From Norvia Nutrition founder, Dr. Lars Hoie MD PhD
1. What is a plant-based diet?
A plant based diet is a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts.
2. What are the health benefits of plant-based diets?
Plant-based diets have been linked to a number of health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, diabetes and cognitive decline.
3. What are the most nutritious foods to choose in plant-based diets?
Foods such as beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and wholegrains such as oats, rice and cereal-based foods including breads and pasta can provide rich nutrients that are needed for good health. These nutrients include essential fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and plenty of fibre which is why taking a more plant-based approach to your diet is so beneficial for long term health.
4. How can you get the protein you need in plant-based diets?
Soy is a fantastic source of protein in a plant-based diet. It is high in amino acids and has an advantage over other plant-based proteins as it contains a complete amino acid profile, making it the only plant protein which is nutritionally comparable to animal proteins. Norvia Nutrition products contain soy protein isolate which is the purest type of soy protein, supplying all amino acids including the nine essential amino acids which people need to consume through their diet.
5. What are the benefits of soy in comparison to other plant-based protein sources?
The Cleveland Clinic states the following about the health benefits of soy:
- Eating soy is a great way to increase your plant protein. Research indicates that including more plant protein in your diet has clear cardiovascular benefits, such as lowering blood pressure.
- Soy foods are naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat.
- Animal protein foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and substituting them with soy a few times each week can help cut saturated fats and reduce your overall risk for disease.
- Eating soy-based foods is a great way to boost your fiber intake. Fiber promotes a healthy gastrointestinal system, reduces cholesterol, and is associated with a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Soy foods are a good source of polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats have a number of heart health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol. Choosing minimally processed soy foods will help you benefit from these heart-friendly fats.
- Soy foods contain omega-3 fats, essential polyunsaturated fats. Omega-3 fats are linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Soy foods are a great source of vitamins and minerals. B-vitamins, iron, zinc and an array of antioxidants round out the nutritional qualities of soy.
- Soy foods are a good source of phytochemicals. The phytochemicals in soy are called isoflavones. Isoflavones are currently being studied for their role in preventing postmenopausal bone loss and certain cancers.
6. What are the most important vitamins and minerals to consume on a plant-based diet and where can you get them?
Vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D are essential for vegetarians or those on a plant-based diet. Norvia Nutrition products are enriched with these nutrients and more to create a nutritionally complete formula.
7. What is the best way to meal plan on a plant-based diet?
On a plant based diet, it is important to include a variety of various plant foods, so that recommended intake of all essential nutrients are provided.
8. Which foods are healthy meat alternatives?
Healthy meat alternatives are:
- Nuts and Seeds
- Beans and Legumes
9. What’s the difference between a plant-based diet and being vegan?
Plant-based eating isn’t just about the addition of whole, plant foods such as fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, but also the elimination of all animal products, including meat, fish, eggs, dairy, gelatine and other animal by-products from one’s diet. Due to the elimination of animal products in a plant-based diet, it’s easy to see why one may consider plant-based diets to be the same as vegan.
When it comes to food, “plant-based” refers to whole, plant foods and not just foods considered to be “vegan”. For example, French fries or Oreos are in essence vegan, but are not considered to be “plant-based” as neither product resembles that of their original plant form. A “plant-based” meal may by definition be vegan, but a person who follows a plant-based diet is not necessarily a vegan, since they consume only plant-based products but choose to wear or use products in everyday life that are derived from animal products. This includes materials such as leather, silk, wool and lanolin that you can find in products such as clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup and beauty products which vegans will not use.