10 Nutrients You Can Only Get From Plants

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com


The difference between plant foods and animal foods is vast.  Although some nutrients can be found in both, there are some that are only found in plants and others that are only found in animal foods. We are omnivores by nature, so it only makes sense that for optimal nutrition, we should follow a balanced diet that includes both plant and animal foods.

However, the recent popularity of the Paleo diet and the Atkins diet has led many people to think that they don’t really need plant protein or other plant nutrients. This is a mistake as there are many nutrients that we can only get from plants.

If you are following one of the popular high proteins, low-carb diets, you could be missing out on some important nutrients that your body really needs.

Keep reading: We have made a list of 10 nutrients that you can only get from plants.


1.  Resistant Starch

The most common type of carbohydrates in plant foods are starches. Most starches are well digested, but some are difficult to digest. We call these types of starches “resistant starch. “These starches encourage the colon to grow more beneficial bacteria, which improves colon health. Several studies also show that these types of starches may keep us feeling full longer and limit the amount of sugar that is absorbed by the blood after meals. You can find these resistant starches in most beans, bananas, whole grain cereal, and pasta, and potatoes that have been cooked and then allowed to cool. Resistant starches and regular starches are full of fiber, which is vital for the health and prevention of colorectal cancer, lower cholesterol levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease.


2.  Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for the body and it cannot be found in any useful amount in animal foods. This powerful antioxidant is important for the support of a healthy immune system and the maintenance of connective tissue in the body. A lack of vitamin C can cause a disease called scurvy, which shows itself through mottled skin, fatigue, and in advanced states, it causes uncontrolled bleeding, loss of the teeth, and even death. A diet high in animal foods does not contain enough vitamin C for the body to function properly. You can get vitamin C from the consumption of raw meat and raw liver, but who wants to do that? (Except perhaps your dog). Consuming high levels of vitamin C can improve the health of blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, and even protect the brain from age-related mental decline.


3.  Lignans

Lignans are polyphenols, not true carbohydrates. You can find lignans in most plant foods, including  seeds, especially flax seeds, and whole grains. Lignans are fermented in the intestines. This process turns them into phytoestrogens, which are then absorbed by the blood. Phytoestrogens are very important to our health and have been linked to a much lower risk of heart disease and breast cancer.

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