The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet.
What exactly is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is not a diet of vegetables alone. It is a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, which may exclude or minimize meat, including chicken, dairy products and eggs. The diet will definitely exclude foods made from refined flour and sugar, and certain refined vegetable oils.
There are several food categories from which to choose, and most of these can be included as ingredients in familiar dishes you may want to prepare, such as pizza, mashed potatoes, and burrito bases.
Here are some of the foods you can add to a plant-based diet.
•Fruit: mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, plums, lemons etc. •Vegetables: lettuce, dark green veggie varieties, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, cabbage etc.
•Starchy vegetables: potatoes, yams, yucca, squash, peas, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans.
Bear in mind that iodized salt should be added to your food as it is a great source of iodine to help maintain a healthy thyroid.
The basis of a plant-based diet. Starch-based foods and fruit form the basis of a whole-food plant-based diet. While leafy greens play an important part in the diet, they are low in calories and do not provide much of an energy source, so they may result in decreased energy levels, and leave you feeling hungry. However, combined with starch-based foods like corn, peas, potatoes etc, provide fantastic all-round nourishment, and keep the energy pumping.
The idea of a plant-based diet is not to eat one food for a single nutrient, such as oranges for vitamin C, as an example. The main plan of a plant-based diet is eat what is known as a package of the foods that you enjoy, which contain all the essential nutrients. This package can provide you with most of your daily nutrient needs, and be of enormous benefit to your general health.
Health benefits of a plant based diet.
•A plant-based diet automatically lowers blood pressure because of the potassium- rich legumes and nuts. •Plants contain no cholesterol, and this includes the super-food coconut oil.
•The fiber in plants helps to fight high blood sugar, by slowing down the absorption of sugars into the blood stream.
•A low fat, plant-based diet seriously lowers your risk of falling prey to cancer.
•Weight loss happens naturally when you eat wholesome, unrefined foods, lots of fiber, take in natural vitamins and minerals, rather than animal fats and sugary, floury foods.
•Research has shown that replacing saturated animal fats with the mono-unsaturated fats found in nuts, avocados and olive oil, substantially lowers your risk of cardiovascular and heart disease.
•You will also experience less inflammation in the body which is caused by sugary and fatty foods that can lead to other problems like constipation. The fiber in a plant based diet will keep your colon healthy.
Plant-based foods contain nutrients which are in proportion according to our human needs, and a variety of whole foods will easily meet your nutritional needs.
The best way to start a plant-based diet.
Changing to an almost vegan-type will not be easy, especially if you have not been a healthy eater. Whether you want to fully embrace a plant-based diet, or perhaps keep chicken or fish as part of your diet is a decision that only you can make. But there is no doubt that reducing your meat intake, and following a plant diet is one of the best things you can do for your health.
If you are finding it difficult to immediately flip over to a new diet, here are some tips to help you on the way. •Begin with including legumes in your regular diet, as they are generally feel-good foods, and will make you feel full, and give you energy.
•You can also substitute one or two refined items with a plant-based food in a meal each day.
•Gradually exclude red meat from your diet.
•If you decide to retain chicken and fish in your diet, make sure that the chicken is organic and free range, if possible, and opt for healthy fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna or mackerel, for the omega 3 content.
•A good idea is to replace one or two days of your week’s meals with a full vegetarian, plant-based meal. Do this on a regular basis, until you no longer want to return to your previous way of eating.
Some meals you can try to prepare.
•Sweet potato lasagna.
•French fries baked with olive oil and herbs
•Lima bean soup.
•Tuscan white bean burgers.
•Black bean and rice burritos.
These meals are popular choices, and most of the recipes can be found on the internet.
Backed by science.
The health benefits of a plant-based diet are supported by scientific research. Fatalities from heart problems is rated as the biggest single cause of death today, mainly due to poor lifestyle habits, and grossly unhealthy diets. Don’t be another victim, embrace a healthy diet and help lower your risk of a future heart attack, and cardiovascular disease.
Moringa - The new superfood
Heard of Moringa before? You might want to go and get some after reading this….
