Despite the plethora of health benefits that meatless, dairy-free eating may bring, we won’t be able to actually reap them if we don’t consume the right foods! One can hardly be a vegan people will feel inspired by if they live on French fries and rice. Not that we can’t indulge in junk foods from time to time, but by no means should this become the cornerstone of our menu! It is essential, especially for transitioning vegans to first and foremost make sure that they include nutrient-packed superfoods in their diets.
Here are the 6 superfoods all vegans should fuel up with
So, my advice is to immediately put these as the must-have items on your vegan shopping list!
The oleic acid in this good-fat-filled fruit works to improve cholesterol levels, while potassium and folate lower the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Avocados are the perfect choice to satisfy a savory fix. Slice an avocado and sprinkle with a dash of sea salt for the perfect afternoon snack, or dice it into cubes and toss into a delicious, calcium-rich kale salad.
Ever wonder why this superfood has such a deep blue coloring? The culprit is flavanoids, antioxidants that fight free radicals contributing to heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s. Blueberries can liven up a morning routine by simply being stirred into soy yogurt or oatmeal, and they offer the perfect healthy snack time treat when eaten straight from the container. Adding blueberries to muffin and pancake batters is one way to sneak these nutritional powerhouses into a diet, but a healthier and equally sugary alternative is to use them in homemade popsicles!
This immune system cleanser has at least two health perks worth bragging about: since garlic is rich in sulfur compounds, it can help ward off infection, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Its other health benefit is that it is delicious. The super healthy bacteria-fighting properties in garlic ensure that illness will stay at bay, especially if eaten raw. For those not garlic-obsessed enough to chew on raw cloves, try incorporating diced garlic into pastas, marinades and sauces, soups, and just about anything else.
Adults and teens who consume beans are 23 percent less likely to be overweight compared to people who never eat beans, according to a study by The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, so stock up on this magical fruit! Soluble fiber promotes digestive health and keeps cholesterol levels in check. Potassium promises to lower blood pressure, and folic acid supports heart health. Purée garbanzo beans to create a creamy texture for soups, throw a handful of black beans in a southwest salad, or stick with the classic, unbeatable combination of rice and beans.
5. Sweet Potatoes
If you thought sweet potatoes were a member of the nightshade family, you thought wrong. These super healthy veggies actually have much more in common with carrots than russets. The bright orange color of sweet potatoes promises high levels of betacarotene, which is known to promote healthy skin, eyes, and cardio health. Sweet potatoes are a great vegetable choice anytime of year, whether served in a purée to accompany tofu dishes or served piping hot in sweet potato lentil chili.
Loaded with alpha-linoleic acid, an Omega-3, to keep your heart and brain functioning optimally, walnuts are essetial. Walnuts also offer Omega-6s for the perfect fatty-acid ratio and are easy to incorporate into a daily diet, whether added to soy yogurt or cereal during breakfast or caramelized and mixed into a fresh salad at lunchtime. If walnuts seem unappealing to appetites, try using them to make homemade vegan Parmesan, where the taste is largely masked by other ingredients and seasonings. This is a guaranteed way to get those essential Omega-3s-and a tasty topping for pretty much everything.
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