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    15 healthiest vegetables: Nutrition and health benefits

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    15 healthiest vegetables: Nutrition and health benefits

    There is no single most healthy vegetable, but eating a variety of vegetables can improve health and well-being. Nutritious options to try adding to the diet include spinach, peas, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

    All vegetables contain healthful vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber — but some stand out for their exceptional benefits.

    Specific vegetables may offer more health advantages to certain people, depending on their diets, overall health, and nutritional needs.

    In this https://thevegangarden.com/‘s article, we look at 15 of the most healthful vegetables and suggest ways to enjoy them as part of a balanced diet.

    1. Spinach

    Spinach is a leafy green vegetable and a great source of calcium, vitamins, iron, and antioxidants.

    Due to its iron and calcium content, spinach is a great addition to any meat- or dairy-free diet.

    One cup of raw spinach is mostly made up of water and contains only 7 caloriesTrusted Source. It also provides:

    • an adult’s full daily requirementTrusted Source of vitamin K
    • high amounts of vitamin A
    • vitamin C
    • magnesium
    • folate
    • iron
    • calcium
    • antioxidants

    Vitamin K is essential for a healthy body — especially for strong bones, as it improves the absorption of calcium.

    Spinach also provides a good amount of iron for energy and healthy blood, and a high level of magnesium for muscle and nerve function.

    It is also rich in antioxidants, and researchTrusted Source suggests that spinach leaves may lower blood pressure and benefit heart health.

    If a person is taking blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), they should use caution when increasing their intake of dark leafy greens. Doctors recommend maintaining a consistent vitamin K intake over time for people taking these medications.

    How to eat spinach

    People enjoy spinach raw in salads, sandwiches, and smoothies. Cooked spinach also has significant health benefits and is a great addition to pasta dishes and soups.

    2. Kale

    Kale is a very popular leafy green vegetable with several health benefits. It provides around 7 caloriesTrusted Source per cup of raw leaves and good amounts of vitamins A, C, and K.

    Kale may benefit people with high cholesterol. One small 2008 study reports that males with high cholesterol who drank 150 milliliters of kale juice each day for 12 weeks experienced a 10% reduction in low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol and a 27% increase in high-density lipoprotein, or “good,” cholesterol.

    Research from 2015Trusted Source, meanwhile, suggests that kale juice can reduce blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

    If a person is taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin, they should use caution when increasing their intake of dark leafy greens. It is best to maintain a consistent vitamin K intake while taking these medications.

    How to eat kale

    People use baby kale in pasta dishes, salads, and sandwiches. A person may also enjoy kale chips or juice.

    3. Broccoli

    Broccoli is an incredibly healthful vegetable that belongs to the same family as cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. These are all cruciferous vegetables.

    Each cup of chopped and boiled broccoli contains:

    • around 31 caloriesTrusted Source
    • the full daily requirement of vitamin K
    • twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin C

    According to the National Cancer InstituteTrusted Source, animal research has found that certain chemicals, called indoles and isothiocyanates, in cruciferous vegetables may inhibit the development of cancer in several organs, including the bladder, breasts, liver, and stomach.

    These compounds may protect cells from DNA damage, inactivate cancer-causing agents, and have anti-inflammatory effects. However, research in humans has been mixed.

    How to eat broccoli

    Broccoli is very versatile. People can roast it, steam it, fry it, blend it into soups, or enjoy it warm in salads.

    4. Peas

    Peas are a sweet, starchy vegetable. They contain 134 caloriesTrusted Source per cooked cup, and they are rich in:

    • fiber, providing 9 grams (g) per serving
    • protein, providing 9 g per serving
    • vitamins A, C, and K
    • certain B vitamins

    Green peas are a good source of plant-based protein, which may be especially beneficial for people with vegetarian or vegan diets.

    Peas and other legumes contain fiber, which supports good bacteria in the gut and helps ensure regular bowel movements and a healthy digestive tract.

    They are also rich in saponins, plant compounds that may help protect againstTrusted Source oxidative stress and cancer.

    How to eat peas

    It might be handy to keep a bag of peas in the freezer and gradually use them to boost the nutritional profiles of pasta dishes, risottos, and curries. A person might also enjoy a refreshing pea and mint soup.

    5. Sweet potatoes

    Sweet potatoes are root vegetables. Baked in its skin, a medium sweet potato provides 103 caloriesTrusted Source and 0.17 g of fat.

    Each sweet potato also contains:

    • much more than an adult’s daily requirement of vitamin A
    • 25% of their vitamin C and B6 requirements
    • 12% of their potassium requirement
    • beta carotene, which may improve eye health and help fight cancer

    Sweet potatoes may be a good option for people with diabetes. This is because they are low on the glycemic index and rich in fiber, so they may help regulate blood sugar.

