For years we have known human eating habits as vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The ”vegan diet’ seems to be a new introduction, and many tend to rubbish it as a food trend. But vegan or plant-based diet is neither temporary nor new. It has been around for centuries, but people have not been so vocal about the benefits.
This article introduces the vegan diet and explains how it provides all the necessary nutrients to nourish the body.
What is a Vegan diet?
The term ‘vegan’ first came into prominence in 1944. Vegans are those individuals who follow a plant-based diet eliminating meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and other animal-based foods. They follow a sustainable lifestyle choosing vegan clothing, personal care products, and home care items. The key motive of following veganism is to enjoy a healthy life without interfering with nature and its beings.
Why is a Vegan diet beneficial to health?
Though a vegan diet is debatable and an unhealthy way of life for many, studies have proven that a knowledgeable inclusion of food products can help stay healthy even with a vegan diet. With years of research, scientists have found various benefits of a vegan diet. Here are some of its key advantages-
Rich is some nutrients
An ideal vegan diet consists of fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes. Several studies have concluded that these food products have more fibers, antioxidants, and healthy compounds. These compounds also have higher levels of potassium, magnesium, iron, and various other nutrients, including vitamin A, C, and E
Helps lose excess weight
Excessive weight is the key conspirator of many fatal diseases. If you embrace a vegan diet, this problem eliminates itself from the nip. Many studies have continuously proven that people who chose to be vegan tend to have lower BMIs. Many struggling with excess weight have shifted to veganism and experienced weight loss and a healthy figure.
Lower blood sugar
The World Health Organization states there are 440 million high blood sugar patients worldwide. It’s scarier when the organization announces that 1.6 million deaths are attributed to diabetes. The vegan diet is beneficial for type 2 diabetes patients. It lowers blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity. Safety from high blood sugars also aids in healthier kidney functioning.
Protection against several cancer types
Cancer is dreadful, but several reports from the WHO state that our lifestyle attributes to 1/3rd of cancer types. Hence, twerking the non-veg diet with a vegan one shall benefit you to prevent several cancer types. Adequate intake of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of cancer by 7%, and when beans and legumes come into the picture, you grab 15% safety from the dreadful cancer cells.
Lower risk of heart diseases
It’s a known fact that fruits and vegetables lower the risk of heart-related diseases. Surveys suggest that vegans benefit around 75% from their diet as they can successfully dodge heart diseases. A vegan diet controls LDL(bad cholesterol), the key culprit behind heart diseases, and helps lead a healthy heart and healthy life.
Relief from arthritis
Aging is considered a prime factor for arthritis. However, there are many instances when people following a healthy diet could save themselves from the pain of weak muscles. Vegan food lacks certain foods that trigger arthritis. Additionally, they are a huge source of antioxidants, fibers, and probiotics, leading to healthy muscles and bones.
Points to remember when choosing a vegan diet
Lack of folate and essential vitamins
Vegan diet may cause some micronutrient deficiencies if you do not plan your meal well. Milk, meat, eggs, etc., have an abundance of iron, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, etc. But with a vegan diet, you will require to choose food products carefully and include them in your meal so that each meal is balanced.
Careful about protein
Another crucial aspect of a vegan diet is the lack of protein. Lean meat is the superfood for protein, and poultry, dairy, seafood, etc., follow closely. Though the vegan diet has multiple food products that provide abundant proteins, not everyone knows them all.
To eliminate the risk of deficiencies, we bring to you vegan foods that help provide essential nutrients. Here is our list of food products that combat iron and protein deficiencies in a vegan diet.
Vegan Highest Iron-Rich Foods List:
Seeds And Nuts
Sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds are vegan sources of iron. Nuts and nut butter are also rich sources of iron, especially when eaten as a snack. They are better in digestion than iron supplements. Here’s a breakdown of the iron content of the most popular seeds and nuts:
- Dried pumpkin seeds- 15mg
- Sesame seeds- 9mg
- Pistachio nuts- 4.2 mg
- Almonds- 3.7mg
Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are high vegan sources of iron other minerals, making them an excellent vegan option. Legumes are one of the iron-rich foods you may include in your diet. You can add legumes in salads, dips, soups, and curries. A single cup of boiling pinto beans can provide the body with the 21 percent iron it requires for a single day.
Green Leaves Vegetables
The best source of iron for your body is green leafy veggies. Green vegetables rich in iron, such as spinach, kale, fenugreek, and lettuce, contains about 2.5-6.4 mg of iron or 14-36 percent iron. One hundred grams of spinach have 1.1 times the iron as red meat and salmon.
In addition to iron, leafy greens are abundant in potassium and other vital nutrients for the body. Cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are other green vegetables that contain 6-10% of the iron.
