Plant based diets are becoming increasingly popular. Whether it’s down to the media, environmental factors or for health purposes; eating more plants is without a doubt a beneficial step when working to improve overall health and wellbeing.
This isn’t to say that having a completely plant based diet is right for everyone, no one size fits all. It’s more about listening to your body’s individual needs, eating food which makes you feel your best and trying to make sure plants are prioritised.
There are so many health benefits of eating more plants.
Firstly, they are filled with fibre. Fibre rich foods leave us feeling fuller for longer after our meals.
Fibre is also gut nourishing. We have thousands of strains of live bacteria that live in our gut and work hard each day to keep us healthy. Eating gut nourishing foods can help to support digestion and promote overall health both physically and mentally. As fibre is our gut bacteria’s preferred source of fuel, it makes sense to make consuming it a priority.
Another reason to up our plant intake is for the colour!
Eating colourfully or as we sometimes put it ‘eating the rainbow’ will provide us with a diverse range of nutrients and encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in our gut. Colourful foods also provide us with a micronutrient called polyphenols, which travel through the body working to lower inflammation.
Different coloured vegetables have different health benefits, which is why eating a variety of plants is so important.
Recent recommendations have suggested to aim to consume 30 different plant foods per week, however if that doesn’t seem achievable, even adding one or two new fruits or vegetables to your shopping trolley welcomes a new element of variety.
Having a diet more focussed around plants can also support our immune system. 70% of our immune cells actually live in our gut. When we nourish our gut with colour, fibre and variety; often found in plant sources, we are working to support its healthy functioning. Healthy gut microbes train our immune system to respond to threats, helping to support the immune system to fight off potential diseases or illness that our bodies can pick up every day…all the more reason to prioritise plants.
Finally, upping our plant intake can have a positive impact on our mental health too.
There is a strong link between mood and food. Think about it, generally when we nourish our body with what it needs, we feel better within ourselves.
What we eat affects our mood through our gut, brain connection. If we feed our microbes their preferred source of fuel (diverse fibre, mainly found in plant sources) it enables calm signals to be sent to the brain, indicating things are okay. However, if we consistently eat highly processed foods that our gut bugs don’t enjoy, stress signals are sent to the brain.
Messages that come from our gut can strongly influence our mental wellbeing. When we do what we can to nourish our gut, we are more likely to feel good.
With enough plant persuasion, it’s all about considering easy and convenient ways you can make them a priority.
Historically, a stereotypical British meal is ‘meat and two veg’. Meat was always the main event. Try to think about the plants as centre stage.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed, remember, plants are not just fruit and veg. Plant sources also include nuts and seeds, whole grains, oats and beans and pulses.
Gradually working to include these things in your meals every day, alongside the other foods that you enjoy could be beneficial.
There is no right or wrong way to eat. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another, however upping your plant intake in a way that suits your body and its individual needs, could help you to truly experience the power of plants!
Here at the Garden we take pride offering the most nutritious, seasonal produce all year round. Our menu is inclusive, being largely plant based with the option to add dairy, meat or fish. We focus on creating balanced and colourful meals that will leave you feeling satisfied and fulfilled.
Holistic Health Coach - Anna Whyte
'The 'Wellness with Anna' philosophy focuses on taking a more balanced and holistic approach to health, providing clients with the tools they need to make sustainable changes and the motivation to start their new health journey.
We discuss how you can eat real, nourishing food, exercise mindfully and prioritise time to relax. What I provide isn't a diet; it's a holistic approach to a healthier life.'