5 Important Plant-Based Foods for Optimum Health

5 Important Plant-Based Foods for Optimum Health

Plant-based foods for optimum health

5 Important Plant-Based Foods for Optimum Health

Plant-based eating has never been more popular. These days, many local supermarkets offer a myriad of plant-based alternatives, but are these options really as healthy as we think? Labelling products as ‘plant-based’ when they are in fact highly processed, made using unhealthy oils, salts and sugars, and include very little nutritional value… takes away from the concept of plant-derived food and instead creates a whole new type of cuisine known as ‘vegan junk food’. 

For health-conscious folk, it’s important to be discerning when doing your weekly food shop. Foods such as these may be better for the environment, but they are certainly not better for our health… especially if we wish to prevent or reverse chronic dis-ease.

On the other hand, there are 5 important plant-based foods for optimum health we should be eating daily. Time and time again, they have been shown to be the pillars of good health. In this recent study, a greater adherence to a healthful plant-based diet is associated with a lower risk of mortality, cancer, and particularly cardiovascular disease. Opposing associations with higher risk were observed for individuals who adhered to an unhealthy plant-based diet.

So, what are the 5 important plant-based foods to eat daily for optimum health?

1. Whole Grains

Whole grains are associated with a reduced risk of a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, and are recommended as an important part of a healthy diet. 

They are minimally processed and a great source of dietary fibre. Whole grains include rolled or steel cut oats, whole wheat pasta, corn, barley, brown rice, wild rice and more. Quinoa also contains an abundance of nutritional benefit – we like to think of it as a superfood!

2. Fruit

There has been much debate and conflicting advice within the cancer community in regards to avoiding fruit during a healing journey due to its sugar content. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Fruit contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and phytonutrients that are incredibly supportive and vital for a healthy diet. Eating fruit is not the same as eating sugar and it’s not processed in your body the same way.

According to this study, diets high in fruit and vegetables are associated with lower cancer mortality among certain types of cancer, making them a necessary component to a healthy lifestyle. 

3. Vegetables

Vegetables each contain a fantastic variety of vitamins and essential nutrients to support the body and help our cellular function to thrive. It is widely known that dark leafy greens, cruciferous and root veg, amongst many others, are cancer-fighting and vitally important for optimum health. 

The wide diversity of vegetables available also means we can get very creative in the kitchen when preparing whole-cooked meals!

4. Legumes

Beans, lentils, peas and soy… legumes are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients to boost your immune system, lower cholesterol and support health. 

Interestingly, according to this study, populations with a high legume consumption have been shown to have a lower risk of cancer and chronic degenerative diseases.

5. Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a fantastic source of protein, dietary fibre, polyunsaturated and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, as well as omega-3 fatty acids that are especially beneficial for the brain and heart. Studies have shown that eating one ounce of peanuts, certain tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios), and/or seeds most days may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including colorectal, endometrial, and pancreatic cancer. They may also reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.

We hope this article provides inspiration and scientific support to inform your dietary choices. When we speak about eating plant-based… this is what we mean! Foods that derive directly from the plant means our cells and tissues will reap the rewards in receiving high levels of various nutrients and importantly, the life-force from the plant itself.

At Together Against Cancer, we often welcome guest speakers to the Wellness Centre to support your healing journey, including nutritional guidance and ways to easily maintain an optimum diet during a healing journey. Keep an eye on our events page for an updated schedule of workshops over the coming months: https://www.togetheragainstcancer.org.uk/events/