The vegan diet has increased in popularity over the past few years and continues to do so. There are varied reasons why people who are vegans choose to adopt this diet scheme. But most of the reasons are due to the health benefits that this type of diet can offer. It is linked to reducing the risk of various health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and some types of cancers. 

Concerns and Risks of a Vegan Diet

 

                                                                   How to get enough nutrients as a vegan. (Image Source: Unsplash)

 

But while the benefits of a vegan diet are scientifically proven, there are still some concerns about its possible nutritional deficiencies. 

 

Omitting Various Food Types

When you become a vegan, you omit certain types of food from your diet. Among those items are meat, eggs, dairy, and other forms of animal by-products. Vegans do not consume food that is sourced from an animal, which includes honey. 

Losing Out Nutrients

When you eliminate certain food items from your diet, it poses a risk because you could be losing out on the vital nutrients that are found in these food items. The question now is how you can develop a healthy and balanced vegan meal plan that can provide the essential nutrients your body needs. 

The Balance

The answer to the risks of a vegan diet is in creating the right balance. This is possible as long as you eat equal amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Along with protein replacements, you can achieve a healthy and nutritious diet. 

 

You can learn more information on this page about how to develop a vegan meal plan that would suit your body’s needs and when bodybuilding.

Tips in Getting a Balanced Nutrition as a Vegan

The point of emphasis for vegans when it comes to creating a healthy meal plan is to get a little bit of everything. Make sure you consume equal parts of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and other components of a vegan diet. This will ensure that you can truly maximize the benefits that the vegan diet has to offer:

Plan a healthy and well-balanced vegan diet. 

The goal is to get as much as you can per every nutritional source as possible. When you consume fruits or vegetables, try to eat as many varieties of them as you can. The same goes for the whole grains you consume, along with legumes and nuts. When all else fails, consult a licensed dietitian to help create a vegan meal plan for you. 

Follow the Ideal RDI 

The ideal recommended daily intake (RDI) for each nutritional food source will vary accordingly. Use this guideline to know how much of which certain food items to consume daily: 2 ½ cup a day of vegetables, 2 cups a day of fruits, 27 grams a day of oil, and 6 ½ ounces a day for whole grains. 

Proper and Enough Protein Intake

Focus on getting adequate protein-rich food items to your daily diet to make up for protein that you lose from not eating meat. For those who follow a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet, eggs and dairy are good sources of protein. 

 

But for vegans, you can replace meat and animal products with soy, tofu, lentils, nuts, seeds, and chickpeas. Women and men need 45 grams and 55 grams of protein per day, accordingly. To give you an idea, one serving of tofu contains 20 grams of protein. 

Find Calcium-rich foods

Calcium is another important nutrient that your body needs but can be at risk of suffering deficiency from the vegan diet. Milk is known as the primary source of calcium. But vegans do not consume animal by-products, such as milk and cheese. But the good news is that you can get calcium from other sources. 

 

Among the best plant-based sources of calcium are kale, soy milk, collard greens, spinach, sesame seeds, almonds, carrots, broccolini, and rice milk. Try to consume as much of these as part of your daily diet to ensure you get an adequate amount of calcium.

Seek for Iron in your meals

Iron is another essential nutrient needed by the body to maintain the production of red blood cells. Without enough red blood cells, you can develop anemia or be overcome by autoimmune diseases. Iron is also responsible for distributing oxygen throughout the body. 

 

For vegans, there are plenty of good sources of iron such as raisins, broccoli, wheat, tofu, and beans. You can also find iron-fortified cereals in the market today. Make sure to include this into your daily meal plan to maintain your iron levels in the body.

Don't forget Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are known as healthy kinds of fat that your body needs to improve brain function and promote heart health. Thankfully, you can get a lot of omega 3 fatty acids even if you do not eat fish, which are known as good sources of this kind of fat. 

 

To get omega 3 fatty acids on a vegan diet, you need to add flaxseed oil to your daily diet. In some cases, omega 3 fatty acid supplements are also recommended for vegans. Just make sure that it does not come from a fish source.

                                                             What a well-balanced vegan diet looks like. (Image Source: Unsplash)

 

Fill Your Body with Folate and B12

Vegans are also concerned about the number of vitamin B12 in their diet. But you need not worry anymore because the vegan diet is rich in folate. Folate can be used to mask any deficiency in vitamin B12. Make sure you include fortified soy products and vitamin-enriched cereals as part of your daily diet to prevent this problem.

Supplement your meals with Iodine

Iodine is another important type of nutrient that many vegans are known to suffer a deficiency. But with a well-planned meal, you can supplement iodine in your system. 

 

Vegan food items such as sweet potatoes, cruciferous vegetables, and soybeans are good sources of iodine. As a vegan, you need to consciously incorporate these food items into your diet so you can get enough amount of iodine. 

How to Be Healthy as a Vegan

As a vegan, you can enjoy one of the healthiest diets available to humans. But this also requires making balanced choices – and this also means making healthy food choices. The general rule to follow is to choose high-quality foods that will nourish your body with the vital nutrients you need. And always keep an eye out for any nutritional problems or deficiencies. If there are any changes to your weight, skin, or hair, it is best to consult a doctor.

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