Regardless of whether you’re a vegan, or thinking about switching, the topic of nutrient sources is something that often comes up.
Since vegans completely avoid meat, dairy, fish, and eggs, it has left many people scratching their heads as to where people get their nutrients from.
So, if you’re looking for ways to easily boot your nutrient intake to remain as healthy as possible while being vegan, you’ll be interested to see what the best sources are.
For vegans, getting enough protein to remain healthy is very doable. There are tons of different sources that you could turn to. This is because there are many foods that contain at least some protein.
However, a vegan’s main sources of protein would come from the following:
- Peanut butter
Calcium is high in a variety of different foods. These include tofu, and leafy vegetables that are dark green in colour. Not to mention orange juice and soymilk too.
Vegans typically don’t have a problem getting enough calcium in their diets. However, if you are struggling, you could always turn to supplements.
The human body creates vitamin D after being exposed to natural sunlight. Experts recommend getting around 15 minutes of sun exposure a few times per week. But there are also other vitamin D sources, such as fortified mushrooms or easy-to-use supplements.
Fort the most part, vegan diets hardly contain any saturated fats. As a result, the chances of problems like cancer and heart disease are reduced. The fat content in a vegan diet tends to come from healthier fat sources. These include avocados, nuts, olives, seeds, and olive oil.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly useful for lowering your risk of health conditions, such as heart disease and arthritis. Some of the top sources of these healthy fats in a vegan diet are walnuts, flaxseeds, tofu, and canola oil.
Some of the best sources of iron are leafy green vegetables and beans. You can improve how well your body absorbs iron by boosting your vitamin C content. As a result, all of the iron you receive from your diet can be put to use and benefit your body.
The best ways to get more iron include eating the following foods:
- Kidney beans
- Blackstrap molasses
- Swiss chard
- Black eyed peas
- Black beans
Despite the fact that our overall requirements for vitamin B12 are low in comparison to other nutrients, it doesn’t make it any less important. Foods like soymilk, cereals, and rice milk contain this vitamin.
However, for a vegan, using a vitamin B12 supplement has proven to be the most effective method. These commonly come in the form of nutritional yeast that are high in B12.
Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet
When you structure a vegan diet properly, it can have some incredible effects on your health.
Some of the most profound health benefits include the following:
- Lower blood pressure
- Healthier cholesterol levels
- Smaller chance of developing cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes
- Healthier body fat percentage
However, to benefit from the vegan diet and experience the above health advantages, planning your diet is vital. Ultimately, going vegan requires far more closer attention to details daily than other diets.
Well, you’re having to balance a variety of vitamins and minerals. All of which need to be fine tuned to your dietary requirements. Being on a vegan diet automatically makes it harder to get these nutrients in daily. If you don’t play close attention, you could increase your chances of various health risks.
Having said that, if you do maintain your dietary needs everyday, studies show us how incredible the benefits can be.
One study conducted in 2015 revealed that people who are on vegan diets put their bodies in a better position to prevent cardiovascular disease, hyper tension, and type 2 diabetes. This was in comparison to a vegetarian diet.
The reasoning behind this was because vegan diets are plant-based and end up being very low in saturated fats.
Possible Downsides of Being Vegan
While there are some definite positive effects that being vegan can have on your health, there are also some potential pitfalls that you should know about. These are useful to know whether you’re already a vegan or thinking of becoming one.
The sudden weight loss that people commonly encounter when they first start a vegan diet can surprisingly be one of the biggest dangers.
Even though losing weight is a great thing to boost your health, when it happens too quickly, it could lead to more health issues instead.
Initially, being on a vegan diet often feels very restrictive. You may realise you’re appetite is increased and this can cause poor food choices. A lot of the time, people are more likely to crave processed foods that are packed with sugars and carbs.
This commonly happens because you’ve put your body through a very sudden weight loss phase. It begins to make you crave more food as a result and clouds your judgement on the healthy picks.
However, there is a way to prevent his issue.
Weight loss experts recommend that people switching from a regular to vegan diet should do so gradually. Before making the change, make sure to set a solid plan in stone that you’ll stick to in order to slowly transition into becoming a vegan.
Alternative Protein Sources
Since a vegan’s main sources of protein include things like pules and legumes, it means being extra attentive to combining them for optimal nutrients. This simply means eating your beans or legumes with the correct grains for the best nutritional outcome. But many people struggle doing this on a daily basis.
When it comes to digesting these different protein sources, it can create some issues. The biggest reason being that many people aren’t used to eating them. As a result, your digestive system may be struggling, and you often feel bloated.
But it’s important to keep in mind that this is part of the process. You can alleviate the severity of these effects too by drinking a lot more water. This alone is an excellent way to help the new protein sources become more easily digestible.
Additional Tips for Going Vegan
The Reason Why You Went Vegan
Since veganism, in the beginning especially, requires more effort on a daily basis, it can feel tiring keeping up with it all. However, turning vegan isn’t something that just happens. You most likely have strong reasons, right?
Regardless of whether it be for health or moral purposes, you will encounter bad days. The biggest thing to keep in mind on these days is the reasons why you made the change. If you’ve noticed the amazing health benefits so far, focus on how it makes you feel.
This alone can work as an incredible mental boost to keep you on track.
Be Open Minded
Being on a vegan diet will naturally feel pretty restrictive, more so at the start. However, if you enter the diet with a closed off mindset, you’ll only ever experience a fraction of what veganism has to offer.
Making sure to be open minded will make your journey much easier. Make it a mission to be on a constant search for new recipes. You’ll slowly begin to develop new tastes for dishes from all over the world.
As we’ve briefly mentioned, people going on a vegan diet for the first time often feel a lot hungrier than usual. This is because the plant-based diet includes foods that are low in caloric content. So, if you’re not satisfied after a meal, think about adding more volume to it.
This can be done simply by boosting the amount of vegetables on your plate. They’re packed with fibre, which works to keep you satiated, and you also receive even more nutrients.
Find a Community
Finding a group of vegans to identify with can help greatly to keep you motivated. This doesn’t have to be a weekly group that you attend.
It could be something as simple as joining a vegan message board where other like-minded people are sharing recipes and thoughts.
The vegan diet is very specific about what you can include, but this doesn’t have to be an issue. All it requires is a little time to meal prep. You don’t even have to do this everyday.
Many people like to prep their meals for the next day or two in one hit. This eliminates any of the stress and reduces your chances of grabbing unhealthier food choices during the upcoming days.
The countless number of studies carried out into veganism clearly shows that it can be amazing for your health. However, this is only the case if you do it correctly.
This means sticking to your nutritional plan daily and being sure to get plenty of the nutrients mentioned above.
Even going a short duration of time without remaining properly balanced can have negative effects on your health. That being said, if you use the foods and nutrients that we’ve discussed, you’ll be on the right track.