Introduction to Vegan Diet
Vegan diet excludes all animal products which includes meat, dairy products and eggs. When people start following a vegan diet correctly it can be highly nutritious, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and help with weight loss.
Vegan diets tend to be rich in nutrients and low in saturated fat. Research has also shown that that diet can improve heart health, protect against cancer, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, people who eat only plant-based foods need to be more aware of how to obtain certain nutrients, including iron, calcium and vitamin B-12, which are usually derived from an omnivorous diet.
What is a Vegan Diet?
Vegan diet involves eating only plant-based foods. Those who follow this diet avoid all animal products, including meat, milk and eggs. Some people, too, are avoiding eating honey. For some, being vegan is a dietary choice, while for others, it’s a lifestyle choice.
People who choose to live a vegan lifestyle avoid using clothing, soaps, and other products that contain parts of animals, such as leather and animal fur. Some people take this lifestyle as a sustainable diet for its environmental benefits. Vegan diet includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. Eating a variety of these foods will provide a wide range of important Vitamins, minerals and protein.
Vegan Diet vs. Vegetarian Diet
|Vegan diet is known to be the strictest form of Vegetarianism||In the daily diet vegetarian includes fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds.|
|It excludes animal flesh and also dairy products, eggs and animal-derived ingredients.||Vegetarian avoid eating meat, poultry, fish and animal slaughter.|
|Vegans try to avoid all animal by-products as they believe it has the largest impact on the health and environment.||They use animal by-products.|
|Vegans belief that animals are set to be free from human use, be it be food, clothing or entertainment.||Vegetarians are opposed to killing animals for food, but they are okay with using animal by-products such as milk and eggs.|
Types of Vegan Diets
Whole-food Vegan Diet
Diet which is based on a wide variety of whole plant foods which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds
Raw-food Vegan Diet
Diet based on raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or plant foods which is cooked at a temperature below 48°C.
What can you Eat?
When a person is on Vegan diet, they can eat foods made from plants that include:
- Fruit and Vegetables
- Legumes (Peas, beans and lentils)
- Nuts and seeds
- Bread, rice and pasta
- Dairy alternatives which include soymilk, coconut milk and almond milk
- Vegetable Oils
What you can’t eat?
When a person is on Vegan diet they should avoid:
- Beef, pork, lamb and red meat
- Chicken, duck and poultry
- Fish or selfish
- Cheese, Butter
- Milk or dairy products
Benefits of Vegan Diet
Vegan diets can provide all the nutrients that a person may need. The diet is also useful in eliminating some of the potential risks that research has associated with harmful animal fats. Research has linked vegan diet to a range of health benefits, including those below.
Better Heart Health
Plant foods are also high in fiber. Animal products contain very little or no fiber, while vegetables and grain are the best sources. In addition, people on a vegan diet often consume fewer calories than those on a Western standard diet. Moderate calorie intake can lead to lower body mass index (BMI) and lower risk of obesity.
Lower cancer risk
Following a vegan diet would help in reducing a person’s risk of cancer to 15%. This health benefit may be due to the fact that plant food contains high levels of fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals—bioactive compounds in plants—that protect against cancer. Research into the effects of diet on the risk of specific cancers has yielded mixed results
People who are on a vegan diet tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who are on other diets. Vegan diets are more effective for weight loss than omnivorous, semi-vegetarian, and pesco-vegetarian diets, as well as better for providing macronutrients.
Low risk of Type 2 diabetes
Following a vegan diet will help in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. A person must eat healthful plant-based foods, which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes.
Nutrients to consider on Vegan Diet
Vegan diet removes some nutrient sources from the diet, so people need to plan their meals carefully to avoid nutritional deficiencies. People may wish to talk to a doctor or dietitian before taking a vegan diet, especially if they have existing health conditions.
Vitamin B-12 is present mainly in animal products. Protects the nerves and the red blood cells. Plant-based sources of this vitamin include fortified cereals and vegetable milk, nutritional yeast and spreads of yeast.
For improving blood health Iron plays a very important role. Beans and dark leafy greens are the best sources.
Calcium is very important for bone health. Eating leafy vegetables, tahini and tofu will keep the calcium level high.
Vitamin D protects against cancer and from some chronic health conditions. Also, it helps in strengthening bones and teeth.
Omega-3 fatty acids
It is very important for heart, eye and other brain function. Mainly, there are 3 types of omega-3 acid: EPA, DHA and ALA. Walnuts and flaxseeds belong to ALA, Seaweeds and Algae belong to EPA and DHA.
Exercise with Vegan Diet
Veganism has rules on what you can and can’t eat, but that doesn’t mean you’re not supposed to exercise. No matter what diet, the more you move, the faster you get the pounds off – and the lower your risk of developing diabetes, heart problems, and other chronic diseases. Adults are generally encouraged to perform at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking) each week, along with a few days of muscle-strengthening activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are offering tips to get you started.
Healthy Tips for following a Vegan Diet
Take a Dive into Vegetables
Veggie-packed meals are a winning choice: vegetables are full of vitamins (like A and K) and minerals (like potassium), keep your calories in check, and because they are high in fiber, they can help you feel more satisfied.
Try on various Foods
For making sure you are getting all the nutrients you need on a vegan diet, it’s important to eat balanced meals that include a variety of healthy foods. You’ll get protein and fiber from beans, for example; leafy greens are a great source of vitamins A, C and K.
Vegetarian diets continue to increase popularity. The reasons for following vegetarian diets are varied but include health benefits, such as reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. However, some vegetarians rely too heavily on processed foods that may be high in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium. And they may not eat enough fruit, vegetables, whole grains and high-calcium foods, and thus lack the nutrients they provide.
Vegan diet is healthy for those who are following the healthy eating pattern and also they ensure to meet all macronutrient and micronutrient needs.
Following a vegan diet would help in reducing a person’s risk of cancer to 15%. This health benefit may be due to the fact that plant food contains high levels of fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals—bioactive compounds in plants—that protect against cancer.
- Helps in promoting weight loss
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Lower the chance of getting various types of cancer