Vegan Diet

vegan dietThe vegan diet has attracted many health conscious people in recent years. This diet is based on fresh organic fruit and vegetables, assortment of nuts, grains, and dried fruits. Vegans don’t eat meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products like cheese or eggs. Despite some nutritional pitfalls, vegans attest that this diet results in a healthier mind and body.

Nutritional essentials

Vitamin B-12, iron, calcium, and protein are some of the nutritional essentials many people overlook in the vegan diet. Vitamin B-12 is found in certain yeast extracts and in fortified soy products. A vitamin B-12 deficiency weakens the body’s production of red blood cells, resulting in anemia.

Plant foods are also rich sources of iron, a mineral responsible for carrying oxygen around the body and strengthening your body’s immune system. A cup of cooked soybean yields about 9 milligrams of iron. Other sources of iron include molasses, dark green vegetables, Swiss chard, kidney beans, lentils, watermelon, and chickpeas.

Green leafy vegetables, fruits, fortified tofu, and soy based products are also rich in calcium. We also need calcium to strengthen our bones and teeth. Lastly, the vegan diet is also a good source of protein. This is contrary to what the critics of this diet are saying. Most plant foods such as legumes, potatoes, nuts, whole-wheat products, soy products, and seed are sources of protein.

Health benefits

The vegan diet has many health benefits. While studies haven’t come up with conclusive evidence proving that vegans will live longer compared to their meat-eating counterparts, the vegan diet has been found to improve overall health.

In general, the vegan diet is free of cholesterol and is low in fat, thus conforming to the recommended daily allowances for a healthy heart. Vegans are less likely than meat-eaters to suffer from hypertension, stroke, and heart attacks.

Many followers of the vegan diet also find that the diet is effective in controlling weight. The diet helps prevent obesity, the leading cause of diabetes. Moreover, research has found that vegans maintain a beautiful complexion and suffer less from such skin problems as psoriasis and eczema.

Since it is high in fiber, bowel and stomach disorders, like constipation, are less likely to occur. The diet also helps cure arthritis.

Nutritional pitfalls

Critics of the vegan diet are worried about vegans consuming too many carbohydrates. As vegans cut out meat and dairies, many of them compensate by having diets based around foods such as pasta, bread, baked goods, and rice.

If these relatively nutritionally deficient foods make up most of your diet, you can have mineral and vitamin deficiencies and blood sugar issues.

Overall, the health benefits of this diet significantly outweigh the risks. In addition to the health benefits, the vegan diet is also more economical.