Health and wellness expert Vanessa Ascencao – a nutritional consultant – answers your critical questions about whether a plant-based diet really does increase your metabolism and help you lose weight…
So, let’s be honest: does a plant-based diet actually increase metabolism?
Plant-based diets are loaded with phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and other phytochemicals that provide the body with nourishment and, yes, help improve metabolism. At a cellular level, it increases the function of the mitochondria, known as the powerhouses of the cell.
It’s important to focus on your nutrient intake, not on calories. When you eat a natural plant-based diet with the removal of processed foods you automatically feed your cells optimum nutrients and your body will self-regulate and reach optimal weight. Eating a plethora of plant-based foods means you eat less of the bad stuff and body fat will naturally decrease.
How does increased fibre rev metabolism?
Increased fibre-rich foods in the diet such as beans, legumes, flax seeds, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and oats can help boost metabolism, improve gut health, reduce the risk of heart disease and lower inflammation – the root cause of most chronic disease today. Since the body can’t easily digest fibre, it works extra hard to try to break it down, which leads to (you guessed it) weight loss.
To see lasting results, in addition to increasing fibre-rich produce, you need to live a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and nutritious food. I also advocate supplementing with green tea extract, which helps to fight disease, or the plant compound berberine, which supports gut health, helps to reduce inflammation and assists in regulating metabolism.
Is plant-based protein as effective as meat protein in firing up metabolism?
Foods derived from both plants and animals can provide protein. If you like the idea of following a plant-based diet, focus on including plenty of nutrient-dense vegetables, good quality fats and less refined foods. Try to limit “meat alternatives” as many varieties are loaded with sugar, oil and excess salt, which can contribute to water retention. The less processed your diet, the better.
What are some of the best sources of plant-based protein and fibre?
As far as protein goes, think fruit, veggies, legumes and nuts, almonds, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas and beans. To fill up on fibre, go for fruits such as berries, apples, mangos, pears, melons and oranges; leafy green veg such as broccoli, kale and carrots; nuts, seeds, beans and legumes.