods that are included in a whole foods plant-based diet are whole grains such as steel cut oats, whole grain pasta, quinoa, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, nut and seed butters, lentils, beans, tofu and all kinds of spices and seasonings (try to avoid salt).
Easy Weeknight Vegetable Stir Fry
3 cups of non-starchy vegetables such as (broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, squash)
1 cup any kind of starchy vegetable (corn, peas, edamame)
1 T almond, peanut butter or tahini
1-2 T soy sauce
1 tsp miso paste
1 tsp any kind of rice or apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp jalapeno pepper
2-3 tsp fresh ginger
3 cups of cooked whole grain brown, red or black rice
Brown, black or white beans
Make a sauce with the nut butter or tahini, soy sauce, miso paste add ¼ cup water mix and set aside.
Heat ¼ cup low salt or no added salt vegetable broth in a pan and add onion and garlic to taste.
Stir while cooking until softened.  Add non starchy vegetables and cook 5-8 minutes. Add starchy vegetable, beans, rice and sauce. Cook until heated through.
If you'd like to learn how to can incorporate a plant-based diet into your life, or if you simply want to improve your eating habits, contact Chester County Hospital's nutrition services for more information by calling 610-738-2835.

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Chester County Hospital's Health e-Living Blog offers a regular serving of useful health and lifestyle information for the residents of Chester County, PA and the surrounding region.

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