The last two years were a testament to the fact that having good immunity is one of the best ways to fight diseases. However, as the coronavirus raged over, causing widespread infections, people struggled to find ways to maintain their health. Consequently, we have all been making small changes in our daily lifestyles to improve our quality of life. For instance, apart from working out regularly, having a balanced diet is essential.
On the other hand, women’s health which is vastly different from men’s health needs varied nutritional requirements. Also, due to the interplay of hormones and their reproductive life, women’s needs keep changing as she passes through different stages such as menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. Eventually, they encounter specific nutritional deficiencies due to a diet that lacks wholesome nourishment. But a plant-based diet in combination with clean, natural and effective supplements ensures holistic health.
Significance of plant-based diet
Plant-based food is rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, which help keep our cells healthy. Therefore, the body succeeds in maintaining itself and the immune system functions properly. Also, it helps to reduce inflammation and neutralises toxins from pollution, processed food, bacteria, viruses, etc.
In addition, our bodies often suffer from prolonged inflammation that damages the body’s cells and tissues, which further causes severe inflammatory diseases like arthritis. However, a plant-based diet help keep such conditions at bay by helping our bodies get rid of toxins. It also improves gut health by maximising the capacity to absorb food nutrients. Plants are rich in fibre that lowers cholesterol, stabilises blood sugar and regulates bowel movement.
Why is plant-based food beneficial for women?
Women’s changing nutritional needs require vital ingredients such as adequate amounts of proteins and multivitamins for optimum health at every stage. Moreover, when they go through menstruation, their body and mind experience immense stress that causes inflammation and mood swings. Therefore, they need food that is rich in nutrients that can help reduce the inflammation in their bodies.
Also, adding whole-grain food and supplements rich in magnesium and certain vitamins is equally helpful. Simultaneously, they suffer from skin and hair problems in different life cycles due to fluctuating metabolism. However, consuming food replete with antioxidants can easily solve all skin-related issues and reduce hair fall and dry and rough hair.
Women who often suffer from urinary tract infections can get relief by adding probiotics to their meals. So, let us take a look at some of the best plant-based food :
Tofu is derived from curdling fresh soya milk, pressing it into a solid block, and cooling it; the process is similar to traditional cheese. Also, it is a staple ingredient in Chinese, Thai and other East Asian cuisines; it is rich in natural compounds called isoflavones, which are potent antioxidants. Therefore, they reduce the oxidative stress carried out by free radicals that ultimately contribute to ageing and the onset of several chronic diseases.
A few studies of post-menopausal women who consumed 100mg of soy isoflavones each day saw a reduction in fasting blood sugar levels by 15% and insulin levels by 23%. On the other hand, post-menopausal women who had diabetes supplemented with isolated soy protein noticed a reduction in fasting insulin levels, insulin resistance and an improvement in cholesterol management.
One can prepare plenty of tofu recipes, such as pan-fried sesame garlic tofu, sweet and sticky tofu with bokchoy, simple tofu green curry, etc.
Lentils are edible seeds of the legume family, and they are of varied kinds, including brown, green, yellow, and red lentils, black beluga lentils, etc. They are a rich source of fibre, protein and numerous minerals; they reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular ailments.
Lentils are also rich in probiotic fibre that promotes digestive function and optimises the beneficial gut bacteria essential for health. Moreover, legumes are great alternatives for fish or chicken and are especially helpful for those planning to switch to a plant-based diet.
Lentils are a staple food for many Asian cuisines, particularly South Asian cuisines, where they are usually boiled and then tempered with specific spices to enhance the taste. Lentils are generally accompanied by rice or flatbreads and make a perfect meal for dinner per mid-day brunch.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, belong to the legume family; they are complete proteins. In addition, they contain nine essential amino acids, which are the building blocks that help our body function properly. Apart from being rich in vitamins, minerals, choline, folate, magnesium, potassium and iron, they are also high in fibre.
Eating high-fibre food promotes satiety and controls overeating; hence this is helpful during weight loss. Also, it prevents constipation and keeps gastrointestinal health in good shape. In addition, chickpeas are a good source of polyunsaturated fats, which mainly help control (and reduce) cholesterol levels which, in turn, decreases your risk of developing heart disease.
One can add boiled chickpeas to regular salads or make hummus with it by adding tahini and lime juice.
We have seen many posts on social media platforms wherein influencers post about quinoa recipes and praise their nutritional value. It is popular amongst health enthusiasts as it is rich in protein, magnesium, iron, fibre and manganese. Hence, they have cholesterol and blood sugar levels and reduce diabetes and heart diseases.
Quinoa could be an apt and healthy replacement for pasta in soups and stews; we can also sprinkle it over salads. Similarly, we can make equally delicious quinoa dishes, such as apple-cinnamon quinoa pancakes, quinoa with peas and onions, curried quinoa salads, quinoa and black bean stuffed peppers, etc.
Hemp seeds are often referred to as a superfood because it is rich in protein, fibre and healthy fatty acids, including omega-3s and omega-6s. Also, they have antioxidants that help reduce symptoms of numerous ailments, thereby improving the heart, skin, and joints’ health.
Sprinkling over smoothies or juice can give a healthy boost of all the nutrients; one of the best ways to consume hemp seeds is by adding them to breakfast smoothies. Also, people who are tired of having the same old white sauce pasta can make creamy cauliflower hemp alfredo pasta.