    How to eat sweet potatoes

    For a simple meal, bake a sweet potato in its skin and serve it with a source of protein, such as fish or tofu.

    15 healthiest vegetables: Nutrition and health benefits

    6. Beets

    One cup of raw beets contains:

    • 58.5 caloriesTrusted Source
    • 442 milligrams (mg) of potassium
    • 148 micrograms of folate

    Beets and beet juice are great for improving heart health, as the vegetable is rich in heart-healthy nitrates. A small 2012 studyTrusted Source reports that drinking 500 g of beet juice significantly lowered blood pressure in healthy people.

    These vegetables may also benefit people with diabetes. Beets contain an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which might be helpfulTrusted Source for people with diabetes-related nerve problems, called diabetic neuropathy.

    How to eat beets

    Roasting beets brings out their natural sweetness, but they also taste great raw in juices, salads, and sandwiches.

    7. Carrots

    Each cup of chopped carrots contains 52 caloriesTrusted Source and over four times an adult’s daily recommended intake of vitamin A, in the form of beta carotene.

    Vitamin A is vital for healthy eyesight, and getting enough of this nutrient may help prevent vision loss.

    Certain nutrients in carrots may also have cancer-fighting properties. A 2018 reviewTrusted Source of 10 articles reports that dietary carrot intake was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer.

    How to eat carrots

    Carrots are extremely versatile. They work well in casseroles and soups, and they provide great health benefits when eaten raw, possibly with a dip such as hummus.

    8. Fermented vegetables

    Fermented vegetables provide all the nutrients of their unfermented counterparts as well as healthful doses of probiotics.

    Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are present in the body and in some foods and supplements. Some researchers believe that they can improve gut health.

    According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative HealthTrusted Source, probiotics may help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. They may also prevent infection- or antibiotic-induced diarrhea.

    Some good vegetables for fermentation include:

    • cabbage, as sauerkraut
    • cucumbers, as pickles
    • carrots
    • cauliflower

    How to eat fermented vegetables

    People eat fermented vegetables in salads, sandwiches, or as a side dish.

    9. Tomatoes

    Although tomatoes are technically a fruit, most people treat them like vegetables and use them in savory dishes. Each cup of chopped, raw tomatoes contains:

    • 32 caloriesTrusted Source
    • 427 mg of potassium
    • 24.7 mg of vitamin C

    Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. ResearchTrusted Source suggests that lycopene may help prevent prostate cancer, and the beta carotene in tomatoes also helps combat cancer.

    Meanwhile, other potent antioxidants in tomatoes, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, may protect vision.

    The Age-Related Eye Disease StudyTrusted Source reports that people who have high dietary intakes of these substances have a 25% reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration.

    How to eat tomatoes

    People enjoy tomatoes raw or cooked, and cooking them releases more lycopene.

    10. Garlic

    People have long used garlic in cooking and medicine. Each garlic clove contains just 4 caloriesTrusted Source and is low in vitamins and minerals.

    However, garlic is a natural antibiotic. For example, a 2018 reviewTrusted Source notes that people have used garlic for purposes similar to those of antibiotics since the 16th century.

    Allium, a component of garlic, may be the source of its health benefits. Confirming this will require more research.

    How to eat garlic

    Heating garlic reduces its health benefits, so it is best to eat garlic raw, in bruschetta or dips, for example.

    11. Onions

    Each cup of chopped onions can provideTrusted Source:

    • 64 calories
    • vitamin C
    • vitamin B6
    • manganese

    Onions and other allium vegetables, including garlic, contain sulfur compounds. Review studies, including a 2019 reviewTrusted Source and a 2015 reviewTrusted Source, suggest that these compounds may help protect against cancer.

    How to eat onions

    It can be easy to incorporate onions into soups, stews, stir-fries, and curries. To get the most from their antioxidants, eat them raw — in sandwiches, salads, and dips such as guacamole.

    12. Alfalfa sprouts

    Each cup of alfalfa sprouts contains only 8 caloriesTrusted Source and a good amount of vitamin K.

    These sprouts also boast several compounds that contribute to good health, including:

    • saponins, a type of bitter compound with health benefits
    • flavonoids, a type of polyphenol known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
    • phytoestrogens, plant compounds that are similar to natural estrogens

    Traditionally, some have used alfalfa sprouts to treat a range of health conditions, such as arthritis and kidney problems. However, very few scientific investigations have explored these uses.

    Research suggests that alfalfa sprouts contain antioxidants, which are compounds that may help fight diseases including cancer and heart disease.

    Eating sprouted legumes such as these may have other benefits. StudiesTrusted Source suggest that sprouting, or germinating, seeds increases their protein and amino acid contents.

    Germination may also improveTrusted Source the digestibility of alfalfa and other seeds and increase their dietary fiber content.

