Healthy Tip: Plant Based Diets for Heart Health

This January many people will be challenging themselves to go plant-based in support of Veganuary, a month-long campaign aimed at encouraging people to try out a vegan diet. A vegan diet consists of only food coming from plants and eliminates any animal-based foods such as milk, eggs, meat, and cheese. Adopting a more plant-based diet comes with many health benefits. Specifically in relation to heart health, vegan diets tend to be higher in fibre and lower in saturated fat, which has a positive impact on cholesterol levels. Here we outline some ways you can eat more plant-based every day, not just for January.

Include fruits and vegetables at breakfast

Making sure we consistently get our minimum of five fruits and vegetables every day can be quite difficult if we don’t consume at least one portion with every meal. Start the day off right by including a portion at breakfast. This could look like adding mushrooms to your scrambled eggs or including a banana alongside your porridge. Just make a conscious effort to tick off one of your five a day at breakfast.

Plan snacks around plants

Regardless of what diet you follow, everyone can benefit from eating more plants. A great way to do this is to plan your snacks around fruits and vegetables. Carrot, cucumber, pepper, sugar snap peas and edamame beans make great vegetable snacks; pair them with some hummus or a homemade low-fat yoghurt and mint dip. Any fruit works well as a snack and most pair nicely with a few teaspoons of almond or peanut butter to make a more substantial snack.

Eat plant-based, protein-rich foods

If the thought of a bean chilli or lentil spaghetti bolognese doesn’t appeal to you, simply make your usual ones but try adding in a tin of beans or lentils while its cooking. They will add more fibre to your meal, helping you stay full for longer, and reduce the amount of saturated fat you are consuming (providing you eat your usual portion size). An added bonus is beans and lentils are much cheaper than buying meat, so you can bulk up your meals and make them go further at a fraction of the cost.


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