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What is a plant-based diet?

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Quick Answer

A plant-based diet is one in which one consumes mainly fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and tubers, with little to no consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs, nor highly refined foods such as bleached flour, refined sugar and oil. This diet aims to only consume healthy ingredients.

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Full Answer

A plant-based, whole food diet does not only consist of consuming plants, but rather relies on starches, legumes and whole grains as the main source of calorie intake and energy. This diet also centers on the notion of forgoing a single-nutrient mentality towards food items -- for example, eating bananas as a source of potassium -- and instead adopting a more holistic outlook that encourages variety in meal choices.

There are different labels that fall under the "plant-based" diet, including but not limited to vegans, vegetarians and lacto-vegetarians, which differ in the inclusion or exclusion of meat, eggs and dairy products in their diet. Generally, embracing a plant-based, whole food diet comes with plenty of health benefits such as improved circulation, reduced blood pressure and overall improved heart health due to the omission of meat consumption. It is also better for the environment in regards to costs and ecosystem damage to cut back on meat intake and rely more on naturally found ingredients for nutritional value.

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