It is a bit controversial, but vegans swear by the benefits of tomato paste. The only thing to consider is one must extract the tomato paste from dried or concentrated tomatoes. A 118ml of dried tomato paste shall provide 3.9mg of iron. Tomatoes also contain vitamin C in abundance that helps in better absorption of iron.
There are many different types of mushrooms accessible for ingestion. Only a small number of these cultivars contain iron, and one cup of mushrooms contains 2.7 milligrams of iron. Oyster mushrooms and portobello mushrooms, for example, have a higher iron concentration than other mushrooms.
Olives are more like iron-rich fruits and vegetables. They have high iron content. Iron content in olives is 3.3 milligrams per 100 grams. Olives are nutritious because they include fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E, among other nutrients and vitamins. Olives can also assist in lowering the chance of developing heart disease.
Mulberry is a tangy, sweet fruit with high nutritional content. Mulberries are high in iron and contain a significant quantity of vitamin C, both of which are essential to the human body. One cup of mulberries contains about 2.6 milligrams of iron.
Chickpeas and other beans such as black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans are high in plant-based protein, making them a viable alternative to animal products. Beans and chickpeas both have roughly 15 grams of protein per 240 grams of the cooked product.
Quinoa is an amaranth-family flowering plant. The edible seeds are the main reason for growing this crop. One cup of cooked quinoa contains approx 8.14 grams of protein. Quinoa proteins have a diverse variety of amino acids. And there are a zillion ways to cook this grain and include its yumminess and nutrition in your diet.
You will be happy to learn that dark chocolate is a fantastic source of iron, as well as other nutrients like antioxidants and prebiotic fiber. Around 100g of dark chocolate contains 3.6mg of iron. The darker the chocolate, the better; thus, at least 60% dark chocolate is a good option(above 80 percent is even better). However, before reaching for dark chocolate, ensure that it is vegan. The dark chocolate granola candy bar is one option for vegans.
Vegan protein-rich foods list:
Soybeans are a legume, is complete protein-rich food veg, as it contains all of the body’s required amino acids. Soybeans are processed into various ranges of dishes that are both healthful and delicious.
It’s a fantastic animal-free alternative. Other beans don’t have the same comprehensive protein profile as soybeans. It comes in many forms, including soy milk, edamame, tempeh, and tofu.
Hempseed and marijuana belong to the same family. Controversial, right? But this is the better sibling with only traces of THC. The best part is that it contains proteins. The amounts are also high as there are 10 grams of digestible protein per 28 grams of hempseed. There is also ample magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium. Not to forget the abundance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
1 cup, i.e., 240ml of cooked green peas, has 9 grams of protein. The number is slightly more than what is found in a glass of milk. One serving shall provide you with 25% of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, C, and K. Folate, thiamine, and manganese are also present in large amounts that substantiate your daily requirement of necessary nutrients.
Chia seeds give nearly 2 grams of protein per tablespoon, and we can use it in breakfasts, salads, soups, or as a nutritious, protein-rich dessert. They’re also a great egg substitute in vegan cuisine because they’re hydrophilic; they expand when soaked in water for around 20 minutes.
Despite its reputation for being devoid of nourishment, a medium-sized potato provides 4 grams of protein and around 20% of the required daily potassium consumption.
Lentils are a protein-rich food for vegetarians packed into a bit of package, with 9 grams of protein per cup of half-cooked lentils. Not only do cooked lentils provide vegan protein, but they also provide 8 grams of fiber every 1/2 cup.
Oats are the storehouse of protein and soluble fiber. They are also easy to digest. A tiny cup of oats has 6 grams of protein and helps decrease cholesterol and heart disease risk. And the indigenous methods of cooking oats shall ensure that you are never bored of this power food.
When it comes to protein-rich fruits, unlikely to come to mind, avocado, jackfruit, and guava each offer 2.8gm, 3gm, and 4.7gm of protein, which is plenty when combined with other protein-rich foods in your diet. It will provide you with a burst of antioxidants as well as fiber. Additionally, it hydrates your body.
Nutritional yeast is a good protein and B12 vitamin option, and it’s the secret ingredient in many vegan “cheese” recipes. By sprinkling one spoonful on top of your food, you add two grams of protein.
Veganism needs some forethought. People who forgo animal products can consume balanced meals that maintain a healthy body with suitable iron vegetarian meals and protein-based plant food.
If you want a meat-free diet, be confident that you can receive the nutrients your body requires with some forethought and diligence. Hence, it is critical to consult a nutritionist about dietary quantities, as vegan or vegetarian diets may be deficient in some nutrients.