There is a reason why most well-known superfoods are plants, and no matter what kind of dietary lifestyle you choose to adopt, there is one thing we know for sure -- every single person would benefit from adding more nutrient dense, plant-based foods into their diet. As an integrative dietitian improving the nutritional density of my clients diets is at the forefront of my mind, and often times that means finding ways to add more plants into the diet. While there are many powerful reasons to add more plant-based foods into a person’s diet, I find that most people really are motivated by preventing future illness and in my opinion there is no better way to do that then through the power of plants.
Plants Are Nature’s Original Superfood
Plants really are superfoods and are loaded with essentials vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that we have barely even touched the surface of uncovering. On a cellular level, plant-based foods are loaded with antioxidants whose job it is to literally fight free radicals in the body that can lead to disease. When you think about adding more nutrient dense plants into your diet my best advice is to add color! Colors like purple, blue, green, red, and yellow represent literally thousands of plant based phytochemicals that have been found to be protective against disease. At this point we really aren’t capable of replicating these phytochemicals to the same degree in the form of supplements, which is why it is so important to fill your plate with a rainbow of whole, plant-based foods. Some of my personal favorites are: Papaya, blueberries, tomatoes, spinach, beets, and broccoli.
They Feed Our Gut And Support Our Immunity
Plants are also essential when it comes to supporting a healthy gut as they are the primary means by which we consume prebiotics and fiber in our diet, both of which are necessary for optimal digestion and feeding beneficial bacteria. Since 80% of our body’s immune system is found in the gut, this means that plants are at the foundation for a healthy immune system as well. Just another reason why when we aren’t fueling our bodies consistently with nutrient dense, plant-based foods we may find that we are more likely to get sick or catch a cold.
Plants Are An Affordable Way To Support Long-Term Wellness
When it comes to overall wellness, one of the most common questions I get asked as an integrative dietitian is “what supplements should I take”. The answer I usually give back is “start in the produce aisle”. Adding an abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains has been shown throughout a wealth of research to be one of the best investments a person can make to reduce inflammation, support a healthy heart, and long-term vitality.
Essential For Glowing Skin
Our skin is our body’s largest organ and is responsible for helping protect our body from the elements and eliminate harmful toxins. But in today’s world where we are constantly being exposed to harmful chemicals and toxins whether in our food, water, or beauty supplies our bodies are usually working overtime just to keep up. Luckily, plant based foods like avocado, olive oil, berries, citrus fruits, and leafy greens can help support the health of our skin barrier by improving digestion, increasing collagen production, and reducing inflammation, all of which will help support the health and appearance of our skin.
Good For Our Environment
Typically what is good for our bodies is also good for our environment, and when it comes to adding more plant based foods into our diet this couldn’t be more true. Our current meat industry is wreaking havoc on our environment and is one of the significant contributors to climate change. There is some good news though, simply by adding more plant based foods into our diet and reducing the amount of mass-produced meat we are consuming we could greatly impact climate change by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere.
While the reasons for including more plant based foods really does go on and on, what we can be sure of is that eating more plants will only do our body and the planet good.
About the Author:
Megan Faletra is an Integrative Registered Dietitian, and founder of The Well Essentials where she is devoted to inspiring others to create an authentic life through good food, sustainable choices, and most importantly lots and lots of love. Megan consults on nutrition and global health issues both domestically and abroad, and works with nutrition patients individually in Boston, MA.
Megan holds a Master of Science in Nutrition from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition and a Master of Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine. She received her clinical training through Brigham and Women’s Harvard Affiliated Teaching Hospital and is also a certified yoga instructor.