Including more plants in your diet is key to improving overall health and wellbeing. Plants are rich in important fibre,vitamins and minerals that help to lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes, and help maintain a healthy weight, all of which can lower your risk of heart disease.
One of the largest International gut microbiota studies recently found that those eating 30 different plant-based foods a week had more diverse populations of microbes living in their intestine.
Increasing plant based foods in the diet not only helps gut microbe diversity, it can increase our overall health and well-being. Look to increase vegetables, fruits and other plant foods such as legumes, tofu, tempeh, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
Top tips to increase plant foods into your diet -
Mix it up. Choose to experiment with different fruit and vegetables daily.
Add herbs and spices to cooking such as rosemary, basil, coriander,cinnamon.
Add sprouts to salads and sandwiches such as broccoli sprouts, mung beans and alfalfa.
Keep frozen fruit such as berries and chopped mango in the freezer to add to smoothies or to whip up a quick dessert.
Use legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans 3 times a week in salads, soups and stews.
Try swapping meat dishes out to a plant based meals 2 days a week e.g. lentil curry or vegetable moussaka (see recipes).
Add more veggies to your meals. Try adding diced carrots, zucchini, capsicum, peas etc. to cottage pies, pasta sauces etc.
Get creative. Add grated carrot or zucchini to muffins or try different fruit such as plums and pears to up the fruit and veggies.
Aim to include at least 2 serves of veggies at every meal. Try to make the main part of your meal (half the plate) veggies.
Include 2 serves of fruit every day. Think about trying a new fruit every week that you do not normally eat.
A plant based diet is one of the most important steps you can take towards better health and well-being. Aim to include at least 30 different plant based foods per week but remember plant based does not mean vegan. Dairy, eggs, fish and lean protein can be included as part of a healthy diet.
The important factor here is increasing the amount and variety of plant based foods in your diet.