We all know that it’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet that contains all the vitamins and nutrients we need. But there’s more than one way to go about healthy eating. Many people, for one reason or another, have chosen to adopt a vegan diet. It’s possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle without consuming anything that comes from an animal.
Many studies show that a vegan diet can help lower your risk of heart disease and cancer (source). There’s also evidence to suggest that a vegan diet is more effective when it comes to weight loss than other diets (source). However, vegans must be careful to ensure that their intake is completely balanced.
Studies have shown that people on vegan diets may be susceptible to missing key vitamins and nutrients. Among these are vitamin D, Iron, vitamin B12, and zinc (source). As a result, many vegans may need to consider taking multivitamins or supplements to help make up for the necessary vitamins and nutrients their chosen diet may not supply.
It’s also critical that vegans and vegetarians pay close attention to the meals they are eating on a regular basis. There are a lot of meals that may be classified as vegan-friendly that aren’t necessarily healthy (source). For instance, you could eat a veggie burger and fries, which is a vegan meal, but it’s not necessarily good for you.
The key for vegans, or those considering going vegan, is to find meals that are both free of animal products and filled with vitamins and nutrients. It still may not be a bad idea to take some vitamins and supplements on the side. However, incorporating these five foods into your diet will help any vegan get the nutrients they need in their diet.
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence, as it has an ANDI (aggregate nutrient density index) score of 1000 (source). For many vegans, kale is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin K (source). It’s also a good way to add a little extra calcium, potassium, and magnesium to your diet (source), all of which are essential nutrients.
The other great thing about kale is that it’s easy to include in meals (source). Sure, the taste of kale may have a bad reputation, but it’s usually easy to hide it amongst more tasty foods. The best part is that even a small amount of kale can pack a big nutritional punch (source).
Just like kale, watercress has an ANDI score of 1000 (source), making it a nutritional goldmine for vegans. To help ensure you get your daily amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, try to incorporate watercress into your diet (source).
In addition to being a good source of vitamins, research has shown that watercress also plays a role in preventing cancer and reducing DNA damage to blood cells (source). Like kale, it’s easy to include watercress in whatever vegan meals you like to cook, including soups.
Carrots contain significant amounts of beta-carotene, making them a great food for eye health. In addition to that health benefit, vegans will be interested in eating carrots for the vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, and potassium they provide (source). Carrots also contain a fair amount of vitamin E, zinc, magnesium, and other vital nutrients (source).
It’s also easy to incorporate carrots into your diet. They are perfect to include in stews, soups, and salads. They also make for a great snack, especially when eaten raw. The best part of all is that vegans may be able to indulge their sweet tooth by baking a carrot cake.
Several types of berries are not only sweet, but also a nutritious addition to any vegan diet. Strawberries, for example, are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, folate, potassium, and other essential nutrients (source). They are one of the healthiest fruits around and easy to include salads, smoothies, and other dishes, in addition to enjoying them on their own.
Raspberries are another nutrient-rich fruit. They contain vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, fiber, potassium, and a host of other nutrients (source). This makes raspberries one of the most important fruits for vegans to eat on a regular basis to help them maintain a balanced diet.
Vegans don’t drink milk to supply them with vitamin D, but mushrooms are a great alternative. Research indicates that several varieties of mushrooms, including portobello, maitake, and shiitake, are all rich in vitamin D (source). It’s even been suggested that placing mushrooms in the sun for as little as 20 minutes can further enhance their vitamin D content (source).
Vitamin D is one of the nutrients vegans lack the most, and mushrooms can be a great way to prevent a vitamin D deficiency. Mushrooms are also a great source of protein for vegans (source). Considering the nearly endless number of ways to incorporate mushrooms into a meal, they can be an important food for any vegan.
As a busy mother of two who slipped into a very unhealthy lifestyle I decided it was time to take action and start looking after my well being. At first I thought it would be difficult, however, over time I’ve picked up on one or two tricks to lead a healthy balanced lifestyle. I am dedicated to spreading the benefits of good health and ensuring that my advice can be shared with every day people living every day lives.