5 good reasons to eat more plant foods
All the buzz about plant protein right now isn’t without cause. Plant foods are brimming with fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that make them the perfect nutritious addition to any diet. And with spring officially here, you’ll find plenty of in-season fruits and vegies that are ripe for recipe creation. Below, I’ve shared the top 5 reasons to eat more plant foods that not even dedicated carnivores can deny.
1. Gut and heart health
A diet rich in plant proteins like legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds can help to promote a healthy heart, while also keeping your gut health in check. Plant-based diets promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut, aiding digestion and boosting immunity. Additionally, protein in plant foods like spinach, kale and sweet potato can support cardiovascular health by potentially reducing heart inflammation through the antioxidants they contain.
2. Healthy skin, hair and nails
Looking your best can sure help you to feel your best, but just like your mum always told you, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Plant foods such as legumes, quinoa, mushrooms, nuts and seeds contain protein and zinc, which can assist in cell growth and repair. So eating more of these foods will lead to more supple skin, shiny hair and strong nails.
3. Better brain function
Plant foods like dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts and seeds are packed with vitamins and minerals, including folate, also known as vitamin B9. Folate is needed to transform the amino acids found in protein into neurotransmitters. These are chemical messengers that send and receive signals in your brain. This can help to improve your day-to-day productivity and your mood. Spinach and kale are superstars for your brain, as are citrus fruits. They also happen to be killer additions to any fresh salad.
4. Healthy weight
Plants are full of fibre, a nutrient that helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. But it’s important to remember that balance is still key. Just because you’re eating predominantly plant-based meals, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll achieve your physical goals. Along with fruits and vegies, you also need to factor in your macronutrients: proteins, carbs and fats. But it doesn’t have to get complicated – who really has the time to count all their macros every day? Fresh-made meal delivery services like MACROS can do the hard work for you, allowing you to choose your specific diet (such as plant-based) and delivering portion-controlled, balanced meals straight to your door. MACROS has an extensive menu to choose from, and all meals are approved by in-house dietitians, like me.
5. A smaller carbon footprint
A major reason why plant-based diets are becoming more popular is because they help to reduce your carbon footprint. Eating a plant-based diet is a more considered way to exist within our fragile ecosystem. With global warming on the rise, eating fewer animal products can help preserve water sources, energy and land, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Plant-based eating is an achievable, sustainable and rewarding lifestyle choice. It also offers countless health benefits. If you’re planning on making a change or wanting to switch up your diet habits this spring, I strongly recommend consulting your medical health professional or a trusted nutritionist to ensure your eating plan is personalised to your nutritional needs, and the right fit for your lifestyle. Now, go enjoy the green goodness!
This article was written by James Halim, nutritionist and food service dietitian at MACROS.