Vegans do not consume animal foods because of environmental, health, and ethical reasons. Unfortunately, by following a plant based diet strictly vegans are at the risk of putting themselves in a situation where they lack essential nutrients. This can be especially true if a vegan diet is not planned well. Vegans must follow a nutrient-rich diet that contains the fortified and whole foods to stay healthy. Here are a few food items to be included in a vegan meal.
As vegans avoid traditional sources of iron and protein including meat, fish, poultry, and eggs, they need to get these nutrients from plant-based foods. Legumes are a wonderful option for vegans to get protein and iron. Lentils, beans, and peas contain almost 10-20gms of protein per cooked cup. In addition to this, they contain fiber, folate, slowly digested carbs, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, and many other health-promoting compounds.
Seeds, Nuts, And Nut Butters
Seeds, nuts, and their by-products are a wonderful addition to vegan diets. This is because 28gms of nuts or seeds contain almost 5-12gms of protein. Hence, they can be a great alternative to animal foods that are rich in protein. Nuts also contain a variety of other essential compounds including iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and selenium. They are wonderful sources of antioxidants and other beneficial phytochemicals too.
Flax, Hemp, And Chia Seeds
These seeds are a rich source of omega fatty acids that are essential for the proper functioning of the human body. Hence, including them in your diet can be useful to get these compounds that cannot be produced by the human body. They contain ALA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid, which your body converts into EPA and DHA that play a huge role in maintaining homeostasis in the human body.
It is a rare plant food which contains a fatty acid that is essential for the human body – DHA. Algae like chlorella and spirulina are also excellent sources of protein. Hence, they can be an important alternative to animal foods.
Whole Grains And Cereals
They are good sources of fiber, complex carbs, iron, magnesium, B vitamins, phosphorous, selenium, and zinc. Hence, they have high nutritional value among plant-based foods.
Vegans need to include foods that are nutritious in their daily diet. Otherwise, they might suffer from nutrient-deficiency thereby leading to different diseases. The foods mentioned above have high nutritional value. Hence, by adding those to your daily diet can be beneficial for getting different essential compounds that are necessary for the human body.