You don’t have to search hard for exotic or expensive superfoods to get an abundance of nutrition on a plant-based diet – some of the most nutrition-dense foods can be easily found in your nearest grocery store and are often taken for granted. Other superfoods are familiar to us, but we don’t think we can make them a part of our regular meal preparation. Let’s take a look at five different healing superfoods that you can easily add to your WFPB diet (without overwhelming your taste buds and your budget).
Before We Begin: Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet (Without All the Work)
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Any whole food found in nature has its own unique and magical concoction of nutritional benefits. In recent years, some foods have won the title of superfoods because they show multiple positive effects on the body, helping us prevent and heal many of our society’s common ailments such as anxiety, inflammation, and cancer. What these superfoods have in common are their potent antioxidant, toning, anti-inflammatory, and tissue regenerating qualities. Although you can’t go wrong with eating whole foods, knowing the ones that pack a punch of nutrition will help you achieve your wellness goals much more quickly and easily!
Since they're so common nowadays, we tend take the incredible nutritional power of bananas for granted. But don't sleep on this superfood! And don't let the natural sugars and small fat content scare you away either — a banana is one of the most nutritious foods we can eat. If there ever was an ideal survival food it would be bananas!
Why should you make bananas your go-to snack? To function optimally, our neurons need an ideal balance of minerals — like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium — to keep our brain sharp, calm, and focused. And bananas boast all of the above. Also, the Vitamins B6 and C in bananas contribute to enhanced cognition and immune function, while the various phytonutrients, like phenols and carotenoids, bind to free radicals to reduce oxidative stress and protect the body from tissue damage. Because of the high fiber content, the natural sugar in bananas is gradually introduced into the bloodstream, giving us the energy to fuel our day.
With its umami flavor, kelp is more than just a delicious seaweed. It's a nutrient-dense superfood! What's the bid deal about kelp? Well, its high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps regulate our hormones and the nervous system. It's also a great natural source of iodine which, in small amounts, enhances thyroid function, helping us lose weight by regulating our metabolism. Kelp is a fibrous plant that works to clean and regenerate our gut tissues and balances our blood sugar by slowing down glucose release into our bloodstream. The various antioxidant phytochemicals in kelp act as tissue cleansers and healers, decreasing inflammation and tissue damage.
Wondering how to incorporate this wonderful plant into your daily meals? Try sprinkling it on salads, adding it to soups and curries, and blending it into dressings, sauces, and smoothies! Or let MamaSezz do the work and order Tuna-ish Salad, a plant-based version of a lunchtime classic (flavored with kelp!).
Avocados are more than just a millennial toast topping. They are loaded with antioxidants to soothe and protect all our tissues, including our nerves. A little-known fact about avocados: they're packed with many different Vitamins (C, E, K, B) and minerals (magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese) that can help us heal our gut and nervous system. Just like bananas, avocados have lots of fiber to support our gut health and regulate our blood glucose levels.
Sometimes I just peel an avocado and eat it as a snack but the best thing about avocado is that it's so versatile: make that infamous avocado toast, whip up this oil-free hummus, or add it to different healthy sauces, vegan mayo, and desserts for a creamy and satisfying finish!
4. Wild Blueberries
High in fiber, blueberries support a healthy gut microbiome and provide a proper balance of sugar in the blood. Once our cells absorb this natural sugar, they are our bodies also benefit from a wide variety of phytonutrients from blueberries that help clean and revitalize cells so they can function optimally.
You don’t have to go into the woods of Maine to enjoy wild blueberries — they can usually be found in the frozen foods aisle at your grocery store and, because they are picked ripe and immediately frozen, they retain much of their potent nutrition!
The orange antioxidant compound curcumin, found in turmeric, has been shown to support liver and skin health and to even suppress the growth of cancer cells. As a tuber that absorbs many minerals from the soil, turmeric is rich in potassium, iron, manganese, and zinc, all of which are needed to fuel our cells and especially our nervous system.
Full of Vitamins C, E, and B, and high in fiber, turmeric is a treasure chest of nutrition that helps the liver regulate glucose metabolism and synthesis of hormones to balance our blood sugar and give us clear and glowing skin. Oh, and turmeric also helps us digest our food by stimulating the production of bile in the liver, reducing gas and inflammation in the intestines.
- Superfoods are given this special name because they work holistically, quickly, and efficiently to protect, heal, and regenerate our tissues.
- By “eating the rainbow" and choosing WFPB foods, we are enriching our body with pigmented phytochemicals, which serve as powerful antioxidants, preventing hyper-inflammation, tissue damage, and cancer formation.
- The fiber in WFPB foods helps us clean and regenerate our gut tissue so we can maintain a healthy gut microbiome and optimal sugar metabolism.
- It is easy to incorporate more superfoods into your WFPB diet since most can be eaten every day alone or in salads, smoothies, desserts, curries, and stews and are usually affordable and easily available!
By Sebila Kratovac
Sebila is very passionate about plant-based food and how it can help us heal from the inside out. You can often find her creating new vegan dishes and infusing them with healing herbs and spices or just enjoying being in nature. She is also an ardent artist, dancer, performer, writer, and wellness practitioner.