    How to eat alfalfa sprouts

    People enjoy alfalfa sprouts in salads and sandwiches.

    13. Bell peppers

    Sweet bell peppers may be red, yellow, or orange. Unripe, green bell peppers are also popular, though they taste less sweet.

    A cup of chopped red bell pepper provides:

    • 39 caloriesTrusted Source
    • 190 mg of vitamin C
    • 0.434 mg of vitamin B6
    • folate
    • beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A

    Antioxidants and bioactive chemicals present in bell peppers includeTrusted Source:

    • ascorbic acid
    • carotenoids
    • vitamin C
    • beta carotene
    • flavonoids, such as quercetin and kaempferol

    How to eat bell peppers

    Bell peppers are extremely versatile and can be easy to incorporate into pasta, scrambled eggs, or a salad. A person might also enjoy them sliced with a side of guacamole or hummus.

    14. Cauliflower

    One cup of chopped cauliflower contains:

    • 27 caloriesTrusted Source
    • plenty of vitamin C
    • vitamin K
    • fiber

    The American Heart AssociationTrusted Source recommend eating 25 g of dietary fiber each day to promote heart and gut health.

    Also, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables contain an antioxidant called indole-3-carbinol. ResearchTrusted Source has linked this compound with cancer-combatting effects in animals. However, confirming the effects in humans requires more research.

    And like broccoli, cauliflower contains another compound that may help combat cancer: sulforaphane.

    How to eat cauliflower

    A person can pulse raw cauliflower in a blender to make cauliflower rice or turn it into a pizza base for a low-calorie, comforting treat. People may also enjoy cauliflower in curries or baked with olive oil and garlic.

    15. Seaweed

    Seaweed, also known as sea vegetables, are versatile and nutritious plants that provide several health benefits. Common types of seaweed include:

    • kelp
    • nori
    • sea lettuce
    • spirulina
    • wakame

    Seaweed is one of the few plant-based sources of the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. These are essential for health and are mostly present in meat and dairy.

    Each type of seaweed has a slightly different nutritional profile, but they are typically rich in iodine, which is an essential nutrient for thyroid function.

    Eating a variety of sea vegetables can provide the body with several important antioxidants to reduce cellular damage.

    Also, many types of seaweed contain chlorophyll, which is a plant pigment that has anti-inflammatory propertiesTrusted Source.

    Brown sea vegetables, such as kelp and wakame, contain another potent antioxidant called fucoxanthin. ResearchTrusted Source suggests that this has 13.5 times the antioxidant power of vitamin E.

    How to eat seaweed

    When possible, choose organic seaweed and eat small amounts to avoid introducing too much iodine into the diet. People enjoy sea vegetables in sushi, miso soups, and as a seasoning for other dishes.


    Eating vegetables every day is important for health. They provide essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, such as antioxidants and fiber.

    Research consistently shows that people who eat at least 5 servings of vegetables a day have the lowest risk of many diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

    Enjoy a range of vegetables daily to reap as many health benefits as possible.

    Fruit and vegetables

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    Fruit and vegetables

    About fruit and vegetables

    Fruit and vegetables should be an important part of your daily diet. They are naturally good and contain vitamins and minerals that can help to keep you healthy. They can also help protect against some diseases. So keep reading on this site https://thevegangarden.com/ to learn more about it.

    Most Australians will benefit from eating more fruit and vegetables as part of a well-balanced, healthy diet and an active lifestyle. There are many varieties of fruit and vegetables available and many ways to prepare, cook and serve them.

    Fruit and vegetables are best bought when they are in season. Otherwise try frozen or canned vegetables as they are just as nutritious and budget-friendly as well.

    You should eat at least 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit each day. Choose different colours and varieties.

    If you are someone who doesn’t look forward to eating fruit or vegetables, start slowly with those you do like. Try serving, flavouring or cooking them in different ways. You can also disguise them in sauces, minced meals or curries.

    Fruit and vegetables

    Vitamins and minerals in fruit and vegetables

    Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals that are good for your health. Many of these are antioxidants, and may reduce the risk of many diseases:

    • vitamin A (beta-carotene)
    • vitamin C
    • vitamin E
    • magnesium
    • zinc
    • phosphorous
    • folic acid.

    Folic acid may reduce blood levels of homocysteine, a substance that may be a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

    Research has shown that consuming these nutrients as food, within fruits and vegetables, is more beneficial for health than consuming them as supplements.

    Fruit and vegetables for good health

    Fruits and vegetables are low in fatsalt and sugar. They are a good source of dietary fibre, which can make you feel fuller for longer and prevent overconsumption of food. As part of a well-balanced, healthy diet and an active lifestyle, a high intake of fruit and vegetables can help you to:

    • reduce obesity and maintain a healthy weight
    • lower your cholesterol
    • lower your blood pressure.

