Today’s blog was written by Jess Menzel, who consults from the Mammoth Health Naturopathy clinic. Jess’s area of interest lies in plant-based lifestyles and an environmentally conscious and sustainable approach to healthcare. Jess works collaboratively with her clients to help them achieve optimal health and wellbeing and today she writes about Plant Power…
Do you get your 5 a day?
Did you know that only 4% of Australians eat the recommended 5 serves of vegetables per day?
In fact, the average Australian eats only half that amount (Nutrition Australia, 2019).
We all know that vegetables (and fruits) are beneficial foods that positively impact our health, but why are they so important?
Fruits and vegetables, along with legumes, nuts seeds and wholegrains, contain an abundance of phytonutrients, essential vitamins and minerals and contain antioxidant compounds as well as fibre. All of which benefits health and helps to reduce the risk of disease.(Tuso et al. 2013).
A whole food, predominately plant-based, diet has been shown to increase longevity and reduce the incidence of disease and premature death.
There are communities in the world that have been identified as ‘Blue Zones‘. These populations have shown to have the highest number of centenarians (people over 100 years old) and the lowest incidence of disease.
Research conducted within these populations indicate that they share various diet and lifestyle factors, one of which is a wholefood, predominately plant-based, diet which features daily consumption of vegetables and legumes (Blue Zones, 2020).
Plant-based foods contain a high number of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which have been shown to reduce DNA damage and degradation by preventing the shortening of telomeres.
Telomeres are little caps that sit on the end of chromosomes, which contain your DNA, protecting their physical integrity and preventing chromosomal ‘fraying’.
Telomere length is considered a biomarker of aging: shorter telomeres are associated with a decreased life expectancy and increased rates of age-related chronic diseases. Telomere shortening has been shown to be accelerated by oxidative stress and inflammation (Crous-Bou et al. 2019).
Thus the antioxidant properties of a variety of vegetables and fruits have a protective effect on your telomeres.
There is no Planet B
Research indicates that higher consumption of animal-based foods is associated with a higher environmental impact, whereas increased consumption of plant-based foods is associated with the lowest environmental impact (Willett et al. 2019).
So now is a great time to take stock and consider the amount of animal-based foods you are consuming.
By embracing a predominantly plant-based diet and being mindful of how much animal-based food you are eating, you are not only benefiting your health both in the short-term and in the long-term, you are also benefiting our environment by reducing your impact on our earth.
My Tips for increasing plant consumption
- Eat a rainbow each day– include lots of different coloured plant-based foods in your diet daily
- Add vegetables such as spinach, kale, cucumber and avocado to smoothies
- Add vegetables in baking or cooking by grating them in finely. Beetroot, zucchini, sweet potato and carrot are great options.
- Add a serve of vegetables to your breakfast and lunch as well as dinner
- Snack on vegetables throughout the day e.g veggie sticks and a plant-based dip
- Introduce some meat free days into your week and/or try Veganuary, Meat Free May or the 30-day Vegan Challenge.
Jess has been passionate about natural health and the idea of holistically treating the cause of dis-ease since her teens.
“Naturopathy is such a wonderful modality of healthcare. It draws upon a combination of evidence based and traditional healthcare practices to holistically treat each client on an individual basis.”
When working with clients, Jess uses herbal and nutritional medicine, lifestyle coaching and functional testing to holistically address a variety of health issues and promote vitality and longevity.
As an animal lover and someone with a keen interest in conserving our beautiful planet, Jess is also passionate about living a plant-based, environmentally conscious and sustainable lifestyle.
“As consumers, we have so much power in terms of how and where we choose to spend our time and money. I believe we all have a responsibility to make healthy, ethical and environmentally sustainable choices, and I enjoy helping people navigate that.”
Jess believes that like any change, achieving a healthy, plant-based diet and lifestyle requires some planning and discipline. Common recommendations for clients wanting to follow a plant-based diet may include eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains, whilst avoiding or limiting animal products and processed foods.
One of Jess’ favourite quotes comes from renowned health journalist Michael Pollan,
“Eat [real] food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”
Jess recognises that there is a lot of conflicting health and dietary information available these days, and that it can be overwhelming and confusing to make sense of.
“As a naturopath, I am interested in figuring out what will work best for my clients as individuals and assisting them in achieving optimal health and vitality so they can live their best lives.”
If you are ready to transition or embrace a plant-based lifestyle but not quite sure if you are doing it right it is the time to Book a Professional Naturopathy consultation with Jess Menzel.
By working on your individual health needs and symptoms, Jess experiences great success in addressing underlying causes and achieving optimal health and vitality for her patients.
Book your Consultation Now
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