From seeds, to ginger, to tea leaves, these nutritional assets remind us that much of our goodness and wellness stems from the life that grows from the ground. Nutrition Expert, Meredith Yorkin, shares 5 of her favorite plant-based health foods that we all need to include in our lives.
A whole grain food that is easily absorbed by the body. It’s loaded with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
~2 tbsp of chia seeds contains:
- 139 cal
- 4 grams of protein
- 12 grams of carbohydrates
- 11 grams of fiber
- Additional vitamins and minerals
Sprinkle it in your oatmeal or yogurt. For a special treat, make chia pudding at night using different types of milk (soy or almond) to enjoy the following day, topped with fresh fruit and nuts.
Pomegranate seeds provide various nutritional benefits including high amounts of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and phytochemicals that act as powerful antioxidants in the body.
Add these jewels to oatmeal, yogurt, homemade granola bars, or even sprinkled on some healthy desserts for a pop of color and nutrition.
In 1 cup of cooked quinoa, it can provide 8 grams of protein, of which it consists of all essential amino acids. This makes it one of the few plant-based sources of a complete protein, 5 grams of fiber, as well as several vitamins and minerals like potassium and folate.
As a vegetarian, quinoa is a go-to food for me and luckily, it’s simple to cook. My favorite dish to make with quinoa is a one-pot Mexican Quinoa Bowl with beans, tomatoes, jalapenos, cayenne, some cheese and avocado.
Ginger does not provide a significant caloric or vitamin supply. However, it does have chemical properties shown to soothe the stomach of nausea and discomfort. In addition, research has shown it to help increase circulation and provide warmth to the body, making it a perfect fall and winter staple.
Using ginger to make tofu with a yummy peanut-ginger sauce or simply sprinkled over steamed broccoli with garlic are a great option. It also goes great with “green” smoothies!
Tea’s antioxidant components (polyphenols) have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. However, if you are going for sugar-sweetened versions, these benefits are completely offset by the added sugar. One of the reasons I love tea is the opportunity for a lower caffeine or caffeine-free option than a cup of coffee (and we
all agree decaf coffee just doesn’t taste as good!).
Some of my favorite varieties of tea include green and chai teas, but I absolutely love using loose tea leaves and mixing my own concoction of teas using vanilla, dried berries, and citrus rinds to get a natural sweetness.
BONUS: Add lemon to your tea to increase your body’s ability to absorb the antioxidants by ~80%!
Meredith Yorkin, RD is a New Jersey-based Registered Dietitian who understands that eating healthy is more than just the next health food fad. Meredith helps individuals focus on making the extra effort to decode the meaning behind how we eat healthy to ensure that we are doing our best for our everyday health.