Health

WHAT IS THE DAILY DOZEN? | VEGAN | Dr. Michael Greger

If you are vegan, vegetarian or are into health you’d probably head about The Daily Dozen, mentioned in last Dr. Michael Greger’s book, “How Not To Die”.

The Daily Dozen is a list of essential plant foods you should eat every single day for optimum health and well being, as he mentions:

“The more I’ve researched over the years, the more I’ve come to realize that healthy foods are not necessarily interchangeable. Some foods and food groups have special nutrients not found in abundance elsewhere. For example, sulforaphane, the amazing liver-enzyme detox-boosting compound, is derived nearly exclusively from cruciferous vegetables. You could eat tons of other kinds of greens and vegetables on a given day, and get no appreciable sulforaphane if you didn’t eat something cruciferous.” -Dr. Michael Greger

And for those of you who haven’t heard of it, let’s break it down!

Here are some food groups and serving sizes suggestions from his book that will help you make sure you are getting everything you need from your vegan dishes.

BEANS

Black beans, butter beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, edamame/soybeans, peas, kidney, haricot, lentils, pinto etc.

Serving sizes:

  • 60g hummus or bean dip – (3 tbsp)
  • 130g cooked beans, lentils, tofu – (1/3 tin/can beans, drained or 1/3 standard tofu block)
  • 150g fresh peas or sprouted lentils

BERRIES

Acai berries, barberries (good for acne), blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, goji berries, raspberries, strawberries etc.

Serving sizes:

  • 60g fresh or frozen – (3 tbsp)
  • 40g dried – (1 generous handful)

Greens are the healthiest vegetables, and berries are the healthiest fruits. Colourful foods are often healthier because they contain antioxidant pigments. The colours are the antioxidants: so red onions have more than white, red grapes have more than green, red apples have more than green, red cabbage has more than green etc.

OTHER FRUITS

Apples, dried apricots, avocado, bananas, clementines, dates, dried figs, kiwi, limes, nectarines, oranges, pears, black plums, pomegranates (with dried fruit it’s recommended to choose the unsulphured varieties).

Serving sizes:

  • 1 medium-sized fruit
  • 120g cut up fruit
  • 40g dried fruit – (1 generous handful)

If you are drinking fruit, blending is better than juicing to preserve nutrition. Adding citrus/zest to your meals not only adds colour and flavour, but also nutritional value.

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

Rocket, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, mustard greens, watercress etc.

Serving sizes

  • 30-80g chopped
  • 12g brussel or broccoli sprouts – (approx. 2 sprouts)
  • 1 tbsp horseradish

Chop up your veg about 40 minutes before you cook it. This preserves the healthy enzymes within. When making soup – blend the veggies first!

GREENS

Rocket, collard greens, kale, spinach, swiss chard etc.

Serving sizes:

  • 60g raw – (1/5 of the bag)
  • 90g cooked

Smoothies are a great way to get children to eat their greens! The basic triad is a liquid, ripe fruit, and fresh greens. For example, 250ml of water or plant milk, a frozen banana, 120g of frozen berries, and 60 grams of baby spinach would be a classic green smoothie 101.(Baby spinach may have higher levels of phytonutrients (the good stuff!) than mature spinach leaves.)

Add some plant fats to your salad to maximise absorption. When researchers tried feeding people a salad of spinach, romaine, carrots, and tomatoes along with a source of fat, there was an impressive spike in carotenoid phytonutrients in their bloodstream over the next eight hours. That’s just a single walnut or a spoonful of avocado or shredded coconut.

OTHER VEGETABLES

Artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, peppers, carrots, sweetcorn, garlic, mushrooms, okra, onions, pumpkin, sea vegetables, snap peas, squash, sweet potato, tomatoes, courgette etc.

Serving sizes:

  • 60g raw leafy veg – (3/4 of salad bag)
  • 50g raw or cooked non-leafy veg
  • 125ml veg juice
  • 7g dried mushroom

White cauliflower doesn’t appear to have much to offer at first glance, but because it belongs to the cruciferous family, it’s one of your healthiest options. Similarly, white mushrooms provide myconutrients not found anywhere else in the plant kingdom.

When picking out tomato products, choose whole, crushed or chopped tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, puree, or paste. Drinking tomato juice is great for your immune system.

Top cancer-fighting vegetables are cauliflower, brussel sprouts, green onion, leek, and garlic. The single most effective vegetable is garlic, which came first against breast cancer. Deep-fried foods have been associated with higher cancer risk so they are best avoided.

FLAXSEEDS

1 tbsp, ground

NUTS AND SEEDS

Almonds, Brazil, cashew, chia seeds, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame, sunflower, walnuts etc.

Serving sizes:

  • 30g nuts or seeds – (1 handful)
  • 2 tbsp of nut or seed butter

Of all the nuts studied, researchers found the greatest benefit was associated with walnuts, particularly for preventing cancer deaths. People who ate more than three servings of walnuts per week appeared to cut their risk of dying from cancer in half.

WHOLE GRAINS

Barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, popcorn, quinoa, rye, teff, whole-wheat pasta, wild rice etc.

Serving sizes:

  • 100g hot cereal / cooked grains, pasta, sweetcorn kernels
  • 50g cold cereal
  • 1 tortilla wrap/slice of whole-meal bread
  • 30g popped popcorn

HERBS AND SPICES

Allspice, basil, bay leaves, cardamom, chilli powder, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder, dill, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, horseradish, lemongrass, marjoram, mustard powder, nutmeg, oregano, smoked paprika, parsley, pepper, peppermint, rosemary, saffron, sage, thyme, turmeric, and vanilla.

Serving size:

  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric, along with any other (salt-free) herbs and spices.

BEVERAGES

Water, black tea, chai tea, vanilla chamomile tea, coffee, earl grey tea, green tea, hibiscus tea, hot chocolate, jasmine tea, lemon balm tea, matcha tea, almond blossom oolong tea, peppermint tea, rooibos tea and white tea.

Serving size:

  • 1 glass

And to make it all easier for you we created Daily Dozen Checklist for you to use every day!

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