Choosing the best foods to sustain your good health throughout your life can seem overwhelming as there are so many choices today and so many factors to consider, such as your taste, culture, region you live in and food nutritional value.
The latter comes as a priority, especially if you're opting for a plant-based diet. This means that around 65-75% of your food will come from plants such as veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains. The major benefits of this type of eating are that you'll be taking in large amounts of phytochemicals, fibres, minerals and vitamins that might be difficult to get in sufficient amounts if you eat the typical Western diet comprising of 50% animal protein at meals.
Plant-based eating is very diverse and the following foods are only several most nutritious types you should include in your daily meals.
Contrary to popular belief, quinoa isn’t a whole grain but a starchy seed. It’s gluten-free and a great source of complex carbs, fibre, iron, magnesium and protein. It’s an ideal addition to your burger recipes as it will add a more filling texture and it can also replace the meat in your burritos and tacos.
Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods on our planet abounding in phytonutrients that help fight inflammation, viral infections, depression, cancer, reduces blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, help you feel fuller thus aiding in weight loss.
There's a large variety of lentils – yellow, green, red, brown, black, but regardless to its type, lentils are a small but powerful package containing a great amount of protein, folate, iron and fibre. Brown lentil, for instance, retains its texture after cooking which makes it a perfect base for a grain bowl or as a meat substitute in lasagnas, meatballs, spaghetti Bolognese or tacos. Red lentils, on the other hand, are a bit softer so they're an excellent choice for stews, chilli bowls and soups.
Chickpeas offer a thick, nutty taste and a rich texture, and pair very well with several other foods to create delicious meals. Being a rich source of vitamins, calcium, fibre, carbs and protein, they offer great many health benefits, such as improving digestion, controlling your appetite and calorie intake, supplying almost all of the essential amino acids and supporting your blood sugar level control.
Chickpeas can be consumed in several ways, most popular being hummus that can be a great addition to many meals or simply used as a nutritious, protein-packed spread on your toast.
Hemp is a plant that grows in the northern hemisphere and only takes about 3-4 months to mature. Its seeds are used to produce a large variety of food products that include hemp milk, hemp oil, cheese substitutes and hemp-based protein powder.
Hemp seeds are a nutty, tender seed that contains a large amount of folate, iron, omega-3 fats, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. They're a good source of insoluble and soluble fibre and adding high-quality hemp seed oil to your nutrition can bring great benefits to your health, such as better digestion and improved hormone balance, but it can also help in weight loss and pain relief, boosting immunity and improving heart health. Being rich in protein and healthy fats, hemp seeds help suppress hunger so they make a great addition to smoothies, oatmeal, salads and yoghurt, especially for your lunch at work.
By making a good choice of vegetable to add to your daily meals, you’ll make sure you reap all the benefits they have to offer. The choice is huge, but some veggies just have the upper hand over others. For instance, broccoli has more protein per calorie than steak and it’s also very rich in fibre and vitamin C. 300 grams of spinach will provide you with 10 grams of protein and tons of fibre, vitamins A and C that can help in minimizing fat storage and lowering estrogenic levels.
Artichokes from the sunflower family will provide lots of fibre and Brussel sprouts will give you more vitamin C than an orange. And a beetroot, which can be eaten in its entirety, contains loads of iron, potassium, calcium and vitamin A.
For many people around the globe, a plant-based diet makes the most sense health-wise. Opting for this type of nutrition doesn't necessarily mean plants such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes are the only thing you eat. These form the base of your eating, but if you choose to include dairy, fish and meat, assign them a supporting role. Focus on balanced and diverse food choices that offer the highest nutritional benefits for your body.