Friday, February 14, 2014

Plant-Based Diet for a Healthy Heart

Whenever I tell anyone that I eat vegan food, they assume that my diet is healthy. I love to eat healthy food, every day. Even though my diet is vegan, I tend to consume white rice and sweets such as burfis , cookies , kheers and payasams every day! In short, I may eat vegan food every day, but I'm not eating healthy food.

February is American Heart Month , and millions of Americans are trying to eat more plant-based food . According to American Heart Association, "Vegetarian diets can be healthful and nutritionally sound if they’re carefully planned to include essential nutrients. " American Heart Association's website is brimming with loads of useful information.

Proteins :According to American Heart Association(AHA), whole grains, legumes, grains, vegetables, and nuts contain proteins. Soy products such as tofu and tempeh are also rich in protein.

Iron : According to AHA, dried beans, spinach, enriched products , and dried fruits are rich in Iron.

Calcium :Studies show that vegetarians absorb and retain more calcium from foods than nonvegetarians do. Vegetable greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli, and some legumes and soybean products, are good sources of calcium from plants.  I roll my eyes when moms across the world force their kids to drink "dairy milk" for calcium. For my son, I mix 1 tsp of sesame seeds to vegetables or rice once or twice in a week. Sometimes, I also put ground almonds, as it is an excellent source of calcium.

Vitamin B12 : Some studies have shown that Vitamin B12 is very important for a healthy heart .Vitamin B12 is present only in animals products. If you are a vegan or planning to consume more plant-based food every day, I suggest you take Vitamin B12 supplement. I take Vitamin B12 supplement made by Jarrow Formulas.
AHA also urges people to consume foods rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin A

Zinc : Zinc plays an important role in protecting the heart . I take Zinc supplement whenever I sense the onset of cold . A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling tired and had a runny nose. I just ate my dinner and took a Zinc supplement, and slept in the night. In the morning, I was fresh and did not
suffer from nasty cold!

Dark chocolates are good for Heart. Dark chocolates are rich in antioxidants. Today is Valentine's Day, I ate a bar of yummy dark chocolate. You get great dark chocolates at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Target.


Heather G said...

I like all of the nutrition information you have included! Great advice.

It is important to know that it is recommended that anyone over the age of 50, regardless of diet, should take a B12 supplement because the body is no longer able to get adequate B12 from animal sources.

Some animal-free sources of B12 include fortified nondairy milks and nutritional yeast. They do not all contain B12, so make sure to check the label.

Kumudha said...

Heather G,

Your are right! The absorption of Vitamin B12 decreases after the age of 50.

Vitamin B12 is required in small quantity, but the most essential vitamin.