5 Key Components of Plant based foods
1. Macro Nutrients: Carbs, Protein, Fats
Macro nutrients are the three main nutritional components of a diet which are consumed in relatively large amounts (relative to the other components of a diet).
A plant-based diet is naturally higher in carbohydrates, contains protein and lower amounts of fat, virtually all of which is unsaturated. The World Health Organisation, the largest, non-commercial health entity in existence, recommends a diet in the same macro – ratio:
55%-75% of calories from carbohydrates, 10%-15% of calories from Protein, and the remaining 10% from fat. The problem with this is that it directly contradicts the inaccurate popular dietary view of high protein or high fat and low carbohydrate view of diets. Animal products contain no carbohydrates and high levels of harmful saturated fat. People have also been led to believe that plant protein is inferior, and carbohydrates cause weight gain. These notions are not accurate and will be addressed in their own posts.
2. Micro Nutrients: Vitamins and Minerals
These are needed in relatively small amounts as the name suggests, but play a key role in the body producing enzymes, hormones and other substances
important in overall health. Animal and processed products may contain some minerals such as iron or iodine but contain little or no vitamins. Some products are fortified after production with certain vitamins, but it is always best to consume these from a natural source.
Phytonutrients get their name from the Greek word for plant, Phyto. There is over 100,000 disease-preventing phytonutrients
contained in plants (see video from nutritionfacts.org). Animal foods contain no phytonutrients, as they are utilised by the animal’s body the same way they would be utilised in a human body. Processed foods contain no phytonutrients, as they are destroyed in the processing of foods.
Your body is 70% water. Every organ, cell and tissue in your body needs water to function correctly
. Water regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, eliminates toxins through urine and lubricates bowel movements. Consuming fresh, ripe, high water content fruits in a raw uncooked state will also count towards your water consumption and will help to keep you hydrated. Animal products have virtually zero water content and can dehydrate your body as they are moved through the bowel.
Fibre is vegetable cell tissue. It has both soluble and insoluble elements
. Insoluble fibre cannot be digested by the body, and so it passes through the digestive system intact, regulating bowel movements. It also helps one to feel full. Animal and processed foods contain NO Fibre at all. It is only found in plant foods.