Why Consume More Plants?

  

Weight control
Weight gain is generally correlated with high daily calorie intake, and eating a small amount of nutrient-dense foods full of dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain foods typically provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories, compared to other types of foods. Putting more of these kinds of plants on the plate makes it easier to manage appetite and maintain body weight.

High dietary fiber
Only plant foods contain fiber. Dietary fiber is a complex form of carbohydrate. Several decades of studies have confirmed the health benefits of eating a fiber-rich diet. Specifically, diets rich in foods containing fiber — such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and improve regularity. A healthy elimination system allows bodies to get rid of toxins. Beans and legumes contain more dietary fiber than almost any other food, so they are an integral and versatile part of a balanced diet. The dietary fiber in legumes is both soluble — which is especially useful in helping control cholesterol levels to lower heart disease risk — and insoluble — which improves regularity. Beans are also filling, so they help promote weight management by satisfying hunger.

Chronic disease management
Consuming a diet featuring more plants is good for your health —today and tomorrow. Complex carbohydrates are easy to digest, and the antioxidants in plants help strengthen your body’s immune system. Dramatic results have occurred with the adoption of a more plant-based diet. Many people with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and various autoimmune diseases have been able to alleviate their symptoms by eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and consuming fewer solid and added fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

In a recent study, scientists finds that plant-based diets, without counting calories, leads to greater weight loss. The only way to succeed in a plant-based diet is to cut certain foods out of your diet.  Sounds easy right?  Well, everything in moderation, I like to say. Giving up cold turkey may be harder for some people.  

Resource: Nutrition StudiesPlant-Based Diet & Obesity Study 

U.S. Citizens Should Switch to Brazil’s Dietary Guidelines

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Brazil’s nutritional guidelines focuses on cooking healthy whole food meals at home. It also encourages their citizens to eat more natural and minimally processed foods. I love Brazil! They also urge their citizens to be critical of the misleading marketing practices of Big Food industries. On the other hand, the United States allow Big Food industries to dictate what the American citizen should be eating.  It’s also shocking to learn precisely how food companies lobby officials, co-opt experts, and expand sales by marketing to children, members of minority groups, and people in developing countries.  All the misleading scientific research on genetically modified foods, commercials, food pyramids, and those “Got Milk” ads by famous celebrities are all a BIG joke; which ultimately sends the wrong message.

I say we all should switch to the Brazilian food guideline and get healthy. Could you imagine the U. S. promoting eating home cooked whole foods at home? Unfortunately, I can’t!  Nonetheless, It has been proven that eating meals as a family is linked with increased child and adolescent intake of fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods.  Teaching children at a young impressionable age the importance of eating whole foods is vital for their future and generations to follow.

It starts at home.  Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.  As parents we are responsible for teaching our children about healthy whole foods.  A major part of the fast food education has always been in written form on advertisements, banners, brochures, and articles.  Cutting back on television watching also will have a huge effect on their exposure. These misleading outlets have a major influence on children’s diet.  Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal is a book that examines the local and global influence of the United States fast food industry.  I highly recommend reading it and the official nutritional guideline by the Brazilian government.  I say, AWESOME JOB Brazil!

Suggested Readings/Credits

Brazil has the best nutritional guidelines in the world

Brazil Nutritional Guidelines

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

Photo by: Yasuyoshi Chiba