Food For Thought: 7 Plant-Based Foods You Should Be Eating Every Day
There are hundreds of vitamins and minerals required to keep your body functioning at optimal levels. Many people opt to take a daily multivitamin to meet those nutritional needs. If you want to avoid that route and still maintain a plant-based diet, there is good news. Plants contain an amazing assortment of nutrients, and it is possible for most healthy adults to meet their daily intake requirements through plant-sourced food alone. Knowing which foods pack the biggest nutritional punch can help you get started on the right path.
Seeds from plants like flax and sunflowers are a great source of vitamins. They are generally rich in vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. Seeds can be a good supplemental source of protein and fat as well. Pumpkin seeds are also a great choice for vegetarians looking for lysine rich foods.
Low in calories and carbohydrates but big on taste, mushrooms have a nutritional profile that may help give your metabolism a boost. They are also a good source of vitamins B2, B3, B5 and D. Look for portobello, cremini and shitake mushrooms for a variety of flavors and textures.
Nuts are an excellent plant source of protein and healthy fats. Packed with vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E, they can boost heart health and help keep cholesterol levels in check, too. Almonds and walnuts are popular choices. Because they are calorie-heavy, limit yourself to no more than a handful or so a day.
The popularity of avocados has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks in large part to the fat-focused keto diet. No matter what type of diet you follow, there are advantages to including avocados. In addition to containing high amounts of oleic acids, they are high in vitamins B5, B6, B9 and E.
5. Winter Squash
With vibrant colors and dense textures, winter squash like acorn and butternut also have impressive nutrient profiles. They provide high levels of fiber, plus vitamins A, B1, E, and beta carotene. Add them to curried, soups and chilis for a change of pace and flavor boost.
6. Dark Leafy Greens
An excellent source of several vitamins, dark leafy greens have become increasingly popular. They can easily be added to soups, stews and smoothies for a quick boost of vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, E, K, and beta carotene. Spinach and kale are the most commonly available versions, but hey aren’t alone. Choose from arugula, chard, collards and turnip greens for a wider assortment of flavors.
Even if you have bad memories of broccoli form your childhood, it is worth revisiting your relationship with this amazing vegetable. It is loaded with nutrients, including vitamins A, B9, C, E, K, beta carotene, potassium, and copper. Plus, it is readily available all year thanks to its ability to withstand cold temperatures.
While many vitamins are more prevalent in animal-sourced foods, you can meet your nutritional needs without eating meat and dairy. Always try to eat the rainbow since different vitamins will be present in foods of various colors. If you have doubts about whether you are meeting your nutritional needs, talk to your doctor about testing to determine where you need to focus your efforts.