How to be a vegan and get all the nutrients you need for your health

Evidence shows that a plant-based diet is beneficial for our health. Still, as with any other diet, it’s essential to keep a balanced nutrition and eat varied, minimally processed food free of excess salt, sugar, and saturated fat. The more diverse and high-quality food you consume, the less likely you will suffer health-related consequences due to a lack of essential nutrients and vitamins. Therefore, it is vital to understand which plant products have the nutrients we need, as well as which of them can replace animal products. Here are some tips on how to ensure a balanced plant-based diet and what to eat to get all the essential nutrients and vitamins.

If you have been eating a varied diet that included animal products, it is recommended that you switch to a plant-based diet gradually. For example, try removing one animal product from your diet each week and replacing it with a plant-based alternative, such as fruit, vegetables, wholemeal products, or plant proteins.

Another good way to ease into an entirely plant-based diet is to plan the menu a few days or even a week in advance, considering how many and what nutrients you will get with each meal. This will ensure you get the essential nutrients and vitamins and reduce the likelihood of eating refined carbohydrate-rich foods such as buns, cookies, and other fast food products when you feel hungry.

Here are some tips to help you follow a balanced plant-based diet:

  • Limit the amount of food that is high in salt, added sugar, and saturated fat. Some plant-based products, such as various meat substitutes, are often highly processed, and high in salt and other preservatives. Therefore, when buying plant-based products, look carefully at the list of ingredients – just because a product is vegan does not mean it is good for your body.
  • Choose plant-based foods that are high in protein. The best sources of plant-based protein are legumes (beans, lentils, peas), seeds, nuts, and soy products such as tofu.
  • Limit the consumption of refined carbohydrate products such as buns, cookies, and white flour pasta. Excess of refined carbohydrates can contribute to weight gain, blood sugar fluctuations, and other health problems. Instead of refined carbohydrates, it is recommended to choose whole-grain products such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, or quinoa.
  • Eat at least 5 servings of various fruits and vegetables every day, and drink plenty of water.

Do not forget vitamins

Switching to a plant-based diet can lead to deficiencies in some essential nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, and others. However, this can be avoided by taking supplements or eating enough plant products containing these nutrients. Here are the primary sources of vitamin B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D.

Vitamin B12: A deficiency of this vitamin can lead to anemia, especially for people who do not eat products of animal origin, as these are the primary source of vitamin B12. The main plant sources of this vitamin are various vitamin B12-fortified products such as cereals, plant-based yogurts, milk, meat substitutes, spreads, or nutritional yeast, which can be added to a wide range of dishes such as salads, pasta, soup, sauces, and snacks.

Omega-3 fatty acids: The primary sources of omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseed, rapeseed oil, chia, shelled hemp seeds, and walnuts. It’s important to note that some of the fatty acids that are essential to the human body (the EPA and DHA types of omega-3 fatty acids) are not available from any other plant product except algae. The easiest way to supplement your diet with these acids is by consuming dried fermented microalgae – Golden Chlorella. These microalgae are rich not only in amino and omega fatty acids, fiber, minerals, and protein but also in vitamins B1, B2, and B6. Golden Chlorella powder is tasteless and odorless, making it ideal for garnishing a wide range of dishes and adding to smoothies and sauces.

Calcium and vitamin D. The best sources of calcium and vitamin D are green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, microalgae such as Golden Chlorella, unsweetened soya, pea and oat drinks, yogurts, tofu, sesame seeds and tahini, legumes and dried fruits such as raisins, plums, figs, and dried apricots.

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