    Fruit and vegetables and protection against diseases

    Vegetables and fruit contain antioxidants and phytochemicals, or plant chemicals. These biologically active substances can help to protect you from some diseases.

    Scientific research shows that if you regularly eat lots of fruit and vegetables, you have a lower risk of:

    • type 2 diabetes
    • stroke
    • heart (cardiovascular) disease
    • cancer – some forms of cancer, especially bowelstomach and throat cancers later in life
    • high blood pressure (hypertension).

    Types of fruit

    Fruit is the sweet, fleshy, edible part of a plant. It generally contains seeds. Fruits are usually eaten raw, although some varieties can be cooked. They come in a wide variety of colours, shapes and flavours. Common types of fruits that are readily available include:

    • apples and pears
    • citrus – oranges, grapefruits, mandarins and limes
    • stone fruit – nectarines, apricots, peaches and plums
    • tropical and exotic – bananas and mangoes
    • berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwifruit and passionfruit
    • melons – watermelons, rockmelons and honeydew melons
    • tomatoes and avocados.

    Types of vegetables

    Vegetables are available in many varieties and can be classified into biological groups or ‘families’, including:

    • leafy green – lettuce, spinach and silverbeet
    • cruciferous – cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli
    • marrow – pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini
    • root – potato, sweet potato and yam
    • edible plant stem – celery and asparagus
    • allium – onion, garlic and shallot.


    Legumes or pulses contain nutrients that are especially valuable. Legumes need to be cooked before they are eaten – this improves their nutritional quality, aids digestion and eliminates any harmful toxins. Legumes come in many forms including:

    • soy products – tofu (bean curd) and soybeans
    • legume flours – chickpea flour (besan), lentil flour and soy flour
    • dried beans and peas – haricot beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils
    • fresh beans and peas – green peas, green beans, butter beans, broad beans and snow peas.

    Colours of fruits and vegetables

    Foods of similar colours generally contain similar protective compounds. Try to eat a rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables every day to get the full range of health benefits. For example:

    • red foods – like tomatoes and watermelon. These contain lycopene, which is thought to be important for fighting prostate cancer and heart disease
    • green vegetables – like spinach and kale. These contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help protect against age-related eye disease
    • blue and purple foods – like blueberries and eggplant. These contain anthocyanins, which may help protect the body from cancer
    • white foods – like cauliflower. These contain sulforaphane and may also help protect against some cancers.

    Selecting fruits and vegetables

    To maximise nutrients and appeal, buy and serve different types of fruit and vegetables. Try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season, and choose for freshness and quality. You should:

    • Eat with the seasons – this is nature’s way of making sure our bodies get a healthy mix of nutrients and plant chemicals.
    • Try something new – try new recipes and buy new fruit or vegetables as part of your weekly shopping.
    • Let colours guide you – get different combinations of nutrients by putting a ‘rainbow’ of colours (green, white, yellow–orange, blue–purple, red) on your plate.

    Fruit and vegetable serving suggestions for your family’s health

    Some examples of serving sizes of fruits and vegetables include:

    • ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin)
    • ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils (preferably with no added salt)
    • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
    • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
    • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
    • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar)
    • 125ml (½ cup) fruit juice (no added sugar) – only occasionally
    • 30g dried fruit (for example, 4 dried apricot halves, 1½ tablespoons of sultanas) – only occasionally.

    Vegetables and fruit are a handy snack food and are easily carried to work or school. Include them in everyone’s meals and snacks for a healthy, well-balanced diet. Some suggestions include:

    • Keep snack-size fruit and vegetable portions easily accessible in your fridge.
    • Keep fresh fruit on the bench or table.
    • Add fruit and vegetables to your favourite family recipes or as additions to your usual menus.
    • Use the colour and texture of a variety of fruit and vegetables to add interest to your meals.
    • Think up new ways to serve fruits and vegetables. Try serving, flavouring or cooking them in different ways. You can also disguise them in sauces, minced meals or curries.
    • Frozen or canned vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh, and are a convenient, budget friendly option as well.
    • Make simple changes every day. Try adding salad to sandwiches, or having extra vegetables with dinner.

    Some simple ways to serve fruits and vegetables include:

    • fruit and vegetable salads
    • vegetable or meat-and-vegetable stir-fries
    • raw fruit and vegetables
    • vegetable soups
    • snack pack, stewed or canned fruits or dried fruits.

    Limit fruit juice, as it does not contain the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruit. It also contains a lot of sugars. These sugars are not necessarily good for your health, even though they are ‘natural’. Instead, have a drink of water and a serve of fruit.

    Preparation and cooking of fruit and vegetables

    Vegetables are often cooked, although some kinds are eaten raw. Cooking and processing can damage some nutrients and phytochemicals in plant foods.

