The vegan diet became popular as more people began switching or transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. Two of the major reasons for this are ethical beliefs and environmental concerns. People who follow this lifestyle avoid using all types of animal-based goods. Some of the not so obvious products they avoid using are honey, gelatin, insect-based coloring agents, fur, leather, silk, and so on. The purpose of this article is to discuss ensuring nutrients from a vegan diet; read on to know more about this.
Vegan Diet And Improved Health
Listed below are the major health benefits from following a well-planned vegan diet:
- Low blood pressure
- Low cholesterol levels
- Reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease
- Reduced intake of saturated fats
- Better body weight
These health benefits of a vegan diet are due to the lower calorie content, higher amounts of fiber, and healthy fats in plant-based food. However, those who strictly follow this diet have a higher risk of developing certain deficiency diseases because plant-based food is low on certain nutrients.
Listed below are the nutrients that you must pay special attention to when preparing a vegan meal.
- Calcium: Our body has difficulty absorbing calcium from plant-based food. Because of this, you must consume calcium-rich foods like leafy greens like kale, bok choy, and broccoli, and soybean.
- Iron: The non-heme iron in fruits, vegetables, and grains are not easily absorbed by the body. So, you must consume plant-based foods that are good sources of iron like wheat, beans, broccoli, tofu, and iron-fortified cereals.
- Zinc: This essential nutrient is required for proper immune system functioning.
- Protein: Proteins are essential macronutrients of any diet because they are an important component of muscles, skin, organs, bones, etc. Plant proteins are incomplete proteins and so, you must include a wide variety of plant-based foods in your vegan diet.
- Vitamin B12: B vitamins are essential for red blood cell production, and they are absent in most plant-based food. To get the vitamin, vegans must consume vitamin B12 fortified food.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin is essential for bone growth and calcium absorption from food.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: This essential fatty acid is required for proper brain function and heart health.
When buying readymade food, vegans must look for the following ingredients and avoid them:
- Carmine or cochineal
On a final note, before switching to a vegan diet, you must consult a physician, especially if you are doing it for health reasons.