2.58 WFPB – Summary of a Whole Food Plant Based Diet

In this HeartStrong.com video/article we will summarize a whole food plant based diet (WFPB diet). The evidence is clearly showing that a whole foods plant based diet is the heart healthiest dietary pattern. This is not just another money making fad diet. Think of this way of eating as treatment for your heart disease or heart disease risk factors, not just a way of getting nutrition. Food is indeed medicine and the best medicine for heart health is good food, specifically through a WFPB diet.

We really need to be thinking about how to protect our ever so fragile endothelium, the layer of cells that line our arteries. When the endothelium gets damaged, atherosclerosis can develop. While tobacco use can indeed contribute to this damage, the primary cause is what we eat. We need to be sure in order to prevent heart disease that not a single thing that we eat causes any endothelial damage or inflammation. That means completely eliminating dietary cholesterol, most saturated fat and animal protein for all the reasons that we discussed. This results in a dietary pattern of only whole plant foods.

Here is a summary of the key points to know about a whole food plant based diet:

  • A WFPB diet with 10% fat or less can potentially reverse heart disease
  • A WFPB diet prevents/treats/reverses a variety of other chronic diseases such as diabetes type II
  • Eat a variety of whole plant foods including fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, whole grains, nuts/seeds
  • Completely eliminate any animal based foods including meat/seafood/dairy/eggs
  • Eat only food in its whole nature form, unprocessed – this includes eliminating added oil of any type and sugar
  • A WFPB diet can include any of 100,000+ plant species, thus the food is wonderful to eat and never gets boring
  • All macronutrient requirements (protein, fat, carbohydrates) are easily met on a WFPB diet
  • Essentially all micronutrient requirements are easily met on a WFPB diet (see vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega-3s below)
  • Take a vitamin B12 supplement or be sure to eat enough vitamin B12 fortified foods – vitamin B12 comes from bacteria, not animals or plants
  • Be cautious about vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids – consider supplements in certain situations
  • A WFPB diet in a majority of situations treats hypertension, type II diabetes and high cholesterol better than medications
  • Discuss these dietary changes with your healthcare provider and refer them to the HeartStrong.com page for Health Providers

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