    Suggestions to get the best out of your fruit and vegetables include:

    • Eat raw vegetables and fruits if possible.
    • Try fruit or vegetables pureed into smoothies.
    • Use a sharp knife to cut fresh fruits to avoid bruising.
    • Cut off only the inedible parts of vegetables – sometimes the best nutrients are found in the skin, just below the skin or in the leaves.
    • Use stir-fry, grill, microwave, bake or steam methods with non-stick cookware and mono-unsaturated oils.
    • Do not overcook, to reduce nutrient loss.
    • Serve meals with vegetable pestos, salsas, chutneys and vinegars in place of sour cream, butter and creamy sauces.

    Some nutrients such as carotenoids may actually be increased if food is cooked. For example, tomato has more carotenoids, especially lycopene, when it is cooked – a good reason to prepare fruits and vegetables in a variety of ways.

    Once you’ve prepared and cooked your vegetables and fruit, spend some time on presentation. People are more likely to enjoy a meal if it’s full of variety and visually appealing, as well as tasty.

    Meals with others tend to include more foods from the 5 food groups. For example, people often report that they can’t be bothered cooking vegetables just for themselves.

    Sit at the table to eat and enjoy your food without distractions like television. Television watching is associated with eating more discretionary choices like takeaway or convenience foods and fewer foods from the 5 food groups. It also makes it much more difficult to recognise and respond to our body’s signals about hunger and fullness (satiety).

    Daily allowances of fruit and vegetables

    Different fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients. The Australian dietary guidelines recommend that adults eat at least 5 kinds of vegetable and 2 kinds of fruit every day.

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults eat at least 400g, or 5 portions, of fruit and vegetables (excluding potatoes, sweet potatoes and other starchy roots) per day to reduce the risk of disease. This amount of fruits and vegetables also ensures adequate fibre intake and can also reduce total sugar intake.

    A national nutrition survey conducted by the Australian Government showed only 6.8% of Australians eat the recommended amount of vegetables, whilst just over half (54%) met the recommendations for usual serves of fruit.

    Children and teenagers have special food needs because they are growing and developing. They also need extra energy for playing and being more active. Even though they need more energy, children have a smaller stomach capacity than adults and cannot eat the same serving sizes. However, you should encourage your children to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.

    By eating well, your children will have the energy they need to play, concentrate better, learn, sleep better and build stronger teeth and bones. Building good habits in their early years can also provide the protection of a healthy diet throughout their lives.

    Childcare and school lunchboxes, like meals and snacks at home, should continue to reflect the 5 food groups and not include discretionary foods and drinks.

    What Is the Alkaline Diet, and Is It Safe?

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    What Is the Alkaline Diet, and Is It Safe?

    The alkaline diet promotes good-for-you-foods, but its primary promise doesn’t hold up

    With all the chatter out there about the alkaline diet, it’s easy to think that maybe there’s something to it. It has a science-y name that rings of chemistry-based truth. There are easy-to-follow lists all over the internet telling you what to eat and what to avoid. Pro athletes are hyping it. Celebrity influencers are all over it. Maybe this is the real deal, right?

    Except, like so many things in life, the claims made by fans of the alkaline diet aren’t so clear cut. And its promise to “hack” your body’s functions just doesn’t stand up to scientific rigor.

    “All in all, the alkaline diet can be safe and beneficial if done right,” says registered dietitian Anthony DiMarino, RD. “This diet can help keep you healthy, but not for the reasons you might think.”

    DiMarino breaks down the pros and cons of this trending diet in this website https://thevegangarden.com/ so you can decide if going alkaline is right for you.

    What is the alkaline diet?

    If you remember much from science class, or if you spend time maintaining a pool or garden, you might be familiar with pH — a measurement of how acidic or basic (alkaline) a solution is. It’s scored on a scale of 0 to 14.

    • A pH of 0 to 6 is acidic.
    • A pH of 7 is neutral.
    • A pH of 8 or higher is basic, or alkaline.

    The alkaline diet is based on the unproven notion that there are health benefits to be gained by moving your body chemistry to the alkaline side of the scale. Proponents of the diet say that by eating foods that are alkaline, instead of acidic or neutral, you’ll:

    • Ward off chronic conditions like osteoporosis and cancer.
    • Increase your energy.
    • Lose weight.

    Here’s the thing, though: Some parts of your body are naturally acidic. Some parts of your body are naturally alkaline. And there’s not really anything you can do to change that — nor would you really want to.

    “Your body is a smart machine. It regulates pH very well on its own,” DiMarino says. “Our stomachs are very acidic, so they can break down food. Our skin has a slightly acidic pH to protect against bacteria. Our lungs and kidneys work to remove metabolic waste and keep our body pH where it needs to be.”

