Being Vegan is a lifestyle choice and there are many reasons why someone would want to stay away from animal-based products. But, for some of us, the term “Vegan” can bring in an unsettling, incomplete and an uncertain feeling as a typical vegan diet doesn’t provide direct access to all the nutrients required. So, can a vegan diet really be healthy? Here is everything you need to know about the Vegan diet and whether the diet is reliable.
Who Are Vegans?
Vegans do not eat foods that are derived from animal products. However, most of us confuse vegetarianism with veganism. So, here is a clear differentiation of types of eaters so that you can recognise the type of eater that you are.
I’m a Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Who are you?
- Vegan – Vegans are the ones who solely depend on a plant-based diet. They completely avoid eggs and dairy products.
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian – The ones who consume eggs and dairy products along with the plant-based products but the ones who completely avoid meat, fish and poultry.
- Pescatarian – The ones who eat seafood along with the plant-based diet but avoid meat and poultry.
- Semi-vegetarian – The ones who eat fish and chicken but do not consume red meat.
Can A Vegan Lead A Healthy Lifestyle?
Irrespective of whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pescatarian or a semi-vegetarian, a healthy lifestyle requires selective eating. It is all about knowing the right ones to be added to the plate.
For instance, meat-eaters can acquire vitamin B12 much easier than vegetarians but the overconsumption of meat products can escalate heart problems. Planning a well-balanced diet with moderate consumption of meat along with other nutrients added to the diet can be of a prime advantage.
Vegans, on the other hand, have to keep a check on the amount and type of nutrients that they have been consuming so that they never get deprived of what they have been missing from meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
Planning to become a vegan? Boost the intake of these nutrients
Here is the list of nutrients that a vegan should consider adding to the diet to become healthy.
The daily recommended intake of protein varies depending upon the weight of the person. The intake should be 0.8 grams for every kilogram.
For example – A person weighing 50 kilograms requires 40 grams of protein per day.
Vegan sources of protein
Lean meat, fish and poultry are some best sources of proteins but vegans can still meet their daily recommended intake by consuming lentils, beans, chickpeas, green peas, amaranth, quinoa, sprouted grains, oats along with nuts and seeds.
Essential fatty acids are important for the proper growth and development of the nervous system. Research-based studies prove that they reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases, diabetes and even cancers.
Fish sources like fish oils and some fatty fish are the best sources of essential fatty acids but vegans can get their required dose of healthy fats too.
Vegan sources of Fatty Acids
Consider adding Brussels sprouts, flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, avocados, almonds, pistachios, olives, walnut oil, Algal oil and perilla oil into your diet.
Regular uptake of iron boosts your immunity, keeps you energised, improves the gastrointestinal functions and benefits pregnant women by decreasing the chances of premature birth.
Iron is necessary for a proper supply of oxygen and nutrients to each and every cell of your body.
Vegan sources of Iron
Nuts and seeds – Flax Seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, pine nuts
Vegetables – Tomatoes, potatoes and mushrooms along with fruits like olives, mulberries and prune juices and
Whole grains – Quinoa, oatmeal, amaranth, spelt and brown rice.
Zinc is required for wound healing, improving the chances of fertility, for boosting the brainpower, decreasing the risk of chronic disorders, improving the vision, imparting a clear skin and a robust hair growth.
Here is how you can utilise the best benefits of henna for hair growth.
Vegan sources of Zinc
Fortified cereals, hemp seeds, oatmeal, quinoa, green peas, black beans, chia seeds, pecans, avocados, spinach, flax seeds, asparagus, lima seeds are the best ones to go for.
Calcium is essential for a healthy formation of bones and teeth, regulation of blood pressure, prevention of heart problems, diabetes and cancer.
Vegan Sources of Calcium
Acquiring calcium can be quite challenging for vegans since dairy products (the best sources of calcium) are eliminated from the diet.
There are still some best plant sources of calcium that can be considered – like beans, peas, lentils, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, okra and kale. spinach, collard greens and turnips.
Fruits like figs, blackberries, black currants, raspberries and oranges
Seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds
Nuts like brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios are
Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and anaemia prevention, preventing birth defects, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, boosting your energy levels and helping in a healthy formation of skin, hair and nails.
Vegan Sources of Vitamin B12
Getting vitamin B12 can be a great challenge for vegans since most of the vitamin B12 sources include meat products and dairy products.
Breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast and nori are some best vegan sources of vitamin B12.
Now that you are aware of what a vegan needs to do for a healthy and rich lifestyle, you can ensure the intake of all the above-mentioned nutrients, make a list of all the foods rich in these nutrients to call yourself a proud vegan.