Moringa (moringa oleifera) is also known as the Ben Oil Tree, Drumstick Tree, or Indian Horseradish. Moringa is a fast growing tree typically cultivated in India, tropical Asia, Africa and Latin America, yielding long seed pods that resemble drumsticks, hence the name Drumstick Tree.
Moringa has long been used in eastern medicine to treat many ailments such as low energy, adrenal fatigue and helps to naturally detox the liver just to name a few. As a dietary supplement, Moringa is high in protein, Vitamins A, B and C and contains minerals such as calcium and iron.
It is also rich in flavonoid, a class of compounds found in plants that contribute to essential plant functions. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Moringa products have antibiotic, antitrypanosomal, hypotensive, antispasmodic, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, hypo-cholesterolemic, and hypoglycemic properties”. In essence, this makes Moringa a new superfood that is nutritious and medicinal.
Moringa is particularly mentioned in Ayurvedic treatments as the most nutritious tree in India. In traditional Indian Ayurvedic treatments, moringa is used as a natural and safe detox, often used as a regular tonic of the body. Apart from wellness from within, moringa leaves and barks can be processed into a balm for external application, alleviating joint pains and rheumatism as the plant has a mild analgesic effect. It’s no wonder the Moringa plant is now being hailed as the latest superfood.
In the western world, Moringa products come in various forms, with the most convenient and widely-available form being Moringa powder ground from dried leaves and taken as a supplement in pill form.
Here are just some of the wonderful health benefits:
1.It's nutrient-packed - vitamins A, C, and E; calcium; potassium; and protein.
2.It fights free radicals - molecules that cause oxidative stress and cell damage
3.It fights inflammation – helping to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and obesity
4.Reduces diabetes symptoms – reducing lipid and glucose levels
5.Protects cardiovascular system – prevents plaque formation and reduces cholesterol levels
6.Protects the liver – with high concentrations of polyphenols
7.Has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties – to fight infections
Here is your guide to taking Moringa in all it’s forms so you can start benefiting from this wondrous superfood.
Due to different manufacturing styles and ways to process the plant, the dosage can be varied. Always check the label for recommended dosage given they have different concentration of active ingredients. Usually it’s one pill per day.
For Moringa leaf powder, it is typically sold in packets or jars. For the most effective health benefits, it’s best taken raw, as heat may destroy some of the useful and healthful compounds. The general instructions for various brands seem to suggest starting off slow and adding more powder day by day in order for the body to get used to the detoxifying qualities of Moringa. Start off with a quarter teaspoon added to your smoothies, iced tea, water or sprinkled on your breakfast such as yoghurt or overnight chia pudding and slowly build up to 1 tablespoons a day.
Seeds and Leaves
You might come across roasted whole Moringa seeds or even whole leaves. These are usually hard to come by so if you want to use these, it’s best to check your local health food store, Asian markets or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. The seeds are typically bitter and astringent though; how much you use will depend on personal taste. To use Moringa seeds, remove the shell and chew five to ten seeds a day if possible, or grind them into powder and sprinkle on your food.
When it comes to cooking Moringa leaves and seeds, the spices used in Indian cooking, such as cumin and turmeric, complement the anti-inflammatory effect of Moringa. If eaten raw, start off with a quarter cup of leaves per day, and build up to half cup a day.
No matter how you choose to have your Moringa for its therapeutic effect, the key is moderation and consuming it in line with you and your body. For some that means being able to handle more at first, for you it might be to only take a quarter of the recommended dosage.
Being a superfood, it’s important to remember that Moringa is ultimately not medication but a nutrient-rich food that supports a healthy diet and lifestyle. It’s not meant to be a superfood that gives you everything you need or a cure for all your ailments.
If you are pregnant, never consume Moringa tree bark or root as it could cause early labor or uterine contractions. If you are menstruating, it can cause excessive bleeding due to the detoxifying nature.
As always, consult your doctor before incorporating Moringa into your daily diet
Welcome! I'm Amber. The mama behind Mama Simply. Join me on my journey to making health and wellness simple.