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Just as the name suggests, plant-based diets centre on foods that come from plants.

Not all plant-based diets eliminate meat, fish and dairy products, as some people may think. Many include smaller amounts of those foods.1-4

Instead, plant-based diets focus on choosing more plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes – such as beans, lentils and edamame – nuts and seeds. Plant-based diets may also include plant-based oils, such as oils from avocados, sunflower, canola, soybeans, and olives. Products made from plant-based foods, including nut butters, seed butters, hummus, margarines, and tofu, can also be part of a plant-based diet. Beverages made from soy or almonds are also common to plant-based diets.


Plant-based foods are generally lower in saturated fat and rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, (including polyphenols, carotenoids, flavonoids and plant sterols) which are naturally occurring plant chemicals that can be beneficial to health.1,5,6

There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the multiple health benefits of adopting a plant-based diet. A recent review that summarized the current evidence around the association between plant-based diets and cardiovascular disease found that plant-based diets, especially when rich in high quality plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular outcomes and intermediate risk factors.7-9

A plant-based diet should always be balanced in terms of energy and nutrients, and diverse in terms of food sources. Like any healthy way of eating, a plant-based diet requires choosing a variety of healthy foods to truly see the benefits. It should also be accompanied by regular physical activity as part of healthy lifestyle.

Are your clients ready to kick off their plant-based diet? Share this 7-day meal plan with them.


  • A wide variety of vegetables including dark green, red, orange and starchy options
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, ideally whole grains
  • Fortified beverages, such as ones made from soy or almonds
  • Plant-based proteins such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and products from these foods including tofu, hummus and peanut butter
  • Plant-based healthy fats (with higher levels of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids like canola oil, olive oil, soybean oil and products made with these fats)3,4,10


  1. BDA The Association of UK Dietitians. Plant-based diet. 2017. Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
  2. Satija A and Hu FB. Plant-based diets and cardiovascular health. Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine 2018;28:437–41. Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
  3. World Health Organization (WHO). A healthy diet sustainably produced - information sheet. 2018. Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
  4. US Department of Agriculture. Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Eighth edition. Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
  5. Boeing H et al. Critical Review: Vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases. Eur J Nutr 2012; 51:637–63. Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
  6. American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). 2019 Phytochemicals: the cancer fighters in your foods. 2019. Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
  7. Boeing H et al. Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases. Eur J Nutr 2012;51:637–63. Sourced Dec 4, 2019.
  8. Tuso P, et al. A plant-based diet, atherogenesis, and coronary artery disease prevention. 2015. Sourced Dec 4, 2019.
  9. Ferdowsian HR and Barnard ND. Effects of plant-based diets on plasma lipids. Am J Cardiol 2009;104:947-56. Sourced Dec 4, 2019.
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers. Nordic nutrition recommendations. 2012. Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
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