    Your blood stays at an alkaline level between about 7.2 and 7.4. If the pH falls out of that range, it can be fatal. Lucky for us, though, nothing you eat will change your blood pH.

    What Is the Alkaline Diet, and Is It Safe?

    Should I try the alkaline diet?

    The alkaline diet emphasizes choosing natural foods that are generally good for you, so in some ways, it can be a benefit to your health. But it’s not without some downfalls.

    DiMarino considers the pros and cons.

    Pro: Alkaline foods are generally healthy choices

    Unlike some other fad diets (here’s looking at you, fruitarians), the alkaline diet is packed full of foods that have high nutritional value. It restricts added sugars and encourages avoiding packaged foods in favor of fresh foods that are well-known for their health value.

    “The alkaline diet encourages low-processed, whole foods, which have been shown to prevent disease in the long term, so in that respect, it can be considered a healthy eating pattern,” DiMarino notes.

    Some of the pillars of an alkaline diet are foods we know to be solid staples of a healthy diet:

    • Fruits and unsweetened fruit juice.
    • Grains like wild rice, oats and quinoa.
    • Legumes.
    • Non-starchy vegetables, like leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage and carrots.
    • Nuts.
    • Seeds.

    These are some of the same foods that research has shown to be heart-healthy, weight loss-friendly and all-around good for you. So it stands to reason that, yes, when you make healthy, whole foods the basis of your diet, you can reap some serious health benefits.

    Con: You may miss out on protein and other nutrients

    Protein is important to help grow and repair muscle, supply nutrients to your body and much more. But if you’re adhering closely to the alkaline diet, many common sources of protein are off limits.

    The alkaline diet is a plant-based diet. Similar to a vegan diet, it doesn’t allow for any animal proteins, including meats, eggs or dairy. People who follow a vegan diet can get sufficient nutrients from plant-based proteins like:

    • Lentils.
    • Soybeans and soy milk.
    • Tempeh.
    • Tofu.

    The strictest followers of the alkaline diet, however, will say these foods are acidic or acid-forming and should be avoided. Other alkaline diet followers allow for small amounts of plant proteins, from soy or lentils for example.

    “Following a rigid alkaline diet will make it difficult to get enough nutrients like protein, iron and calcium,” DiMarino cautions. “Low protein can cause loss of muscle mass. Low iron can cause anemia. And low calcium can be a risk to your bone health.”

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends:

    • Adult women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) consume 5 to 6.5 ounces of protein each day.
    • Adult men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) consume 5.5. to 7 ounces of protein each day.

    Con: The alkaline diet can be intensive and costly

    If you’re committed to food sourcing and meal prep (or if you have a personal chef à la Hollywood royalty), an alkaline diet can fit into your lifestyle. But the barrier to entry may be too high for some people.

    Keeping all the right fruits, veggies and grains on hand (and fresh) requires some careful planning on your part. Whole, nutritious foods aren’t readily available to all people in all seasons, and their cost can be a barrier. There’s even alkaline water on the market, sold at a premium.

    “An alkaline diet is not inherently easy to follow,” DiMarino says. “It focuses almost exclusively on whole, unprocessed foods, which can depend on the season and may be hard to find sometimes. These foods tend to be more expensive and labor-intensive. An alkaline diet can be sustainable, but you need to be able to plan it carefully and ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs.”

    When you’re following an alkaline diet, eating in restaurants, getting take-out or grabbing a convenient quick bite could prove difficult. And not everyone has time or experience in pre-planning and preparing each meal and snack to ensure optimal nutrition.

    Seeing the results

    People following the alkaline diet regularly use what they call a dipstick to analyze the pH in their urine to see if the diet is “working.” While it’s true that the pH of your pee will change from acidic to alkaline if you follow an alkaline diet (and pretty quickly, too), DiMarino says the pH of your urine doesn’t reflect anything about the current state of your health.

    “Our urine is a great way to get rid of the metabolic waste from what we eat,” he says. “Your urine pH reflects what you had to eat recently, but it doesn’t signify anything about the quality of your diet or current nutritional status.”

    Should I talk with a doctor about the alkaline diet?

    If you’re considering following the alkaline diet, talk with a doctor or a registered dietitian to see if you would benefit, and discuss ways to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.

    “I would recommend to anyone trying to start a new diet, especially a trendy one, to discuss it with their healthcare provider,” DiMarino says. “They’ll be able to provide you with a thorough assessment and evidence-based strategies to meet your goals.”

    No matter what you eat, you won’t change your body’s pH — which means that at the end of the day, the primary promise of the alkaline diet isn’t based on scientific fact.

    If you’re able to put in the work and ensure you meet your nutritional needs, the alkaline diet may effectively help you lose weight and ward off some common chronic conditions. But tried-and-true methods like regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet remain the gold standard — no dipstick-pee-test required.

