This list is just a short version of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. The aim is to eat a variety of plant based foods, so you can get all the essential nutrients your body needs. This will also offer a diversity of phytonutrients, some of them only present in specific foods groups with unique effects in our bodies.
If we take a meal as an example; think of a plate, half of it should be vegetables, a quarter legumes and another quarter whole grains, add a small side green salad and a piece of fruit for dessert. If you eat legumes with vegetables for lunch, try to eat a big salad with some whole grains for dinner and so on. If one day you don’t eat very well, don’t worry, just try to eat better the next. When you are preparing a meal, always think of how you can make it healthier.
- Legumes (3 servings)
- Whole Grains (3 servings)
- Vegetable (5 servings). From which 2 should be Greens and 1 Cruciferous.
- Fruits (4 servings). From which 1 should be Berries.
- Nuts (1 servings)
- Flaxseeds (1 servings)
Note: between brackets the recommended daily portions of each food group.
Beans and Whole Grains provide you the bulk of your daily calories, as well as protein, iron, fibre, calcium etc…
Vegetables and Fruits offer you many of the vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre and phytonutrients. Greens will contribute with the calcium supply and Cruciferous veg with Sulforaphane – a substance that amongst other things enhances the activity of our liver’s detoxification enzymes. Berries have the highest antioxidant content per serving compared to any other food, except spices.
Nuts add Vit E, magnesium, zinc, other vitamins and minerals, along with essential fatty acids (omega 3/ omega 6), phytonutrients and fibre.
Flaxseeds, in its ground form, are an excellent source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, and also contain the highest amount of lignans, which are the most protective phytonutrients known against breast and prostate cancers.
Vit B12 – If you follow 100% a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet, you MUST supplement with this vitamin. It’s a key nutrient to maintain good health. Supplementation can be made via fortified foods like soy drinks, cereals or nutritional yeast for example, two/three times a day, or via nutritional supplements. Some experts recommend 2,500 micrograms of Cyanocobalamin once a week, others, 1,000 micrograms of Methylcobalamin once a week.
It’s also recommended to drink between 4 to 7 glasses of water a day, and 90min of moderate exercise like walking, or 40min of intense exercise like running, cycling etc…
1 Serving of Legumes – 1/4 cup of hummus or 1/2 cup of cooked Legumes (Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, Peas, Tofu or Tempeh)
1 Serving of Whole grains – 1/2 cup of cooked pasta or rice, cereals… or 1 slice of bread
1 Serving of Vegetables – 1 cup of raw vegetables or 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables
1 Serving of Fruits – 1 medium size fruit, 1 cup of cut fruit, 1/4 cup of dried fruit
1 Serving of Nuts – 1/4 cup of nuts or 2Tbsp of nut butter
1 Serving of Seeds – 1Tbsp of ground seeds