Health Benefits of Plant Based Foods and Superfoods
Almonds – They are a great source of protein as well as dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
Apples – They contain nutrients that are shown to help prevent bone loss, Alzheimer’s, and cancers of the lungs, breasts, colon, and liver. The pectin in apples helps to lower cholesterol (LDL “bad cholesterol”) and manage the body’s need for insulin for those with diabetes.
Asparagus – They offer a great source of dietary fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. It is also anti inflammatory, loaded with antioxidants, detoxifying, and touted with anti aging properties.
Avocado – They are good for vitamin E, folate, lutein, oleic acid, and are a great plant-based and unprocessed fat to use in dressings, smoothies, and sauces.
Bananas – They are a terrific source of potassium which helps us to absorb calcium, protect our cardiovascular system, and maintain normal blood pressure. They are also high in vitamin B6 and dietary fiber.
Basil – Flavorful and good for you. It acts as a digestive aid, a protector from free radicals, and the oils derived from it are anti-inflammatory.
Beans – High in dietary fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, protein, iron, and potassium. Making beans a standard part of your diet will help to fight colorectal cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Beets – Beets are members of the same family of greens as Swiss chard and spinach. With beets, both the roots and the greens are eaten and enjoyed. The beet greens are higher in nutritional value that the roots, as they are richer in calcium, iron, and vitamins A,, C, and B6. The beetroots and greens are an excellent source of folate as well being a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Beets are used medicinally to aid in the detoxification of the liver, and are gaining recognition for their anticancer properties.
Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and other Cruciferous Vegetables – The deep magenta color of a cabbage is an idicator of the fact that it is loaded with antioxidants. It is a powerful source of vitamin C as well as vitamins A and K. These antioxidant rich vitamins along with the phytochemical content of anticancer compounds known as glucosinolates play a key role in the powers of the cabbage as well as other cruciferous family members including cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Eating cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis is recommended by the American Cancer Society to help reduce the risk of cancer. Studies have shown that the higher the intake of these vegetables, the lower the rates of colon, prostate, lung, and breast cancer. Cabbage has also shown to be effective in treating peptic ulcers as it is high in the amino acid glutamine which helps in the growth and regeneration of cells in the gastrointestinal tract.
Chia seeds – They add a great punch of nutrition to dishes and are practically flavorless. They are probably the best plant-based source of essential fatty acids as well as being high in antioxidants, protein, and dietary fiber that not only is nutritionally beneficial but will fill you up. Chia expand and become gelatinous when mixed with liquids and during digestion.
Cilantro – Helpful to the digestive system as it has oils that stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, as well for helping to relieve feelings of nausea. It is effectively used as a natural cleansing agent to help remove heavy metals from the body. Cilantro has chemical compounds that bind to heavy metals in tissues and organs, and these compounds help to transport them out through elimination. Additionally, cilantro has both anti inflammatory and anti bacterial benefits.
Farro Perlato – With more than twice the amount of protein derived from wheat, farro is an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, trace minerals, B vitamins, and has cyanogenic glucosides which are believed to lower cholesterol and maintain blood sugar. This grain does contain gluten.
Ginger – It is a powerful anti-inflammatory. For people such as myself who suffer from chronic joint pain (osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis), regular consumption of ginger has been proven to help reduce and alleviate the pain and swelling. If you are not fond of the heat brought on by fresh ginger or using it in a recipe for spice sensitive children, feel free to use the ground spice instead. Consuming fresh ginger is also very effective for relief of nausea, intestinal gas, and tummy aches in general.
Kale – It is packed with vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, folate, B6, and fiber.
Lemon – Lemon juice is an excellent digestive aid and liver cleanser. It has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers as well being able to help promote immunity and fight infection. Lemons also provide a great source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and pectin.
Mint – It has been used for centuries to relieve spasms of the gastrointestinal tract and gas. Peppermint contains a compound know as perillyl alcohol that has been shown to inhibit the growth or formation of cancer. The extracts have been shown to relieve symptoms of hay fever as mint contains rosmarinic acid which is a powerful antioxidant that blocks the production of allergy producing leukotrienes.
Nutritional Yeast – Not to be mistake with Brewer’s Yeast, is a complete protein and loaded with B-complex vitamins (some brands fortified with vitamin B-12).
Oranges – They are high in phytonutrients including vitamin C and a flavanone called herperidin which has been shown to lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol in animal studies, and have strong anti-inflammatory properties. They are also high in vitamin A, calcium, and dietary fiber.
Parsley – It is often thought of as the most ordinary of the lot, but probably packs in the greatest source of nutrients. It is rich in antioxidants, folate, calcium, iron, and an array of vitamins highlighted by a strong showing of vitamins A, C, K, and B vitamins.
Pomegranate – Pomegranate seeds are full of B vitamins, potassium, and folic acid. They are a great source of iron. Studies have shown that pomegranate’s anti-inflammatory properties may help protect you from cancer, and studies have also found that it helps prevent and might even help fight cardiovascular disease.
Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Butternut Squash – They are potent sources of the antioxidants alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. They are pro vitamin A carotenoids which help the body convert the carotenes into vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to boost immunities, reverse skin damage, and is essential for healthy vision . They are also a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and E, and the minerals potassium and magnesium which help to promote strong bones. The high levels of antioxidants in these orange fleshed vegetables have shown to help reduce blood cholesterol, fight cancer, and reduce menopausal symptoms.
Radish – These liver loving roots eaten raw are extremely high in vitamin C, are a good source of calcium, and aid in digestion.
Spaghetti Squash – A source for vitamins C, A, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid, and manganese
Spinach – Loaded with vitamins A and K, manganese, folate, magnesium, dietary fiber, calcium, protein, and flavonoids
Strawberries – They provide a rich source of vitamins C and K, dietary fiber, and flavonoids. They are also a good source of vitamin B1, manganese, iodine, and folic acid. Their unique and powerful flavonoid content makes them a valuable protector against inflammation, cancer, and heart disease.
Tomatoes – They are a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate, manganese, and potassium. They are high is fiber, beta-carotene, and the antioxidant lycopene making them a powerhouse to enjoy. Combined with extra virgin olive oil (or another healthy oil), lycopene is a known fighter against pancreatic, prostate, breast, and colon cancers.
Walnuts – They are a rich source of omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is beneficial to heart health, and ellagic acid which is not only an antioxidant but has been said to help fight cancer cells.
The great superfoods. They are medicinal, anti-inflammatory, and full of nutrients with real healing properties.
Vegetables and Fruits
Alliums (onions, scallions, garlic), Avocados, Beets, Blueberries, Cruciferous Vegetables (Brocoli, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts), Carrots, Figs, Kale, Lemons, Mushrooms, Oranges, Sea Vegetables (Hijiki, Wakame, Kelp, Nori), Strawberries, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes
Nuts and Grains
Almonds, Buckwheat, Cashews, Chickpeas, Edamame, Lentils, Millet, Miso, Oats, Quinoa, Rice, Sesame Seeds, Spelt, Walnuts
Herbs and Spices
Basil, Cardamon, Cayenne & Chili Flakes, Cilantro & Coriander, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cumin, Ginger, Green Tea, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Turmeric
Dark Chocolate (70% or higher), Olive Oil, , Red Wine, Yogurt (with live active cultures)
In the News and Growing in Popularity
Acai, Aloe, Bee Pollan, Blue Green Algae, Cacao, Camu Camu, Chia Seeds, Coconut, Goji Berries, Hemp Seeds, Honey, Maca, Noni, Propolis, Spirulina