Veganism has seen increased adoption over the last few years as it promotes a way of living that is against animal exploitation and cruelty, be it in the form of food we consume or clothes we wear. A vegan diet has no animal products, meat, eggs and dairy. People following this diet are able to lose weight efficiently and keep their blood pressure and diabetes in check.
While there are many advantages of following a vegan diet, a diet based mostly on plant food sources can cause nutritional deficiencies.
Here’s how a vegan diet could cause nutritional deficiencies
Adopting a well-balanced diet is an ideal proposition for both vegans and non-vegans. Specifically, in the context of a vegan diet, plant-based foods may not be the right food sources to derive critical nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium and zinc.
A deficiency of these nutrients may cause health problems, such as fatigue, skin rashes, constipation, loss of appetite, lack of focus, and mood fluctuations. More serious conditions such as anaemia may also develop as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency and vitamin D deficiency could lead to osteoporosis.
Here are some diet tips for vegans to avoid nutritional deficiencies
1. Have seeds on a daily basis
Seeds such as flax, pumpkin and chia contain high amounts of iron, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. You can include seeds in your fruit juice or eat them as is to protect you against fatigue and your cells from harmful free radicals produced during metabolic processes.
2. Include vitamin B12 rich foods in your diet
Avocados, mushrooms and soy milk are great vegan food choices to boost your vitamin B12 intake. These foods are also rich in iron, magnesium and fiber, thereby making you feel full and providing the required nutrients to your body. Regular consumption of these foods will help ward off fatigue, reduce your risk of unplanned weight loss and anaemia.
3. Go green
Broccoli and spinach can be easily included in your diet to provide delicious and nutritious foods to your palate, without compromising on the vegan diet. These green veggies are rich in iron, fibre, protein, calcium, selenium and magnesium. So, be it fighting anaemia, boosting immunity or strengthening bones, these vegetables will help improve your overall health.
4. Pump some iron
Legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and soybeans contain high quantities of iron. Legumes are also a good source of folate, magnesium, and potassium and can help reduce the risk of heart diseases and lower blood levels of damaging LDL cholesterol. Try having legumes with vitamin C rich foods such as tomatoes to increase iron absorption.
So, ladies, try these tips to avoid nutritional deficiencies and boost your overall health and wellbeing!