    How to Go Vegan: A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Plant-Based

    How to Go Vegan: A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Plant-Based

    Any way you look at it, veganism is growing. More and more consumers—some 20 percent now—are expressing an interest in incorporating more vegan (or “plant-based”) food into their diets. The growth in sales of plant-based food is nine times bigger than that of total food sales, which is one reason that nearly half of all major food companies today have dedicated teams working to develop plant-based products and expand into every grocery aisle. Campuses are evolving too, and by 2025, 42 percent of menus at colleges and universities across the United States will be plant-based.

    Whether you are ready for a lifelong commitment to veganism or you’re just veg-curious, figuring out how to go vegan can be a little overwhelming. The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might think, and the many positives of being vegan—including health benefits and a lighter carbon footprint—make it worth exploring.

    What is a vegan diet?

    Eating vegan means only consuming foods that come from plants. In other words, vegans eat fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds, and they avoid all meat (including fish), dairy products, eggs, and honey. Defining veganism can get complicated, but that is dietary veganism at its core.

    How to Go Vegan: A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Plant-Based

    What are the benefits of a vegan diet?

    A vegan diet feels good. You’re discovering new tastes, enjoying better health, not harming animals, and minimizing your impact on the planet. Here are some of the main benefits that https://thevegangarden.com/ collected.

    Improved health

    The list of ways that a vegan diet improves your health is practically endless: lower risk of cardiovascular disease, protection against certain cancers, reduced risk of stroke, lower blood pressure, improved gut health, lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, healthier skin, reduced arthritis symptoms, and more. Indeed, it seems that every week researchers discover new ways that plant-based eating is better for our bodies.

    Better for the environment

    Raising animals for meat, eggs, and dairy takes a major toll on our planet. Not only does it use vast natural resources such as water and land, but it pollutes the air and water, leads to deforestation and biodiversity loss, and is a leading contributor to human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In contrast, a recent study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen suggests that a vegan diet is the optimal diet for the environment because its production results in the lowest level of GHG emissions.

    Helps animals

    Reducing animal consumption directly leads to fewer animals being raised and killed for food. That alone is one reason many people choose a vegan diet. But a lower demand for meat, eggs, and dairy also helps animals living in the wild since animal agriculture destroys habitats as it clears land to grow feed crops and create grazing pastures, and the industry kills predators, such as coyotes and bears, who prey on farmed animals. A vegan diet even benefits the ocean, not only because fewer fish are consumed but because runoff from factory farms ends up in waterways, leading to oceanic dead zones.

    Sounder sleep

    Research shows that diets rich in fiber and low in saturated fats, such as vegan diets, contribute to a better night’s sleep. One study examined the sleep duration and quality in 106 women ages 20 to 75 and found that those who consumed the most plant-based protein slept considerably longer and had better sleep quality than those who ate animal protein. Another study found that eating processed meat and animal-based foods can worsen sleeping conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea.

    Stronger brain

    According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegan diets can lower the risk of cognitive health conditions by up to 33 percent. One reason could be a plant-based diet’s high content of brain-protective antioxidants, which may prevent progressive damage to the brain and help slow or halt the onset of dementia. Meanwhile, micronutrients known as polyphenols, which are abundant in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, may even help reverse cognitive decline.


    Not surprisingly, a plant-centered diet is associated with a longer lifespan. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association concluded that people who ate a healthy diet rich in plant foods enjoyed an 18 to 25-percent lower risk of early death from any cause.

    Better mood

    It seems that a vegan diet really does make people feel better. A large-scale survey by Tracking Happiness found vegans in the United States to be happier than meat-eaters by 7 percent. A study conducted in the UK and published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found similar results, with participants who ate more fruits and vegetables and exercised regularly reporting more happiness overall than those who ate fewer fruits and vegetables and exercised less. Biological reasons for this could be that the arachidonic acid present in meat is associated with depression or that the complex carbohydrates so abundant in vegan diets increase the feel-good hormone serotonin.

    Elevated consciousness

    In addition, many vegans find that this compassionate diet has a spiritual benefit, even if they are not especially religious. Maybe that’s because there is a connection between the inherent nonviolence of veganism and its calming, healing effect on our spirits. Of course, the mindful consumption of plant foods can make this connection even stronger.

    Do vegans get enough protein?

    The first thing to know about protein—an important building block of muscles, bones, cartilage, skin, and blood—is that humans do not need as much of it as popular culture would have us believe. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is just 0.8 grams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. So, someone weighing 130 pounds, for instance, should consume 46 grams of protein every day.

