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You might decide to transition to a vegan diet for countless reasons, from a passion for animal rights to a desire to adhere to religious teachings.
No matter what motivates you to eat a vegan diet, being healthy and vigorous is a worthy goal. Some studies suggest meat and animal products offer nutrients that plants don’t provide in the same quantities, so it’s vital to explore how you can eat well and take great care of yourself. In this post we have some basic nutrition tips to help you as a vegan, so read on to learn more.
Diversify Your Plant-Based Diet
include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds to ensure you get a broad range of nutrients. This helps prevent nutrient deficiencies and provides essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Be Aware of Protein
Paying attention to protein will aid in maintaining good health while you eat a vegan diet, as you need to locate quality plant-based sources of protein. Fortunately, countless vegan foods are surprisingly high in protein, including legumes and beans like peas or lentils, nuts, seeds, and more. Adding these foods to your daily diet will benefit your body and mind far more than you could ever expect, as protein is an essential compound for many different tasks, including growth and repair. You don’t need to go crazy, or obsess about it—read more about sensible protein intake in our recent post.
Ensure Adequate Iron Intake
Plant-based sources of iron, such as lentils, spinach, tofu, and fortified cereals, can help maintain healthy iron levels. Pair iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits or bell peppers to enhance iron absorption.
Eat The Rainbow
Eating a rainbow of foods that boast a variety of different colors is a great way to maintain good health as a vegan. This doesn’t mean eating bags full of artificially colored candy; it means eating lots of different fruits and vegetables of all shades and tones. For example, the perfect vegan salad should be littered with colors, from red tomatoes to green spinach and yellow corn. Finding tasty recipes with lots of fruit and vegetables will help you eat the rainbow. This simple and easy chard recipe is a delicious example that you can try to get a big nutrient boost.
Remember Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is something that every vegan person is likely to have heard about at some point, as many people believe it is a vitamin that is only found in animal products. This isn’t true, but it’s not as common in plant-based foods, so you should take extra steps to ensure you get a sufficient amount. B12 is essential for the health of your nervous system, among many other things, so not getting enough could lead to adverse side effects. One great food is nutritional yeast, a brilliant vegan source of B12 that also provides a ‘cheesy’ flavor many people miss on a plant-based diet – it’s a win!
Pay Attention To Omegas
While animal products are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vegans can get their share from sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and algae-based supplements, which provide essential omega-3 fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Omega fatty acids (3, 5, 6, 7 &9) are important for everyone and support brain, heart, skin, hair, and digestive tract health, as well as reducing the risk of some types of cancer. Read all about them in our post “Omegas! Why We Need Them“.
Remember to consult with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to tailor your vegan diet to your specific needs, as individual requirements can vary based on factors like age, gender, activity level, and health status.