1) Lemon: Lemons are a brilliant source of vitamin C! Lemons also containe limonene which is cancer fighting nutrient and also helps to kill germs (which is why you drink lemon and honey tea when you are sick). Did you know that lemons are actually alkaline, not acidic? Lately, I’ve been drinking a glass of warm lemon water when I wake up to help alkalize my body and wake up my metabolism. I find it goes down so easily!
2) Banana: I adore bananas so much! I have one almost every day in my green smoothie. Bananas are the perfect snack because they have a fantastic mix of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates! Bananas are high in potassium and vitamin B6. They also contain fiber, magnesium, vitamin C and biotin. Bananas can help to regulate blood pressure and protect against heart disease and strokes.
3) Blueberries: I can’t believe I always thought I didn’t like blueberries! What on earth was I thinking? Again, I use blueberries most mornings in my smoothies. Blueberries have so many vitamins and minerals, they are a superfood! They are full of antioxidants, vitamin C, soluble fibre and lots of B vitamins. Blueberries help brain function, improve vision and to protect damaged cells.
4) Tomatoes: Tomatoes have always been one of my favourite foods, particularly cherry tomatoes. As a kid I used to just eat them by the punnet. Tomatoes are low in calories and are full of beta-carotene, vitamin C, biotin and vitamin K. The high amount of carotene has been shown to help protect against many cancers, lower the risk of heart disease and macular degeneration. Why wouldn’t you eat tomatoes?!
5) Carrots: Carrots are another one of those foods I ate by the bag as a kid. I used to like nothing more than sitting on the couch watching tv eating a raw carrot! Carrots are high in antioxidant compounds and vitamin A carotenes. Carrots can help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Did you know that the top leafy bits of the carrot are also extremely nutritious? Sometimes I blend them up in my smoothies.
6) Spinach: Spinach is another one of those foods that I didn’t eat as a kid. Actually, right up until I was about 21 I didn’t eat it. I hated all green leafy vegetables! Spinach is one of the foods plant-based people use to answer the question ‘Where do you get your iron from?’. Easy! Spinach! Spinach is also an extremely alkaline, helping to regulate the bodies PH levels. Spinach has such a large number of nutrients that it is like a whole-body medicine.
7) Walnuts: I love nothing more than chowing down on walnuts! Walnuts are extremely nutrient dense. They have heaps of antioxidants, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium and copper. They are also one of the few nuts that contain omega-3 fatty acids – which is great for non-fish eaters! Walnuts are helpful in reducing inflammation (ie. sore skin and painful joints). I love sprinking chopped walnuts on a salad or using them in muffins.
8) Quiona: I first tasted quiona when staying with my sister one weekend. I like to describe it as cooked bubbles! Quiona is actually a seed and comes in heaps of colours, the most common being yellow-ey. Quiona is a great protein source, and as heaps of magnesium! It is also good for iron, copper, zinc, and fibre among other things. Quiona also contains all the essential amino acids, which is awesome! Quiona is SO versatile. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all snacks in between!
9) Chickpeas: I don’t really remember having chickpeas before I was about 16 and I was going through an elimination diet to see what I might be reacting to (nothing it turns out, it was a parasite. More on that another day). Chickpeas are great for diabetics because they can supposedly improve blood sugar levels. They are low-fat, contain good amounts of protein and are rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and zinc.
10) Last but not least, Ginger: My mums favourite thing to do when one of us is sick, is bring out the lemon, honey and ginger tea. Ginger is very soothing and also helps relive pain and inflammation. Ginger promotes detoxification and is wonderful for nausea! Ginger tablets were always a must when going out on the boat (still are!). Ginger is particularly good for the immune system.
And there you have it! 10 of my favourite plant based foods right now. All 10 of these can be found in our house (read: tiny unit) about 99% of the time. There are so many I could have added, I had to narrow my list down from about 25.