November 03, 2020 4 min read
There are foods and there are superfoods. Some of the food we eat only fills the stomach and doesn't have any nutritional benefits. Superfoods, on the other hand, provide a high amount of healthy nutrients in one serving. Superfoods are even better when they're plant based, so here are some of the most popular plant based superfoods in the foodie world.
Hemp seed is an ideal protein for vegans for one reason: it's a complete protein. Most plant based proteins have incomplete amino acid profiles because they lack at least one essential amino acid. Hemp seeds are one of the few plant proteins that actually have all the essential amino acids.
They are protein heaven for vegans. Hemp seeds also have lots of omega 3 fatty acids which are good for eye and brain health. The iron content of hemp seed exceeds that of beef per serving. Hemp seeds also contain magnesium, vitamin E, and lots of fiber.
Turmeric is an amazing plant based superfood for many reasons. Its bright yellow colour is due to the compound curcumin, which is also gives turmeric its numerous health benefits. We know that chronic inflammation can lead to health problems such as heart disease, arthritis and autoimmune diseases.
Curcumin is one of the strongest anti-inflammatory natural products known. In fact, it is so strong that it matches the efficacy of some anti-inflammatory medicines- without the side effects. Turmeric can also cross over into the brain from the blood and this interaction with brain cells helps with cell growth and memory.
Curcumin is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream by itself. This is why you should combine turmeric with black pepper, as black pepper contains piperine which enhances curcumin absorption.
When they told us that an apple a day will keep the doctor away, they knew what they were saying. Apples are packed with nutrients. They contain the soluble fiber pectin, which improves digestion, provides food for beneficial gut bacteria and helps to lower bad cholesterol.
Apples are great for weight loss because the fiber stays longer in the stomach so you feel hungry less often. They're a tasty and healthy snack. They also contain vitamin C which is good for the immune system and potassium which helps with blood pressure control.
The cheerful orange color of carrots is due to beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Carrots are famously good for eye health. This is because vitamin A promotes good vision. It also helps with growth and development and strengthens the immune system.
Carrots contain the soluble fiber pectin which is good for digestive health and fights bad cholesterol as well. They're also great for hydration as they contain about 86-95% water and about 10% carbs. Great taste, lots of water, and wholesome carbs make a better and healthier snack than a candy bar.
Carrots can be eaten in all forms-raw, cooked, pureed and they still retain their virtue.
Avocados are such a healthy plant based superfood, they're almost a complete meal. They have B vitamins, vitamin E, potassium, fiber, and even protein. Avocados are fatty, but their fats are the healthy, monounsaturated kind that is actually good for your health.
Avocados are very filling so they're great for a weight loss program as they will keep you from snacking on unhealthy junk food. Avocados also improve mood and reduce inflammation. They contain low levels of pesticide residue because their thick skin keeps them out.
Just wash them properly to get rid of any pesticide before cutting into them.
Due to its bland taste, broccoli isn't a very popular plant based superfood, but its numerous health benefits make up for this. Broccoli is rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, chlorophyll, fiber, and even protein.
Broccoli also contains abundant amounts of a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which can reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. Sulforaphane is what makes broccoli slightly bitter, so sometimes bitter is better.
If you have a sweet tooth, here is a plant based superfood you will like. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, so you don't have to enhance their taste with sweeteners or add the salt and butter usually added to Irish potatoes. They have both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber absorbs water and softens the stool, so it improves the movement of food in your gut. You don't have to worry about constipation with sweet potatoes. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to digested material and is not digested. It ends up in the colon where it provides food for beneficial bacteria.
It also keeps you satiated for a longer period of time, which helps maintain a healthy weight. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, beta-carotene, iron, and potassium, all of which strengthen the immune system.
Grains don't normally feature in superfood lists but oats certainly deserve to be there! First of all, they are gluten-free - a major plus. They have more protein than most grains, except perhaps quinoa, and they are rich in the B vitamins, potassium, zinc, and iron.
They are rich in fiber, particularly beta-glucan, which reduces bad cholesterol in the blood, provides food for beneficial microbes in the gut, reduces blood sugar levels, and increases satiety. Oats are very good for a weight loss regime. They also have a group of antioxidants called avenanthramides.
These are almost exclusively found in oats and they help lower blood pressure and inflammation.
No plant based superfoods list is complete without dark green veggies. Whether its kale, spinach, beet greens, turnip greens or mustard greens, dark green vegetables must feature in your diet. They are full of vitamins A, C, K and other nutrients such as iron, magnesium and potassium.
The easiest way to stay healthy is to eat right. The best thing you can do for yourself is to include some or all of these plant based superfoods now in your diet. They're worth it.