1. Leafy greens are the most nutritious food on the planet! Get to know kale, chard, collards, beet greens and spinach for their abundance of calcium, protein, iron and B-vitamins. These powerhouse veggies are also known to be cancer-fighting due to their high concentration of antioxidants which detoxify cell-damaging free radicals.
2. Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, delivering protein, fiber and healthy fats all of which help keep blood sugar levels steady. A handful of nuts also delivers a great supply of magnesium helping to relax muscles, including the heart muscle! Nuts can be sprinkled on salads or blended into smoothies for the perfect protein boost.
3. Beans are high in protein, fiber and iron. The combination of these nutrients helps prevent anemia while keeping energy levels steady throughout the day. Chickpeas are a great alternative to meat that can be used in chili, curries or on their own as falafel. Black beans taste great on salads or with Mexican inspired dishes such as burritos and tacos.
4. Avocados provide healthy fat which helps us absorb the nutrients in other foods! They contain more potassium than bananas, making them a perfect fruit for re-energizing after a workout or relieving muscle cramps. Combine with tomatoes and lettuce along with fresh lemon juice and olive oil for a scrumptious salad.
5. Fresh fruits contain a great source of fiber to keep us satisfied and deliver a hit of naturally occurring sugars that can help restore our glycogen stores post workout. Including fresh fruit into every meal will also ensure we meet our daily quota for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which help fight cancer cells! Berries, apples and bananas are great on cereal, as a side for breakfast or used in baking.
6. Dark green veggies such as bok choy, kale and broccoli contain high levels of calcium which help keep bones strong. In addition to calcium, they also contain Vitamin K which helps with blood clotting and protects against bone fracture. Pair with beans and brown rice for a complete protein.
7. Whole grains such as quinoa, barley and oats combine with nuts and seeds to form the perfect protein! They contain plenty of fiber which will help control blood sugar levels preventing us from crashing mid-afternoon. Try them out in salads or soups to maximize stick-to-the-ribs satisfaction.
8. Iron-containing veggies such as beet greens, spinach and kale should be included in every meal for their great source of iron! Staying away from meat does not mean you have to miss out on the benefits that iron provides. Having plenty of oxygen-carrying red blood cells will help improve cardiovascular function and increase energy levels.
9. Oats are rich in antioxidants, helping to control blood sugar levels and improve moods! They’re also full of fiber which helps keep us satisfied until our next meal. Try them out with berries or almond milk for a protein-packed breakfast that will last through the morning.
10. Seeds contain high amounts of Vitamin E which helps promote healthy skin cells, hair and nails. Not only are they rich in vitamins, but they also contain high concentrations of magnesium to further aid in muscle relaxation! They make great additions to salads or can be blended into smoothies for a filling afternoon snack.
Advantages of vegan food:
1. Vegan diets are rich in dietary fiber, folic acid, Vitamins C and E, magnesium and potassium. Vegans tend to be thinner, have lower serum cholesterol levels and decreased cardiovascular risk
2. Vegan diets provide protection against certain types of cancer including prostate, colon, bladder, cervical, breast tumors
3. Obesity is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide. A vegan diet encourages healthy weight loss
4. Diabetes type 2 can be managed through a low-fat vegan diet. When compared with non-vegetarians vegans have 25% less chance to develop diabetes
5. High blood pressure can also be managed by following a plant-based diet since it reduces your intake of sodium as well as saturated fats found in meat