Vegan diets include only foods from plant sources and exclude any meat, poultry, fish, dairy and any of their derivatives.
Veganism can be a very healthy way of eating if done with balance. However, protein deficiency, low vitamin D and calcium deficiency can occur in vegans as well as anemia due to low iron and vitamin b12.
Below are a few vegan foods to include in your day to reap all the health benefits of going vegan.
Try to include a vegan protein source such as nuts or nut butters, beans, lentils or tofu/soy products with meals to include a regular source of protein in your diet. Also choose whole grains such as brown rice or wheat bread to gain an additional 3 grams of protein per serving.
Foods High in Calcium:
Choose calcium-fortified beverages and include sources of calcium with meals and snacks daily. Here are some examples.
• Calcium-fortified orange juice
• Beet greens
• Turnip greens
• Bok choy
• Mustard greens
• Sweet potato
• White beans
Sources of Vitamin D:
This is a trickier vitamin to get for vegans, but there are foods high in Vitamin D available. The benefits of Vitamin D include strong bones and so it is essential to have sources of this vitamin in your diet. If you live in a northern region and tend to see the sun a bit less than you’d like you may want to consider a supplement to avoid a Vitamin D deficiency.
• Vitamin D fortified cereal
• Vitamin D fortified orange juice
• Vitamin D almond, hemp, oat or rice milk
Foods High In Iron:
Pump up your iron intake with iron rich foods.
• Dark green, leafy vegetables
• Sweet potatoes
• Dried fruits such as apricots, dates, raisins and prunesAlso consider preparing your meals in cast-iron skillets to increase your iron intake through cooking.
Vitamin B12 foods:
B12 plays an important role in promoting normal metabolism. In order to avoid a b12 deficiency, this micronutrient needs to be included when going vegan.
Here are some examples:
• Nutritional yeast
• b12 Fortified cereals
• Soy milk
• Certain meat alternatives e.g. veggie burgers