    The second thing to know is that there are many, many protein-rich legumes, beans, vegetables, and grains. Eat a simple meal consisting of, say, one cup of quinoa (8 grams of protein), half a cup of cooked black beans (8 grams), and two cups of cooked broccoli (5 grams), and you’ve consumed 21 grams of protein—nearly half the daily recommendation for a 130-pound body. Adding a scoop of vegan protein powder to a smoothie is also a convenient remedy for anyone worried about their intake.

    What’s wrong with a vegetarian diet?

    For many consumers, adopting a vegetarian diet—that is, eliminating meat but not eggs, dairy foods, or honey—is a step toward a healthier lifestyle. Granted, transitioning to a vegetarian diet is widely considered a positive change for heart health and is certainly better than eating meat. But any diet that includes animal products may not offer the full suite of benefits that a well-balanced vegan diet does. Vegan diets tend to be higher in fiber, for instance, and they may be better at protecting against cardiovascular disease because they do not include eggs and dairy, which contain cholesterol. Moreover, dairy consumption has been linked to numerous health concerns, including type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers.

    Yet many people looking to transition to a vegan diet have found success by first adopting a vegetarian diet, feeling that a sudden switch from omnivore to vegan is a bit too daunting. Going vegetarian and learning to eliminate meat products can be a winning formula for taking the next step: going vegan.

    How to go vegan one day a week

    Another approach is to set aside one day a week to be vegan. This gives you three opportunities to discover how nutritious, delicious, and satisfying plant foods can be. Of course, it would be simple to dine at a restaurant offering vegan options or to have food delivered, but an important step in going vegan is learning how to prepare plant-based foods yourself. So, find one or two vegan cookbooks with recipes that appeal to you, including comfort foods, and plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner based on them.

    Next, prepare your meals by buying the freshest ingredients you can find, whether it’s at your local grocery store or farmers’ market. You can even clean, cut up, and store fruits and vegetables in the fridge the night before your “vegan” day, which will save you time in the kitchen.

    Also, learn about alternatives. There is a vegan substitute for nearly every animal-based food. Try oat milk on your morning cereal, for instance, or one of the many vegan cheeses with your sandwich. Baking a dessert? Ground flax seeds make an outstanding alternative to eggs. Many vegan cookbooks will offer plenty of suggestions on vegan substitutes. Tip: As delicious as pre-packaged meat alternatives can be, they are not particularly healthy and should only be enjoyed occasionally; instead, try seitan, tempeh, or extra-firm tofu to satisfy any meat cravings.

    You will likely discover that being vegan gets easier and more rewarding with each meal.

    How to go vegan every day

    No one wants to feel like they’re missing out on something, so try not to think of veganism as a sacrifice. Instead, gradually crowd out the animal-based foods on your plate with nutritious plant foods. The idea is to fill up on healthier choices first so that by the time you’ve given your body essential nutrients from veggies, legumes, and fruits, you’ll have no appetite for animal-based foods. Here are 10 tips to make going vegan every day easier.

    1. Take it one step at a time. Make small changes and gradually replace animal-based foods in your meals with plant-based foods over time. For example, use oat milk instead of cow’s milk the first week. The next week, replace the meat on your plate with a protein alternative such as tofu, beans, or a veggie burger, or simply add more vegetables and fruit to your meal. Soon you will have crowded animals right out of your diet.
    2. Like taking on any endeavor, going vegan means learning new skills, and preparing meals may be the most fundamental. Invest in two or three vegan cookbooks that look good to you, or check some out of your local library, then try at least one new recipe every week until you’ve got a wide variety of dishes you enjoy, including comfort foods.
    3. Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with essential ingredients, such as beans (dry or canned), grains (rice, flour, and quinoa), pasta, tofu, nuts, fresh produce, nutritional yeast, cooking oil, vegetable stock, oat or nut milk, agave, egg replacer, and seasonings. With these staples on hand, you’ll be prepared to make a wide assortment of meals.
    4. Eat more fruits and veggies at each meal. These are not only healthy, but they’ll make you feel fuller.
    5. Discover the wonder of shopping at Asian markets, which are filled with vegan foods and ingredients.
    6. Get involved with a local vegan group, either online or in person, where you can meet like-minded people, share recipes, and feel supported.
    7. Bring a vegan dish when going to a non-vegan gathering, such as holiday dinners. Not only will you be guaranteed to have at least one meal you can eat, but you can share it with others and impress them with how delicious veganism can be.
    8. Find one or two restaurants in your area that serve vegan-friendly dishes, so you have a place to dine on days you don’t feel like cooking. If you’re not sure what vegan entrées your favorite restaurant offers, ask them. You’ll be surprised how many non-vegan meals can be made vegan!
    9. Make sure you are getting the nutrients you need, including vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and iron. Nothing will curtail your vegan path as quickly (or permanently) as feeling tired or malnourished.
    10. Consider a subscription to VegNews Magazine, which offers motivation and mouthwatering recipes with every issue.