Offering a rainbow of health-promoting nutrients, plant-based wholefoods can have you taking on the day with a renewed vigour - physically and mentally - all while giving you your glow back.
You’ll be surprised at how many of these ingredients are already in your fruit bowl and pantry.
A superfood that’s worthy of the hype, this golden spice’s colour is thanks to its active compound called curcuma - which has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential.
An antioxidant-rich diet is key for protecting your cells from aging and damage by disease-promoting free radicals - unstable, highly reactive compounds in the environment, like pollution. Free radicals are also produced by the body during metabolism, so we can’t escape them - but we can fight them with plant food!
It’s not just in your head that a bit of chocolate works a treat as a 3pm pick-me-up. The cocoa bean (Theobroma cacao) is naturally rich in theobromine, a compound with a similar structure to caffeine.
Like coffee, theobromine works as a central nervous stimulant - but a gentler one…so choccie may just help to increase your mental alertness, without the post-latte jitters.
To reap the benefits, stick to chocolate in its purest form - try a spoonful of cacao powder in your smoothie or oats, a sprinkle of cacao nibs in your trail mix, or a couple squares of dark chocolate with a high cocoa concentration (at least 70%).
The humble legume is bursting with revitalising nutrients: from sustaining plant protein (which won’t cause a blood sugar crash), to fibre to help keep you regular and leave you feeling lighter.
Legumes like lentils, chickpeas and beans are also one of the richest plant sources of iron; half a cup of cooked lentils has around three times more iron than a small palm-sized serve of steak (about 85 grams). Iron is needed to make haemoglobin - a protein in your red blood cells that delivers oxygen to your tissues. This explains why fatigue, pale skin and shortness breath are some of the symptoms of iron-deficiency anaemia.
4. Citrus fruits
Oranges, mandarins and lemons are abundant with vitamin C, which helps enhance absorption of non haem iron - iron from plant-based foods. For a vitamin C-rich food to work its iron-enhancing magic, make sure you eat it at the same time that you’re having an iron-rich plant food.
Other vitamin C-rich plant foods to help you get the most out of your meal include kiwi fruit, watermelon, tomatoes, red capsicum, and broccoli!
5. Green tea
Nature’s very own health tonic, this emerald beverage contains a compound called L-theanine - which can have a powerful effect on the brain, increasing mental clarity and calm.
Not a green tea fan? Try one of our Kombuchas - they contain a green tea base but no astringent flavour thanks to the brewing process and plant-powered flavours like ginger and wild berry.
It is a Japanese tradition to start the day with some satisfying, umami miso soup, and for good reason: good health starts in the gut, and because miso is a fermented food (typically made with soybeans and a starter culture), it’s full of beneficial bacteria to promote a harmonious balance of gut flora and support digestive health - helping to alleviate any bloating, gas or constipation that’s weighing you down.
The fittingly brain-shaped walnut is one of the few plant foods (along with chia and flaxseed) that’s rich in the essential fatty acid omega-3. DHA, one of omega-3’s components is integral to brain structure, linked to enhanced mental clarity and improved mood.
Alongside fruit, vegetables and legumes, wholegrains provide complex, slow-releasing carbohydrates in the form of fibre and starch. Carbohydrates are the brain’s and the muscles’ preferred source of energy (over protein and fat).
Your need carbohydrates to give things your all - physically and mentally - so make sure you fuel up with quality wholefood carbohydrates will that keep you going - unlike refined carbohydrates like added sugar and white bread, which only provide a short spurt of energy.
9. Green leafy vegetables
Another rich source of plant-based iron, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are also overflowing with magnesium - a mineral involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body - including ones involved in immune support, nerve and muscle function, energy production and keeping your blood sugar (energy) levels steady.
The blue, red or purple pigment in whole plant foods - like blueberries, raspberries, eggplant skin, red cabbage and black rice - means they are high in anthocyanins: powerful antioxidants that help protect cellular (cell) health in the long term, reducing the risk of disease, and keeping you feeling (and your skin looking!) youthful.
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