With the arrival of winter, it’s important to ensure that you’re nurturing your body with all the minerals it needs. Luckily, a plant-based diet offers an abundance of nutritional value. We require certain minerals to build strong bones, teeth, boost energy levels, and allow the body to function properly. Some essential minerals for healthy nutrition include iron, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. In winter, it’s essential to care of our immune systems. Learn how to nourish your body with minerals with this quick guide.
Iron + Vitamin C
Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world. Yet, it’s an essential mineral as it helps our blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Regulating iron is important for reducing fatigue and boosting the body’s immunity. Plant-based foods rich in iron include lentils, beans, tofu, nuts and leafy greens.
A great way to help increase iron absorption is to consume iron-rich foods alongside vitamin C. Enjoy foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, potatoes, and broccoli, as a simple way to enhance iron absorption. In order to reap the benefits of iron, be careful of tannin-containing drinks like tea, coffee, and wine. Avoid these beverages with meals as they can inhibit iron absorption. Instead, enjoy these drinks in between meals at least an hour before eating to optimise iron absorption.
A well-balanced plant-based diet requires the intake of calcium. Calcium is important in order to obtain structural bone integrity. In fact, the benefits of this mineral go beyond bone health, it’s also needed for our heart, muscles and nerves to function properly. It is absolutely possible to obtain all calcium needs from a vegan or vegetarian diet. Delicious plant-based sources of calcium include black beans, tofu, seeds, fortified orange juice and fortified rice, soy, almond, coconut milk or yoghurt.
Potassium is an essential mineral that the body requires for bone and heart health. According to Harvard Medical School, it regulates the heartbeat and fluid balance whilst ensuring the proper functioning of the body’s muscles and nerves. Potassium also has the power to regulate blood pressure and lower the risk of a stroke. Foods high in potassium include white beans, potatoes, beets, spinach, tomato sauce, oranges, bananas and avocados. What a great reason to fill the cupboards with fresh fruits and veggies!
Minerals in a Nutshell
In general, focusing on whole foods like fruits, veggies, plant-based fortified milk, and legumes is a great way to make sure you’re getting enough minerals in your diet. Daily requirements of these minerals depend on age and weight among other factors so be sure to do your research for a more detailed guide.
For some incredible plant-based recipes, check out nutritionist Sadia over at Pick Up Limes on YouTube. Deliciously Ella also has some amazing vegan recipes. Check out the website for some plant-based deliciousness. Who are your top sources of inspiration for plant-based recipes?